The bill would prohibit education-related websites, online services and mobile apps for kindergartners through 12th graders from compiling, using or sharing the personal information of those students in
The bill would also prohibit the operators of those services from using or disclosing the information of students in the state for commercial purposes like marketing. It would oblige the firms to encrypt students' data in transit and at rest, and it would require them to delete a student's record when it is no longer needed for the purpose the school intended.
"We don't want to limit the legitimate use of students' data by schools or teachers," Senator
A federal law, called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, limits the disclosure of students' educational records by schools that receive federal funding. But some student advocates contend that an exception in the law, allowing the outsourcing of public school functions to private companies, may reveal personal information, hypothetically making children vulnerable to predatory practices.
The prekindergarten to 12th grade education software market in
But a recent study by researchers at
By aiming to regulate industry practices rather than school procedures,
"This isn't going to prevent ed tech companies from doing business. It's a very good market,"
A fashion trend: Bigger showrooms and smaller offices The history of a luxury
The California effort comes at a time when federal and school officials have been talking up data-driven learning as a way to make education more engaging for students, improve their graduation rates and expand their career prospects. This month,
Under the federal education privacy law, schools that receive federal funding must generally obtain written permission from parents before sharing their children's educational records. But an exception allows school districts to share those records — which might include academic, disciplinary or disability information — with services like online homework assignment systems, reading apps or school bus companies.
The exception requires schools to maintain control over contractors' use of students' educational records. But some student privacy experts caution that federal rules may not be explicit enough to cover some of the latest technologies like those used by lunch account services that, for example, can scan the veins in a child's palm and use that unique biometric pattern to identify a student.
Officials at the
Many online school services already have privacy policies in which they pledge not to sell, rent or trade personal information to third parties. Take ZippSlip, a start-up that allows schools to electronically send permission slips to parents. The company collects and houses information for schools, like which students have peanut allergies or are on the soccer team.
But neither the company nor its school district clients are using the information to, say, market soccer equipment to parents, said
"ZippSlip creates a data-mining opportunity that has literally never been created before," like allowing schools to analyze parent-teacher communication patterns,
"We messed up the privacy of kids, and probably adults too, in the online commercial, consumer space because we weren't prepared for the extraordinary pace of technology,"
Most Popular Stories
- Obama, Ukraine Discuss Russian Incursion in Crimea
- Chinese May Have Spotted Malaysia Airlines Debris
- Social Media Causee Sleep Deprivation in Students
- First-time Jobless Claims Drop Unexpectedly
- Banks Buying Little From Minority Firms: Study
- General Electric Plans IPO of Credit Card Unit
- 'Candy Crush' Maker Files IPO
- SXSW Crash Kills 2, Injures 23
- First-time U.S. Jobless Claims Hit 3-month Low
- U.S. Business Inventories Up, Retail Sales Down