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    Op-Ed at USA Today: Student privacy should be a priority

    Former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour writes about student privacy rights in an opinion column for USA Today:

    Debates about the relationship between privacy and personal liberty have come to a head in the past year, with legitimate arguments being made by folks from across the political spectrum. But when it comes to school children, some things should be non-negotiable. Student privacy should be protected, and companies should not be raiding kids’ records to make a buck. […]

    It seems as if every day there’s a new story about hacking, data breaches, or major online security flaws that put students’ personal information at risk.

    Student data is vulnerable in large part due to an outdated federal law designed in 1974. The law is in desperate need of an update, especially as more school districts move student data into the cloud. A 2013 study by Fordham’s Center on Law and Information Policy found that many contracts school districts sign with outside vendors have “serious deficiencies in privacy protection.” […]

    It’s become clear that protecting student privacy must go beyond insulating them from hackers. The products and services we introduce into classrooms should be required, at a minimum, to safeguard student data, and never use a student’s information for any commercial purposes.

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