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Dangerous New Legislation in North Carolina

North Carolina's HB 632 falls woefully short of the commonsense data protections students and their families deserve.

Lawmakers in North Carolina have recently introduced legislation that would significantly affect 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 Online Protection Act of 2016 (HB 632) falls well short of establishing the protections many states are adopting.

As North Carolina 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.

Make no mistake, HB 632 falls woefully short of the commonsense protections students and their families deserve. We are optimistic that policymakers in the Tar Heel State will realize the mistakes included in HB 632 and make the corrections necessary to protect students. 

Join our fight for a kid-friendly and safe online environment today.

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.