Issues Student Privacy

Student Privacy

Student Privacy Survey

Few topics in education have generated as much discussion as the potential for data and technology to transform teaching and learning. While the public discourse has been dominated by advocates and critics alike, we’ve learned little about how most parents of school-aged children view the risks and opportunities of using data and technology in the classroom. In FPF’s forthcoming report “Beyond the Fear Factor: Parental Support for Technology and Data Use in Schools,” we investigate prevailing attitudes towards the emerging use of technology and data in education and children’s deepening online presence. Analysis of these data allowed FPF to create a series of recommendations to both ed tech developers and schools


Student Data Privacy Symposium coming September 21st.

The symposium, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will convene leading education and privacy experts for a thoughtful consideration of how student data should be collected and used.  A series of panels will review the overarching value of technology and data use by educational institutions as demonstrated by current research, as well as the related concerns and risks of such use. Education, privacy, security, and civil rights leaders will discuss the benefits and risks of data use for underserved populations and consider possible strategies for the future.

Education and Student Privacy at FPF:

Data-driven innovations and the use of new technologies are bringing advances in teaching and learning but area also generating concerns about how student data is collected and used.  FPF has produced a legal and policy analysis of benefits and risks of technology and data in schools, and is working with stakeholders on efforts to ensure responsible practices.

Our Key Education Projects include:


A compilation of education privacy resources and tools with sections aimed at parents/students, schools, service providers and policymakers.  We have aggregated many of the resources already made available by the Department of Education, as well as other organizations such as DQC, COSN, COSA, Fordham, Berkman, and SIIA.  We continue to create resources where there are gaps. Contact us to get involved.


FPF has begun writing for EdSurge on education technology and student privacy issues: the first installment – Getting Privacy Policies Right the First Time.


Parent Survey on Student Technology Use and Data Collection:  Conducting a survey and review of parents’ views on the role of technology in their child’s education, and benefits and risks of student data use.

Ed Tech Training

Boot Camp for Ed Tech Startups:  An initiative with 1776 to provide a day of student privacy education, best practices, and case study overview to leaders at companies new to the ed tech market for how to effectively handle privacy and other student data issues and concerns right from the start.

Symposium on Education Technology and Student Data Issues and Innovations: an interdisciplinary workshop to discuss potential avenues for addressing education privacy questions while ensuring that student data and education technology can be used to improve learning.

Academic and Policy Papers

We have collaborated with Data Quality Campaign on a paper called, “Student Data: Trust, Transparency, and the Role of Consent.” We have also produced an 80-page law review article, “The Ethics of Student Data Privacy: Building Trust in Ed Tech,” which was published in a special education issue of International Review of Information Ethics.  Upcoming in the Vanderbilt Law Review is a paper in cooperation with Omer Tene of IAPP:  Who Is Reading Whom Now: Privacy in Education from Books to MOOCs. This paper shows the need to clearly distinguish privacy-specific questions from broader educational topics such as Common Core, and standarization.

The Student Privacy Pledge: By Education Service Providers to Parents and Students

The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)  announced a K-12 school service providers Pledge to safeguard student privacy built around a dozen commitments regarding the collection, maintenance, and use of student personal information.

An initial leadership group of major school service providers signed the Pledge; at least two dozen more have since joined them, and more come in every day. The group is made up of some of the leading names in education technology, including Amplify,, DreamBox Learning, Edmodo, Follett, Gaggle, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Knewton, Knovation, Lifetouch, Microsoft, MIND Research Institute, myON, and Think Through Math.

Pledge Endorsed by President Obama

Quick Tips for Education Service Providers

Small players continue to trip up on obvious issues, so we have gathered and summarized top tips for them…do not say you can update your policy at any time, do not disavow responsibility for third party cookies, etc. Visit the “Education Service Providers” section of FERPA|SHERPA.

Privacy Calendar

all-day Data Privacy Day
Data Privacy Day
Jan 28 – Jan 29 all-day
“Data Privacy Day began in the United States and Canada in January 2008, as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. The Day commemorates the 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first[...]
all-day Data Privacy Day
Data Privacy Day
Jan 28 – Jan 29 all-day
“Data Privacy Day began in the United States and Canada in January 2008, as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. The Day commemorates the 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first[...]

View Calendar