The California Legislature passed a bill in 2014 aimed to ensure student privacy within classrooms that use online resources for learning. The bill tries to limit companies’ use of student data to target those students with other sorts of ads and products.
This bill, called the Student Online Personal Information Protection Act, is an important stepping stone in trying to maintain student data privacy. Teachers often use online resources to enhance classroom learning, but the programs are often gathering data from each student and analyzing it, without the consent of the students. Even for those of us who actively study online privacy, the uses of student data can be shocking, such as when Google “admitted to Education Week magazine that in its classroom applications it scanned the content of student emails for advertising purposes.”
This bill will likely force companies providing educational tools to better encrypt their data. James Steyer of Common Sense Media commented that technology can transform learning if used wisely, “but students should never have to surrender their privacy at the schoolhouse door.”