Balancing education technology and student privacy


WASHINGTON DC (NEWS) - Today, Congressman Luke Messer (IN-06) addressed a packed house at the Center for Democracy and Technology’s (CDT) briefing on national student privacy law and policy on Capitol Hill. He and Congressman Jared Polis (CO-02) were asked to speak about the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act (H.R. 2092)—a bill they worked on together and introduced in the House in April.

The Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act works to strike a balance between the use of new digital education technology in the classroom and a parent’s right to protect the privacy of their student’s digital data.

Congressman Messer told the audience of ed-tech and privacy advocates that the time to pass thoughtful student data privacy legislation is now.

“I know some in the industry would prefer the status quo when it comes to student data collection and data management,” said Messer. “However, the status quo is not acceptable. Frankly, if we wait until a major crisis occurs to change how student data is managed, parents will demand change and a legislative solution will be drafted quickly on a napkin. That approach has the potential to derail years of ed-tech advancements and eliminate new technology in the classroom all together.”

Alex Bradshaw, CDT’s Ron Plesser Fellow and organizer of today’s event called H.R. 2092 “a thoughtful approach to protecting students’ digital lifecycle” and went on to commend both Messer and Polis for their dedication to the issue.

H.R. 2092 has broad support among leading education, industry and privacy groups and does the following:

  • Prevents education technology companies from selling student data
  • Stops advertisers from targeting children in the classroom
  • Puts parents in charge of their child’s personal information by allowing them to correct or delete any data collected on their student
  • Sets rules of the road for ed-tech companies regarding data collection and use while giving them room to innovate and create new programs that can improve education outcomes

For more information on the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act and a comprehensive list of supporters, click here.