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Delaware Becomes the Latest State to Pass Substantial Student-Privacy Legislation

Delware has made strides to ensure student privacy.

The right to individual privacy is alive and well in the state of Delaware. With the passage of Senate Bill 79, lawmakers in the First State showed they understand the protections needed to ensure the privacy and security of students' personal and academic data in 21st-century classrooms.

Democrats and Republicans came together to protect the private information of Delaware students. Delaware's action is a major step forward in creating a trusted online learning environment for our kids and a reminder to the education technology industry that school data is for educational purposes. Period.

Notably, SB 79 also is carefully drafted to help foster research and innovation, so industry may improve educational products and provide customized and digital learning for students

We applaud Attorney General Denn, Rep. Jaques (D-Glasgow), Rep. Ramone (R-Middle Run Valley), and especially Sen. Sokola (D-Newark), the bill's primary sponsor in the General Assembly, for making student-data privacy a top priority in Delaware. The bill is based on a landmark California law, the Student Online Privacy and Information Protection Act (SOPIPA) and follows the lead of legislators in 12 states in 2015 that have introduced SOPIPA-like legislation.

The General Assembly also has sent Senate Bill 68 to Governor Markell. The bill includes special protections for children beyond the schoolhouse, to help foster safe online spaces where they will not be exposed to ads for dangerous, age-inappropriate products such as alcohol, tobacco, and guns. Also, it would protect minors' personal information, prohibiting online companies from compiling or disclosing it to market prohibited products.

We encourage Governor Markell to sign both bills without delay.

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.