SIIA Digital Policy Roundup: SIIA Testifies on Student Privacy, Patent Reform Picking up Speed, and TEACH Act Proposes Guidelines on Instructional Technology

SIIA Testimony Addresses Student Data Use and Privacy
Last week, SIIA’s Mark Schneiderman was invited to testify today before the New York Senate Education Committee (at 1:27:15 of video) as they examine the New York State Regents education reform agenda. The testimony described some of the ways students, families, teachers and schools use technologies and data to improve education, and it addressed some of the questions surrounding student data privacy and security. The privacy and security of student personal data is coming under increased scrutiny by parents, policy makers and the media. SIIA members are encouraged to review the SIIA testimony to be informed and to better understand how you can react to these questions. Read More on SIIA’s Digital Discourse Blog.

Still Hope to Enact Patent Reform Legislation this Year
In a year of historic struggles in Congress to reach bipartisan consensus, recent developments keep hope alive that patent litigation reform legislation could be enacted in the closing weeks of the year, or at least be at the front of the line when Congress returns in 2014.
On Monday, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced an amendment to his patent reform bill, the Innovation Act, which he plans to markup in the Committee on Wednesday. Among other things, the amendment would remove language relating to the cover business method program- arguably the most controversial provision in the bill.
On the same day, Goodlatte’s Senate Counterpart Chairman Leahy (D-VT) joined Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) in introducing long-awaited counterpart legislation. According to Leahy, the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act of 2013 would increase transparency in patent ownership, allow customers who are sued for patent infringement to stay the case against them while the manufacturer litigates the suit, target the widespread sending of frivolous demand letters, and improve resources for small businesses that are targeted in patent infringement suits, among other provisions.
With only a couple weeks left in the year, it’s a long shot, but still possible that Congress could produce one victory by enacting patent reform legislation by year’s end.

TEACH Act Proposes Guidelines for Instructional Technologies
Last week Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI) introduced the Technology, Equality, and Accessibility in College and Higher Education (TEACH) Act to set guidelines for the accessibility of instructional technologies used in postsecondary institutions, and to create a safe harbor for conforming resources. The bill would seemingly allow institutions to use nonconforming resources, provided they make accommodations or modifications so students with disabilities receive equal educational benefits. SIIA has appreciated the opportunity to inform deliberations around the bill’s drafting. The Act could provide important clarity to the sector, but SIIA has several remaining questions we hope can be addressed to ensure the legislation truly creates a learning floor and not a technology ceiling. Read more on SIIA’s Digital Discourse Blog.

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David LeDuc is Senior Director, Public Policy at SIIA. He focuses on e-commerce, privacy, cyber security, cloud computing, open standards, e-government and information policy. Follow the SIIA public policy team on Twitter at @SIIAPubPolicy.

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