The privacy of student data continues to be a nationwide concern, as reflected in the recent flurry of state laws aimed at protecting students’ educational records. The chief target of these new laws is the online educational services industry.
In particular, the recent legislation aims at preventing providers of online services to schools from using the student data they collect for commercial purposes, such as targeted advertising or creating student profiles (except for school-related purposes).
There is already a federal law on the books to protect student data: the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). But FERPA was enacted back in 1974 – long before the advent of online services, behavioral advertising and Big Data analytics. While there have been legislative proposals to modernize FERPA, no such proposal has gained any traction.
Aperture Education recognizes, however, that ensuring the privacy and security of the student data entrusted to Aperture Education by its customers is not just a matter of complying with laws. Aperture Education has made a commitment to following the best industry practices when it comes to student data privacy.
To that end, Aperture Education has signed the Student Privacy Pledge. The Pledge was developed jointly by the Future of Privacy Forum and the Software & Information Industry Association with guidance from school service providers, educator organizations and other stakeholders and aims to articulate a set of standards and expectations for parents, students and teachers with respect to how data is being used to support student education. The Pledge was strongly endorsed by President Obama.
As a Pledge signatory, Aperture Education has committed to:
- Not sell student information
- Not behaviorally target advertising to students
- Use data only for authorized education purposes
- Not change its privacy policies without adequate notice and choice
- Enforce strict limits on data retention
- Support parental access to, and correction of errors in, their children’s information
- Provide comprehensive security standards
- Be transparent about collection and use of data