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New Hampshire Stands Up for Student Privacy

The right to individual privacy is alive and well in the state of New Hampshire.

The Granite State showed once again that the notion of personal liberty transcends political boundaries, as Democrats and Republicans came together to protect the private information of New Hampshire students.

Gov. Maggie Hassan has signed a measure by Glenn Cordelli (R-Tuftonboro) aimed at restricting the use of students' educational data by third-party vendors. The bill is part of a national effort to balance the promise of exciting education technology with concerns about the privacy and security of children's sensitive information.

The measure is modeled after similar legislation pushed by Common Sense Kids Action in other states that is aimed at getting meaningful protections in place for our public school children and their families.

As technology transforms every facet of our lives, educators are implementing exciting new tools that will help our children learn the critical skills they need and prepare them for the 21st-century economy. This new law simply states that new apps and software must be incorporated into our classrooms in ways that maintain and protect student privacy.

At its core, this law is based on the notion that students' personal information collected at school should be used solely for educational purposes. It will guarantee that students' personal information or online activity may not be used to target advertising to students or families.

In a majority of states, education vendors are allowed to collect sensitive information about students and their families without clear rules for using and protecting the information. HB 520 ensures there will be common-sense rules in place to prevent that from happening in New Hampshire.

This is not a radical idea. Good actors in the education technology industry already adhere to the common-sense standards in Rep. Cordelli's bill. This measure will simply ensure that every company working with school districts lives up to the same basic standards.

New Hampshire's bold action will give much-needed momentum to the national fight to protect our children from bad actors who are looking to cash in at the expense of student privacy.

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.