The Top 10: Student Privacy News (March-April 2017)

The Top 10: Student Privacy News (March-April 2017)

The Future of Privacy Forum tracks student privacy news very closely, and shares relevant news stories with our newsletter subscribers.* Approximately every month, we post “The Top 10,” a blog with our top student privacy stories.

The Future of Privacy Forum is headed to IAPP! Next week in DC, FPF has several events happening at IAPP, including a panel with the U.S. Department of Ed, “Privacy + Ed Tech = Awesome” (4/20 at 9:30am), and a Peer-to-Peer Roundtable on K-12 privacy (4/19 at 3:30pm). Also check out:

  • Rachel Krinsky Rudnick from University of Connecticut for a Peer-to-Peer Roundtable on Privacy in Higher Ed (4/19 at 12:30pm)
  • If you didn’t manage to get one of the sold-out tickets to FPF’s Tech Lab (4/18 at 5:30pm), you can still see some of FPF’s Connected Toys and learn more about our work at IAPP booth 92 (4/19 and 4/20)
  • FPF also is on IAPP panels about “Practical Data De-ID” (4/18 at (9:30am), “Open Data vs Privacy” (4/19 at 2pm), “Highly Integrated Personalized Experiences” (4/19 at 4:30pm), “Location Data and Consumer Privacy” (4/20 at 9:30), and “New Developments in Privacy for the Connected Car” (4/20 at 3pm).


  1. The first federal student privacy bill of 2017 has arrived! Senators Markey and Hatch have re-introduced the “Protecting Student Privacy Act,” an amendment to FERPA.
  2. The U.S. Department of Education (USED) is requesting comments until April 19th on a proposal to electronically match USED applications for financial assistance with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data to confirm the immigration status of alien applicants for or recipients of financial assistance under title IV of the Higher Education Act. Privacy advocates have raised concerns about allowing any connection of these databases.
  3. Common Sense Media’s Privacy Initiative has released their follow-up survey measuring whether 1,121 vendors have encryption support. While there has been measured improvement since their October 2016 survey, roughly 40% of websites still do not enforce encryption.
  4. Alberta (Canada) is dealing with the difficult issue of privacy for students versus their parents: The Education Minister of Alberta says that parents should not be told if children join gay-straight alliances. This issue was raised in the U.S. in 2016 in the context of the ACLU model student privacy legislation, which said that schools should not disclose information in student records to parents if that information could potentially harm the child.
  5. USED’s audit of IES found that the agency needs to “tighten its processes to ensure researchers know how to safeguard student privacy.” Shortly afterwards, the House Committee on Government and Oversight Reform sent a letter to Secretary DeVos on March 30, asking for detailed information about how USED will improve the department’s cybersecurity.
  6. Up to 100,000 Taxpayers Compromised in FAFSA Tool Breach, IRS says” via NYTimes. See a blog article with background on the tool and previous IRS/USED statements here.
  7. The Consortum for School Networking (CoSN) has released a set of “fundamental resources to help [schools] protect against cyberthreats and develop effective security programs.” CoSN also released their annual K-12 IT Leadership Survey, and cybersecurity is one of the three top priorities identified along with mobile learning and broadband capacity.
  8. The Berkman Klein Center has released “Privacy & Student Data: Companion Learning Tools,” five scenarios of ed tech adoption at various grade levels to help schools and districts train teachers and others on student data privacy.
  9. REL Northeast & Islands has released a report on “Analyzing student-level disciplinary data” for districts to help them answer important questions about the use of disciplinary actions.
  10. Student immigration data was a major topic yet again:

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

Cross-posted with the Future of Privacy Forum website.

Image from Flickr: student_ipad_school – 137 by Brad Flickinger

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