Kentucky Takes the Lead To Protect Student Privacy in the Digital Age

According to in Kentucky, HB 232 was signed into law today by Governor Steve Beshear.  This new law states “[a] cloud computing service provider shall not in any case process student data to advertise or facilitate advertising or to create or correct an individual or household profile for any advertisement purpose, and shall not sell, disclose, or otherwise process student data for any commercial purpose.”  In a nutshell, the new law bans school vendors who provide cloud based services from data mining student digital communications for advertising purposes. 

HB 232 received bipartisan support and passed 98-0 in the Kentucky House and 38-0 in the Kentucky Senate.  The bill appears to be have been inspired by the Target 2013 holiday data breach and the Gmail data mining lawsuit where Google recently admitted in court documents that its Google Apps For Education platform that it offers for “free” to schools data mines student digital activity for corporate profit.   

Kentucky has taken a significant step to protect its students in the Digital Age.  This new law demonstrates that in Kentucky children’s privacy and safety do not take a back seat to the special interests that believe they have the right to data mine our students’ digital activity for commercial gain.  Other states such as Oklahoma and New York have enacted or introduced student privacy legislation in the past year; however, Kentucky’s new law appears to be the first that offers much greater privacy protection than the Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act (FERPA).

My hope is that other states and eventually Congress follows Kentucky’s lead to enact legislation that ensures our children’s privacy is better protected in the Digital Age.

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