Lawmakers Introduce Data Privacy Changes to FERPA

Amid growing concerns about the security of student data, Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced a bill on Wednesday that would update the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

The Protecting Student Privacy Act of 2014 would require institutions to have policies in place for protecting student data or risk losing federal funding. It would prohibit the use of personally identifiable information to target advertising to students, require districts to minimize distribution of identifiable data, and mandate that any company or organization receiving the data have comprehensive security policies in place, Politico reported.

The bill would also give parents the right to access and review the information that third parties, including for-profit companies, hold on their children. If the information on file is inaccurate, misleading or inappropriate for inclusion in the file, parents would have the right to demand corrections. The bill also requires companies holding identifiable information about students to destroy it after completing the specific task for which they obtained the data.

However, since the bipartisan bill only addresses data contained in the students' educational records, it would not cover clickstream data and other insights collected by ed-tech companies, according to Inside Higher Ed.


Related Links

U.S. Senator Ed Markey's Press Release


Inside Higher Ed