Federal Trade Commission and Department of Education To Host Workshop On Student Privacy and EdTech
As edtech continues to grow, we’ve come to a point where nearly half of all K-12 students in America have access to a 1:1 internet connected device through their school. Across the country online curriculum, homework helper apps, quiz apps and other online tools are becoming the norm. This positive trend will only continue.
It’s a great time to be a teacher, a student or an edtech company. Technology is changing the way we educate our children and trends indicate they are learning more and absorbing more.
With all of these positive strides towards education in the classroom there are also risks, and concerns. All of this technology in the classroom is actually scary to some parents, and rightfully so. Many students that have access to connected technology in the classroom don’t have the same access at home.
It’s important for teachers, administrators, superintendents and for the government to be on the same page when it comes to student privacy and protection.
“This transformation in Ed Tech has raised questions about how the Rule implementing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA Rule”) applies in the school context, and how it intersects with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”). The workshop is intended to gather information to help clarify how the FTC and ED can ensure that student privacy is properly protected without interfering with the promise of Ed Tech.” the Federal Trade Commission said in a statement.
The Department of Education is teaming with the Federal Trade Commission to offer a one day workshop on Friday December 1st from 9:00am to 4:00pm at Constitution Center. The workshop is free and open to the public. Education stakeholders should make it a point to try and attend the event.
Leading up to the event, the FTC and Department of Education are looking for public input on the following topics:
- Are the joint requirements of FERPA and COPPA sufficiently understood when Ed Tech providers collect personal information from students?
- Under what circumstances is it appropriate for a school to provide consent under COPPA and what is the process for properly obtaining the consent?
- How should requirements concerning notice, deletion, and retention of records be handled and by whom and when?
- COPPA and FERPA both limit the use of personal information collected from students by Ed Tech vendors. What are the appropriate limits on the use of this data?
- How do schools maintain “direct control” over Ed Tech providers when they rely on the School Official Exception to FERPA’s general consent requirement?