Highly anticipated student data privacy bill expected Monday

Indiana Rep. Luke Messer during a visit to BASIS DC Charter School last year. He is spearheading legislation to protect student data along with Colorado Rep. Jared Polis. (Courtesy the congressman's office)

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A new student data privacy bill is expected to be introduced in the House on Monday, sources told FedScoop.
The
highly anticipated legislation, spearheaded by Reps. Luke Messer, R-Ind., and Jared Polis, D-Colo., will likely follow the language laid out in the voluntary, industry-backed Student Privacy Pledge, currently signed by 124 companies.

The pledge, signed by vendors like Google, Amplify and Microsoft, aims to ensure that the companies do not improperly collect or sell student data. But many privacy experts and advocates have long complained that the pledge does not go far enough in actually holding the companies accountable if there is a breach of confidentiality.

Since Jan. 1, about 38 states have introduced 129 bills that deal with student privacy, an increase in the number of bills introduced in all of 2014, according to the Data Quality Campaign.

The hot-button issue has attracted attention on both sides of the aisle, and a House subcommittee
recently held a hearing to consider updating the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Messer
Colorado Rep. Jared Polis

A spokeswoman for Messer said the congressmen would introduce the bill and then gin up support from their colleagues who want to be co-sponsors of the bipartisan legislation.

It’s unclear how the bill will advance what’s already on the books, or tie the various laws in several states together in a cohesive way. Aides said more information on the legislation would be available Monday.

Earlier this month, Scoop News Group
reported on a strict new bill in Louisiana that was introduced by state Rep. John Schroder and signed into law by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Since the story was published, Schroder said he is working on amending the bill, which originally required the state Department of Education to create an anonymous student identifier system by May.

“Our intention was to protect the children’s personal data, never to cause issues at the school level,” he wrote to FedScoop in an email. “I am confident that we have crafted some language that will clarify that and help ease the concerns of teachers, principals and Superintendants (sic) without weakening the bill in any way.”

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Data Quality Campaign, Department of Education, Departments, Education, Education / STEM, Government IT News, Jared Polis, John Schroder, Louisiana Department of Education, Luke Messer, privacy, privacy pledge, student data
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