1/14/14 10:20 AM ESTMassachusetts Sen. Ed Markey plans to introduce a new student privacy bill within weeks aimed at protecting student data from commercial exploitation.
The bill will give parents the right to see all personal information about their children that is held by school districts or private companies, Markey said. Parents would have the right to correct mistakes. And private companies would be required to delete any information not essential to their work providing educational services; they would not be able to hold the data indefinitely. Another overriding principle of the bill: Companies should not be allowed to mine student data to market products to children.
Markey outlined the proposed bill at a seminar this morning organized by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. In his prepared remarks, Markey noted the recent data breach at Target and said his bill would put in place safeguards for student data, which can include not just test scores, but also records documenting attendance, health, economic status, disciplinary actions and much more.
Collecting so much data can be positive, Markey said, if it identifies promising teaching techniques or lets educators tailor their lessons to specific student needs. “But at the same time, there are perils from a privacy perspective,” he said. “A child’s educational record should not be a product to be bought and sold to the highest bidder.”
Markey’s prepared remarks also plug his Do Not Track Kids Act, which would extend existing child privacy protections to 13-, 14-and 15-year-olds and expand them to cover social media.
Parents, he said, “need the tools to protect their children not just from the dark corners of the world wide web, but also from the whole wide world of businesses that now acquire and analyze information about our students.”
— Stephanie Simon