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    Government Technology: California Protects Student Data Privacy with Two Bills

    Government Technology reports on student-privacy legislation in California — SB 1177 (pdf) and AB 1584 (pdf).

    California sent two bills to Gov. Jerry Brown last week that deal with two sides of the same coin. SB 1177 lays out privacy guidelines for operators of Internet websites, online services, online applications and mobile applications. Meanwhile, AB 1584 deals with contracts between local educational agencies and third-party technology vendors.

    These bills address a growing problem of mismanagement of student data. Federal student privacy legislation including FERPA and COPPA do address student data privacy, but educators, privacy advocates, legislators and industry members are split on whether that legislation does enough to protect privacy in the Digital Age we live in. While new federal legislation was introduced in late July, states have been stepping up to deal with the issue, with at least 83 bills in 32 states being considered this year as of April, according to the Data Quality Campaign. […]

    Some companies in the technology industry have built student data profiles for advertising purposes, targeted advertising to students with this information and used it for other non-educational purposes. Google made the news earlier this year for scanning student email for advertising purposes, though it later reversed its policy.

    This type of activity is what SB 1177 is designed to stop. […]

    A parent in Assemblymember Joan Buchanan’s district discovered that unbeknownst to parents, his children’s school district had a contract with a mobile app developer that did not put any restrictions on how the developer could use the student data that it collected. It didn’t just happen in his school district either. That’s why Buchanan (D-Alamo) introduced AB 1584 this year.

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