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Colorado Students Deserve Better

Colorado's HB 1423 does not establish the privacy protections necessary for kids.

Colorado students deserve better.

Lawmakers in Colorado have recently introduced legislation that would significantly impact the privacy rights of students. While we at Common Sense Kids Action appreciate the effort put forward to legislators to address this very important issue, we feel the Student Data Transparency and Security Act of 2016 (HB 1423) falls well short of establishing the protections many states are adopting.

As Colorado schools integrate laptops and tablets in the classroom and use cloud-computing services to facilitate operations and communication, a myriad of websites, online services, and apps are collecting massive amounts of sensitive personal information about students and their families: contact information, online searches and activity, health information, behavioral information, and student performance.

We need a trusted online environment so our students can benefit from innovative educational technology without fear that their personal information will be exploited for commercial purposes or fall into the wrong hands.

The bill would allow companies to use information collected in our schools to market their products to our children and their parents and to disclose students' personal information to third parties. We believe that children have the right to attend school without being forced to turn over private information to vendors looking for new ways to make a buck.

Common Sense Media has proposed three basic principles to improve HB 1423 that attempt to balance the tremendous opportunity provided by education technology with the need to foster a trusted learning environment where students' personal information is protected:

  1. Students' personal information should be used solely for educational purposes;

  2. Students' personal information or online activity should not be used to target advertising to students or families;
  3. Schools and education technology providers should adopt appropriate data-security, -retention, and -destruction policies.

Make no mistake, HB 1423 falls woefully short of the commonsense protections students and their families deserve. Colorado deserves better.

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.