Groups Pledge to Protect Student’s Personal Info

Educational Services Providers Say They Won't Sell Information
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The Future of Privacy Forum and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) have pledged to abide by a new set of best practices for protecting K-12 student’s personal data related to mobile applications, online services or websites designed and marketed for schools.

Among those K-12 school tech service providers taking the pledge are Amplify, Code.org, DreamBox Learning, Edmodo, Follett, Gaggle, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Knewton, Knovation, Lifetouch, and Microsoft.

The companies pledge to be responsible stewards of the personal information they collect and use to manage data, improve products, support teachers and students and otherwise serve the ends of education.

“We introduce this Pledge as a clear industry commitment to safeguard the privacy and security of all student personal information,” said Mark Schneiderman, senior director of education policy for the Software & Information Industry Association in a statement. “Current law provides extensive restrictions on the use of student information, and this industry pledge will build on and detail that protection to promote even greater confidence in the appropriate use of student data.”

That pledge, effective Jan. 1, 2015, is to:

• Not sell student information

• Not behaviorally target advertising

• Use data for authorized education purposes only

• Not change privacy policies without notice and choice

• Enforce strict limits on data retention

• Support parental access to, and correction of errors in, their children’s information

• Provide comprehensive security standards

• Be transparent about collection and use of data.

The pledge was adopted after Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Luke Messer (R-Ind.) got the relevant parties together to talk about such guidelines.

the issue of protecting student data has gotten traction on Capitol Hill, including a bill introduced in July by Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) that would protect digital student records. Educational software and digital content is a $7.9 billion market, they pointed out in introducing the bill.

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