The Top 10: Student Privacy News (Dec 2016-Jan 2017)

February 2, 2017

Author: Amelia Vance

The Future of Privacy Forum tracks student privacy news very closely, and shares relevant news stories with our newsletter subscribers.* Today, we are launching “The Top 10,” a monthly blog with our top student privacy stories from the past month (or month-and-a-half, in today’s case).

  1. Today, the Data & Society Research Institute released their great new report exploring “The Legacy of inBloom.” Simultaneously released were a few blogs from stakeholders responding to the report, including a response from FPF.
  2. The California Student Privacy Alliance (a branch of the Student Data Privacy Consortium, made up of districts from 13 states who create a model contract for vendors) has released their CA model contract.
  3. The Mississippi Attorney General filed a complaint against Google, alleging that Google was violating the Student Privacy Pledge. Co-creators of the Pledge SIIA and FPF disagreed. There were also some great responses and thoughts about the allegations from Bill Fitzgerald and Jim Siegl.
  4. A school district has been found in violation of FERPA due to a little-known clause in the federal law which requires that family law courts suspend FERPA rights proactively (as opposed to their automatic suspension when custody rights are suspended).
  5. There is a great deal of concern about student data potentially being used to identify and deport undocumented students (read the fantastic EdWeek article). Nominated USED Secretary DeVos was asked whether she would allow federal authorities to arrest those students at school, and she deferred the question to DOJ.
  6. Today, Common Sense Media released the script from their encryption test of ed tech products late last year (see that study here) so others can run this test themselves on any ed tech product.
  7. FPF filed comments with the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking on privacy in the context of a federal student-level data system.
  8. There has been a great deal of contradictory information on DREAMers and DACA over the past month and a half: the former Homeland Security Secretary said that federal authorities should not use DACA data to deport students; immigration handliners are upset that the President may not end DACA; Vox obtained an alleged draft order that ends DACA; and Congress has introduced a bill that requires that DACA data cannot be used for the purpose of immigration enforcement proceedings. While many colleges have said they will not turn over data about immigrant student to the federal government following the President’s immigration Executive Order, the Chronicle for Higher Education reported that these pledges “don’t mean much.”
  9. PTAC issued guidance on “Integrated Data Systems and Student Privacy” and “Use of Financial Aid Information for Program Evaluation and Research.”
  10. A London university “admits to monitoring student emails under pressure [from] Government anti-terror programme.”

*Want more news stories? Email Amelia Vance at avance AT fpf.org to subscribe to our student privacy newsletter.

Cross-posted on the Future of Privacy Forum website.