Posts Under: Student Privacy

Myths in Student Privacy and Advertising

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) recently released a report entitled Learning to Be Watched: Surveillance Culture at School. In making claims about how student data is being protected, the report conflates the issues of student data privacy and advertising. The truth is that strong, multi-layered protections now exist to protect student information and ensure it is used only for educational purposes. In addition, current law and subsequent regulation forbids the use of student information for targeted advertising.

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Data-Driven Software Improves Literacy

Too often the use of student information by schools and teachers to improve learning is overshadowed by unrealistic and mistaken fears that school service providers are using student information to target our children with digital ads. As I wrote in an earlier blog, current law bans digital advertising based on information that school service providers gather from students and the industry is in compliance with that prohibition.  Unfortunately, these unrealistic fears drive well-intentioned state and federal legislators to consider unnecessary legislation to ban what is already illegal and to stamp out non-existent evils.

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Student Privacy Legislation

As Congress considers student privacy legislation in the waning days of this session, it is important to keep in mind two major points.  First, strong, multi-layered protections are already in place: current law, contracts, and voluntary industry commitments are all working together to safeguard student privacy.  In particular, current law already forbids using student information for targeted advertising, and the industry is in compliance with this prohibition.

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SIIA Sets Its Legislative Priorities for 2015

A new Congress and a reinvigorated Administration mean legislation of interest to SIIA’s members is likely to pass in 2015.  We intend to be pro-active and vigilant to ensure that this legislation responds to the broad public interest, including preserving and advancing the business interests and opportunities of SIIA’s member companies.

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Data Analytics in Education Promotes Social and Economic Opportunity

The recent FTC workshop “Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion?” posed important questions on whether and how analytics could be used to restrict life chances for people rather than create economic and social opportunity.  The answer lies in the hands of the user of the technology, not in the technology itself.  The critical question is how people use, implement or otherwise act on the discoveries – the indicators, insights and evidence – that data analytics can uncover or reveal.

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Big Data Improves Education Around the World

A recent article by the head of the International Finance Corporation, an affiliate of the World Bank Group, urged the responsible use of big data analytics to improve student learning around the world. IFC works in more than 100 developing countries supporting companies and financial institutions to create jobs and contribute to economic growth.  Supporting improved education is one of their strategic priority programs.

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SIIA Digital Policy Roundup: Many Key Developments As 2013 Comes To A Close

SIIA Responds to Student Privacy Fears With increased public attention to the issues of student data privacy in K-12 schools, SIIA released responses to Frequently Asked Questions about Student Data Privacy. SIIA hopes it will help address much of the public misunderstanding and inform policymakers. Adding to the debate was a recent critical study out of Fordham Law School, “Privacy and Cloud Computing in Public Schools.” SIIA responded with a statement that the CLIP Study on Privacy and Cloud Computing Doesn’t Account for Strict Federal Data Protections. SIIA also held a webinar for members only with federal officials explaining FERPA guidance. SIIA expects 2014 to present a very busy state (and possibly federal) legislative season around student information privacy and related issues. For example, SIIA is reviewing recent NY State legislation after having testified in November before the state education committee.

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