As the collection and shared access to data increases, it is essential that states, districts, and schools have an understanding of data privacy, confidentiality, and security practices related to uses of student data. The Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), created by the US Department of Education, developed a best practice resources toolkit to help states, districts, and localities understand student data. Resources are organized by topic area and updated regularly. In 2014, PTAC released the Protecting Student Privacy while Using Online Educational Services report, which included recommendations to schools and districts with respect to privacy, security, and transparency when using online educational services, including software, mobile applications, and web-based tools. Federal laws that serve as the basis for state and local policies on student data include:
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)—protects the privacy of student education records
- Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)—Protects children’s privacy and puts parents in control
- Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)—Addresses concerns about children’s access to obscene or harmful content over the internet
In addition to these federal laws, states play an important role in developing and enforcing policies that supplement these laws to protect the privacy, security, and confidentiality of student data.