FERPA | SHERPA: Providing a Guide to Education Privacy Issues

FERPA | SHERPA: Providing a Guide to Education Privacy Issues

Education is changing. New technologies are allowing information to flow within classrooms, school, and beyond, enabling new learning environments and new tools to understanding and improve the way teachers teach and students learn. At the same time, however, the confluence of enhanced data collection with highly sensitive information children and teens also makes for a combustive mix from a privacy perspective. Even the White House recognizes this challenge! Its recent Big Data Review specifically highlighted the need for responsible innovation in education.

There are many organizations – many of which we’ve partnered with – working tirelessly to privacy issues in education and provide the best experience for students. So too is the Department of Education. Yet these resources are scattered. The need for an education privacy resource clearinghouse is clear. With “back to school” now in full-swing, we thought it a great time to launch FERPA|SHERPA. The site – named after the core federal law that governs education privacy – aims to provide a one-stop shop for education privacy-related offerings of interest to parents and schools, as well as education service providers and the policymakers struggling to grapple with the legal landscape.

Everyone in the educational ecosystem has a role to play here, lest legitimate privacy concerns combine with other worries to overwhelm the benefits of education technologies and the expanded use of student data. One need only look at the recent collapse of inBloom – a new technology platform that school systems were clamoring for until a combination of poor communication and privacy fears came to dominate any and all conversations about the underlying technologies – as an example of the need for schools and the companies they partner with to better address education privacy issues.

To ensure parents have a voice in the ongoing privacy debate, the site will also host a blog written by parent privacy advocate Olga Garcia-Kaplan, a Brooklyn, NY public school parent of three children.

Additionally, we’re also releasing an education privacy whitepaper by Jules Polonetsky, our executive director, and Omer Tene, Vice President, Research & Education, IAPP, that analyzes the opportunities and challenges of data-driven education technologies and how key stakeholders should address them. The piece – “The Ethics of Student Privacy: Building Trust for Ed Tech” – was recently published in a special issue of the International Review of Information Ethics, “The Digital Future of Education.”

We hope FERPA | SHERPA will help get everyone on the same page when it comes to privacy issues around student data.  We would love your feedback and thoughts on the new site, and we look forward to helping to jump start conversations about education privacy in the new school year.  If we’ve missed something or you’d like to join our effort, please reach out to ferpasherpa@futureofprivacy.org.

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Privacy Calendar

Oct
29
Wed
4:00 pm Big Data and Privacy: Navigating... @ Schulze Hall
Big Data and Privacy: Navigating... @ Schulze Hall
Oct 29 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
The rapid emergence of “big data” has created many benefits and risks for businesses today. As data is collected, stored, analyzed, and deployed for various business purposes, it is particularly important to develop responsible data[...]
Oct
30
Thu
9:00 am The Privacy Act @40: A Celebrati... @ Georgetown Law
The Privacy Act @40: A Celebrati... @ Georgetown Law
Oct 30 @ 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
The Privacy Act @40 A Celebration and Appraisal on the 40th Anniversary of the Privacy Act and the 1974 Amendments to the Freedom of Information Act October 30, 2014 Agenda 9 – 9:15 a.m. Welcome[...]
Nov
7
Fri
all-day George Washington Law Review 201... @ George Washington University Law School
George Washington Law Review 201... @ George Washington University Law School
Nov 7 – Nov 8 all-day
Save the date for the GW Law Review‘s Annual Symposium, The FTC at 100: Centennial Commemorations and Proposals for Progress, which will be held on Saturday, November 8, 2014, in Washington, DC. This year’s symposium, hosted in[...]
Nov
11
Tue
10:15 am You Are Here: GPS Location Track... @ Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows
You Are Here: GPS Location Track... @ Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows
Nov 11 @ 10:15 am
EFF Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury will present twice at the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association’s Annual Sunny Climate Seminar. He will give a presentation on government location tracking issues and then participate in a panel[...]
Nov
12
Wed
all-day PCLOB Public Meeting on “Definin... @ Washington Marriott Hotel
PCLOB Public Meeting on “Definin... @ Washington Marriott Hotel
Nov 12 all-day
The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board will conduct a public meeting with industry representatives, academics, technologists, government personnel, and members of the advocacy community, on the topic: “Defining Privacy.”   While the Board will[...]
Nov
20
Thu
all-day W3C Workshop on Privacy and User... @ Berlin, Germany
W3C Workshop on Privacy and User... @ Berlin, Germany
Nov 20 – Nov 21 all-day
The Workshop on User Centric App Controls intents to further the discussion among stakeholders of the mobile web platform, including researchers, developers and service providers. This workshop serves to investigate strategies toward better privacy protection[...]
Dec
2
Tue
all-day IAPP Practical Privacy Series 2014
IAPP Practical Privacy Series 2014
Dec 2 – Dec 3 all-day
Government and FTC and Consumer Privacy return to Washington, DC. For more information, click here.

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