The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Department of Education (“ED”) hosted a workshop on December 1, 2017 to examine student privacy and Ed Tech.
The use of “Ed Tech” has exploded over the past several years. More than half of K-12 students have access to a school-issued personal computing device, and in many school districts, online curriculum is becoming the norm. While these technologies have tremendous potential, 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 was 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.
To aid our analysis of these issues, the FTC and ED sought input. Topics of interest included the following:
- 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?
You can find a full list of questions and information about how to submit comments in the detailed public notice about the workshop. The deadline for submitting comments was November 17, 2017.
The workshop, which was free and open to the public, was held at the Constitution Center, 400 7th St., SW, Washington, DC.