Markey Commends New Federal Guidance on Protecting Student Privacy

Lawmaker plans to introduce legislation to protect student privacy, prohibit use of student data to market to kids, allow parents to access and correct student information

 

Washington (February 25, 2014) – In response to new guidance released today by the Department of Education (DOE) that would assist educators interpret the major laws that protect student privacy, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement calling for new mandatory rules to ensure student information is protected as school systems increasingly utilize online educational services from third parties. In October 2013, Senator Markey wrote a letter to DOE requesting more information on the privacy rights of parents and children when sensitive student information is shared with third parties. A copy of DOE’s response to Senator Markey can be found HERE.

 

“I commend Secretary Duncan for taking this initial step to provide greater clarity about student privacy rights and establishing a one-stop resource for parents and educators to better understand these rights,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “Now we need to put in place new, updated rules that ensure that as an increasing amount of student data is transferred to private companies, this sensitive information is protected. I plan to introduce legislation in the coming weeks that ensures information is not used to market products to kids, parents have the right to access personal information about their children that is held by private companies, and safeguards are put in place to protect this sensitive student data. I look forward to working with my Congressional colleagues and DOE to make sure student privacy is protected.” 

 

Senator Markey’s legislation will be guided by the following principles:

  • • Student data should not be used for commercial purposes – for example, to market products to children.
  • • When private companies hold student data, parents should have the right to access the personal information about their children and amend that information if it’s incorrect.
  • • There must be safeguards put in place to protect sensitive student data that is transferred to and then held by private companies.
  • • Private companies must not be permitted to retain students’ personal information indefinitely.   

 

In November, Senator Markey introduced the bipartisan, bicameral ‘Do Not Track Kids Act’, legislation that amends the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) of 1998 to extend, enhance and update the provisions relating to the collection, use and disclosure of children’s personal information and establishes new protections for personal information of children and teens.