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Children and Teachers at Risk of Losing Digital Privacy Rights
The digital privacy rights of millions of children, teachers, and staff in California are being threatened by a new legislative proposal in Sacramento. With the ink barely dry on the landmark bipartisan bill that Common Sense Kids Action cosponsored and that established essential new privacy protections for all Californians --- the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA) --- a state legislator is attempting to strip these rights from the over 6 million children and adults who learn and work in our public schools.
Introduced against the backdrop of rising fears among many families and schoolchildren in California and related promises and assurances by elected officials, Assembly Bill (AB 165) would allow any person working "for or on the behalf of" a local educational agency, including hundreds of school police officers, to search an electronic device or online account without complying with any of the CalECPA rules.
If AB 165 is enacted, it would mean:
- Your emails, text messages, social media communications, photos, and more could be up for grabs without any outside oversight. Sensitive personal or family information and communications stored on phones and other digital devices would no longer be protected by CalECPA.
- Students and parents might never be notified about these invasive searches.
- Any information found during a search could be used or shared with law enforcement and federal agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement and others.
Therefore, Common Sense Kids Action has joined a coalition of more than 55 leading civil rights, immigration, education, youth, online safety, health, labor, LGBTQ, and Muslim community organizations to make sure that legislators protect the privacy and safety of California's students, teachers, and families and say no to AB 165.
We also have given AB 165 an "Against Kids" rating under our Common Sense Legislative Ratings program as legislation that would, if passed, have a critical negative impact on kids' lives in our state.