Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New California Law Limits Use of Student Data - US News

New California Law Limits Use of Student Data - US News:

New California Law Limits Use of Student Data

The statute bars companies from using student data for advertising.

For technology companies in California, ringing in the New Year will mean adjusting to a new privacy law that limits how they can collect and use student data.
The data privacy legislation was originally signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014 and goes into effect Jan. 1. It prohibits the operators of education websites, online services and apps from using any student's personal information for targeted advertising or creating a commercial profile, as well as the selling of any student's information.
The law also requires education technology companies to maintain reasonable security procedures for students' personal data and to delete information at a school's request.
While the law is hardly the first – more than 20 states currently have some type of student data privacy law on the books – it is unique in that it applies to all education websites, online services and apps, regardless of whether they have a contract with states and schools.
Laws in other states specifically regulate education technology contracts.
"This is the most aggressive legislative effort to protect the privacy of student data," says Craig Cheslog, vice president for California policy at Common Sense Kids Action, a nonprofit advocacy organization that helped craft the law. "It puts the responsibility directly on industry and not on teachers, parents or families."
Notably, more than 200 technology companies in Silicon Valley and around the country, including Apple and Google, have already pledged to safeguard student privacy
Advocates for stronger student privacy laws have welcomed the California legislation, saying it provides rules of the road for technology companies at a time when K-12 schools are increasingly integrating laptops, tablets and other digital devices and software into the classroom.
Those providers have been known to collect massive amounts of data about students – everything from contact information, performance records and online search history to health information, behavior and disciplinary records, and even whether students ride the bus to school. Google, for example, stopped scanning student email messages for advertising purposes last year.
Advocates argue that there haven't been clear limits on the use of student data and that many education technology companies fail to adequately encrypt students' personal information and secure it from potential misuse. The law, they say, will ensure that information stays out of the wrong hands.
"The truth is in every generation, perhaps now more like every five to 10 years, a new revolution in technology forces us to contend with new questions about how to keep our kids safe," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said at an education technology summit just months before the California legislation was signed into law last year. "Privacy rules may well be the seat belt of this generation."
Over the last few years, Duncan has conceded that current federal laws haven't kept pace in a field New California Law Limits Use of Student Data - US News: