Watch the student privacy forum on Friday, Dec. 1 with Rachael Stickland of PCSP!

On Friday, Dec. 1,  starting at 9 AM the US Department of   Education and the Federal Trade Commission will hold a full day workshop on student privacy and the gaping holes in FERPA and COPPA.

Rachael Stickland of the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy will be speaking on two of the four panels.  One of the panels will also feature David Monahan of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, an organization that is a member of our coalition and a valued ally.  You can watch the livestream at the link above.

We also submitted comments earlier, in collaboration with the CCFC and the Center for Digital Democracy, posted here and below. See other interesting comments  here.

 

FTC Announces Ed Tech Workshop on Dec. 1, 2017

On December 1, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Education will be co-hosting an Ed Tech Workshop focused on privacy issues related to technology and the classroom.

See the full announcement here and our comments, submitted jointly with the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center Digital Democracy, here. You can see other comments posted so far to the FTC website here.

The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET at the Constitution Center, 400 7th St., SW, Washington, DC, and is free and open to the public. It will also be webcast live on the FTC’s website.

We’re excited to announce that panelists will include privacy advocates Rachael Stickland of the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy and David Monahan from the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. See the full agenda and panelists below.

Please tune in on Friday, December 1st!

Press release: The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy opposes the College Transparency Act and overturning the federal ban on a student unit record system

 

For Immediate Release

November 1, 2017

Contact: Rachael Stickland, rachael@studentprivacymatters.org, 303-204-1272

The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy opposes the College Transparency Act and overturning the federal ban on a student unit record system

The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy urges sponsors and supporters of the H.R. 2434 – College Transparency Act (CTA) to reconsider their support for this bill which would require the non-consensual collection by the federal government of the personally identifiable information of every student attending a post-secondary institution. Our members, made up of parents and privacy advocates from throughout the country, believe strongly that the 2008 Higher Education Act’s ban on the creation of a federal unit-record system should not be overturned by the CTA, and that any attempt to authorize a national student database would create an unacceptable and unaccountable surveillance system that would place our citizens at risk.

In recent months it has become clear that data held by post-secondary institutions and government agencies are under increased threat of breaches and cyberattacks. Even our “best protected” national data has been breached, including the hacking in recent years of the National Security Agency (NSA), Department of Defense (DoD), the Office of Personnel and Management (OPM), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Specifically, the U.S. Department of Education was found to have weaknesses in four out of five security categories according to a 2015 security audit by the Inspector General’s Office.

Said Rachael Stickland, co-chair of the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy: “It’s inconceivable that Congress should entertain legislation that would increase federal collection of personal student data at a time when they have demonstrably proven they are unable to protect what data they already hold.”

Moreover, individual student data held at the federal level could be used in the future as a go-to repository of information for purposes beyond their originally prescribed intent. Even if the CTA specifies permissible uses of the data today, no Congress can limit the actions of future administrations once the data are in the government’s possession. The bill also allows for the expansion and collection of more categories of student data by the Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) without authorization by Congress.  This could easily lead to widespread abuse of personal information for political or ideological gain.

While we agree in principle that students seeking to attend post-secondary institutions should have sufficient information to make informed decisions, it’s possible to do so without the creation of a national student database. New NCES surveys  provide previously unavailable statistics on “nontraditional” populations, making passage of the CTA an unnecessary overreach by the federal government at a time when we should minimize data collection rather than expand it.

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Student privacy webinar recording online now!

Thanks to everyone who attending our “Back-to-school solutions to protect your child’s privacy” webinar on October 3, 2017, co-hosted by the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, Class Size Matters and NYS Allies for Public Education. If you were unable to join us, you can find the webinar recording and the slide presentation below and here. Thanks again!

Upcoming webinar: Tuesday’s Back-to-school solutions to protect your child’s privacy

Now that summer’s over, it’s time to start thinking about protecting your children’s personal data at school. Join the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, Class Size Matters and the NYS Allies for Public Education  for a brief webinar on Tuesday, October 3rd at 8:00pm Eastern covering the following topics:

1. How to opt out of directory information sharing — and why;
2. What common practices in schools violate student privacy & federal law;
3. Practical tips for protecting your child’s privacy;
4. Questions to ask your teacher or principal about apps and other technology used in the classroom.

Registration is required so please sign up today here.

If you can’t join us on Tuesday, don’t forget to check out and use the Parent Toolkit for Student Privacy, created by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy.

We hope you can join us Tuesday, October 3rd at 8:00pm Eastern!