California wants to curtail how technology companies are compiling student information and selling it to third parties.
The bill prohibits "educational sites, apps and cloud services used by schools from selling or disclosing personal information about students from kindergarten through high school," according to the New York Times. Any information compiled from a student -- from a disability to what that student ate for lunch -- could be placed in an electronic "dossier" of data.
“It’s a landmark bill in that it’s the first of its kind in the country to put the onus on Internet companies to do the right thing,” Senator Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat who wrote the bill, told the Times. The governor hasn't made his position on the bill known, but if he doesn't act on this bill or another requiring student privacy with technology vendors, the bills will become law.
It's about time that people realized the extent of data collecting -- education technology for those students through high school reached $7.9 billion in 2013, according to the Times.
“Different websites collect different kinds of information that could be aggregated to create a profile of a student, starting in elementary school,” ony Porterfield, a software engineer and father of two pre-teenage sons in Los Altos, Calif told the Times. “Can you imagine a college-admissions officer being able to access behavioral tracking information about a student, or how they did on a math app, all the way back to grade school?”
The bill prohibits "companies from selling, disclosing or using for marketing purposes students’ online searches, text messages, photos, voice recordings, biometric data, location information, food purchases, political or religious information, digital documents or any kind of student identification code," according to the report.
“The California statute is filling the void,” Joel R. Reidenberg, a professor at Fordham Law School who is an expert in education privacy law, told the Times. “They are modernizing the protection of student privacy for the computer era in schools.”
At least in this way, we can be sure that each child won't have a permanent record in our increasingly ephemeral world.