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California and New Hampshire Are First to Implement SOPIPA Protections

This law will protect kids by prohibiting education technology service providers from selling student data.

Student data privacy laws will take effect across the country in 2016, allowing for the most comprehensive industry-targeted student-data-privacy legislation in the country. An estimated 7.2 million students will be covered by the protections laid out within SOPIPA, with California and New Hampshire being the first of four states to implement the law this year.

The law, spearheaded by Common Sense CEO Jim Steyer, is the most aggressive legislative effort to date aimed at protecting the privacy and security of student data and was cited by President Obama as a model for federal legislation. The law is unique in that it puts responsibility for protecting student data directly on industry by expressly prohibiting education technology service providers from selling student data, using that information to advertise to students or their families, or "amassing a profile" on students to be used for noneducational purposes. In addition, the law requires online service providers to ensure that any data they collect is secure -- and to delete student information at a school's or district's request.

The success of this landmark legislation in California has sparked a national conversation on the importance of protecting our children's data and is the inspiration for similar legislation across the country. To date, SOPIPA-like legislation has been introduced in 13 states and is being pursued at the federal level by the Obama administration and Congress.

JR Starrett
JR oversees Let's Invest Large in Youth (LILY), a multi state program for Common Sense Kids Action. In this capacity JR works with a team of internal and external stakeholders to identify and introduce state based legislation that will positively impact kids. Prior to joining Common Sense, JR served as a seasoned political operative managing campaign efforts for some of the nation’s most competitive races. JR was recognized as a Rising Star by Campaigns and Elections magazine in 2014. He currently lives in San Francisco with his wife Morgan. JR is a frequent contributor to Campaigns and Elections Magazine, contributing to the Campaign Insider column.