Updated 4:30 p.m. -- Colorado has adopted one of the nation's toughest state laws to protect the privacy of student data.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bipartisan bill Friday that addresses parents' concerns about what educational software companies do with students' personal information. As CPR's Jenny Brundin reported earlier this year:
Bill sponsors say every time students log onto their school internet account, they can be tracked, so the lawmakers want a law in place that would prohibit manufacturers from data mining for students’ personally identifiable information. ... "Once privacy is lost, it is impossible almost to get it back," said the ACLU of Colorado’s Denise Maes, who testified in favor of the bill."Parents for the most part have no idea or remain largely unaware of how much data is collected about their children, with whom it is shared, if it’s shared at all, where it stored, how long it’s stored and why it’s even collected in the first instance."
That information comes from software programs and apps used in the classroom. It can include grades, opinions, addresses, student IDs, behavioral issues or suspensions.
The new law requires companies to destroy, not just delete, program information, unless authorized by contract to keep it. It notifies parents of Colorado's K-12 students who is collecting data and why. And student data can't be used for advertising or sold to third parties.
Violators could lose their contracts with schools or the state.