School Privacy Zone
Common Sense Kids Action
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Protect Students' Data: Schools Must be Privacy Zones
When students and families provide personal information to schools for educational purposes, that information must be protected from abuse.
Education technology, when used wisely, has the potential to transform learning and open the door to opportunity for any child, anywhere. As our nation's schools embrace the vast potential of educational technology to enhance and personalize learning, they must ensure that students’ personal data is protected. Through online platforms, mobile applications, and cloud computing, schools and education technology providers collect massive amounts of sensitive information about students. Access to and use of these platforms and devices—which are critical to a child’s future success—should not mean sacrificing our children’s privacy. We must ensure that our kids information be kept out of the hands of non-educational, commercial interests and other third parties.
In support of connected classrooms that respect and safeguard student privacy, Common Sense has launched a School Privacy Zone campaign in an effort to initiate a national conversation about this critical issue. It's based on three fundamental principles:
- Students' personal information shall be used solely for educational purposes;
- Students' personal information or online activity shall not be used to target advertising to students or families; and
- Schools and education technology providers shall adopt appropriate data security, retention and destruction policies
For more information on actions states took in 2014 on student privacy and where they're heading now, read our report: Assessing state laws on student privacy in 2014 and Beyond
Convening Key Stakeholders:
On February 24, 2014, Common Sense convened a summit featuring key stakeholders and policymakers, including the Secretary of Education, for a national conversation to explore these principles in an open and constructive dialogue. Here is a recap and video highlights.
- A Conversation With Policymakers
- Student Privacy & The Connected Classroom
- What's The Big Deal About Student Privacy?
- Overview of Student Privacy National Survey
- Student Privacy & The Cloud - Industry panel
- Keynote address - U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
- Closing remarks - U.S. Senator Ed Markey
What Parents Can do:
Are your students using technology in the classroom to benefit their learning? This can be anything from schools where students use tablets and computers for online testing to educational apps and web-based resources. Ask your school administrators some basic questions about how they are collecting, using, storing and destroying your students' information. Tony Porterfield, a computer engineer and a parent who participated in our summit has some helpful advice for parents here.
Read more about the issue and our School Privacy Zone campaign here:
Asking edtech vendors the tough questions
House committee votes to protect student online data
State Lawmakers Balance Concerns on Student-Data Privacy
The Baltimore Sun
Governor should veto flawed student privacy bill
New Federal Student-Data-Privacy Bill Targets Loopholes
New York Times
Franchising a Student Digital Privacy Law
Why education tech needs to get student privacy right
Guarding students’ online privacy
New York Times
With Tech Taking Over in Schools, Worries Rise
A day in the life of a data mined kid
Can Student Data Improve Learning Without Compromising Privacy?
New York Times
Scrutiny in California for Software in Schools
Immense Unease Over Advertisers Nabbing Student Data: Poll