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Pennsylvania Becomes the Latest State to Consider Student Privacy

As schools put more and more technology into classrooms, more states need to adapt laws that will protect students' personal information.

Common Sense Kids Action applauds Rep. Dan Miller of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, for his efforts to bring adequate student-data privacy standards to the Keystone State. Pennsylvania has become the most recent state to consider student-privacy legislation. You can read more about the issue in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

As schools increasingly integrate computers, laptops, and tablets in the classroom and rely on cloud-computing services for a variety of academic and administrative functions, this technology, used wisely, has the vast potential to enhance and personalize student learning and to improve school efficiency. At the same time, through online platforms, mobile applications, digital courseware, and cloud computing, education technology providers collect massive amounts of sensitive data about students -- including contact information, performance records, online activity, health information, and behavior and disciplinary records. To realize this technology's potential, we must ensure that students' personal information is protected.

A study by Fordham Law School's Center on Law and Information Policy found that the majority of school district cloud service agreements have serious deficiencies in the protection of student information; they "generally do not provide for data security and even allow vendors with alarming frequency to retain student information in perpetuity."

Students shouldn't have to surrender their right to privacy and security at the schoolhouse door. We need clear rules of the road to ensure that schoolchildren's information is not exploited for commercial purposes and stays out of the wrong hands.

We applaud Rep. Dan Miller for his consideration of this critically important issue.

If student privacy matters to you, sign up to be a Common Sense Kids Action advocate today.

Gaby Mercer-Slomoff