Increasing the amount of privacy protection for students who use Web-based teaching software has become a hot topic as of late, The New York Times reported.
The use of technology and other forms of web-based software may be a new way to teach children, but it is also a thriving enterprise. Education software used for pre-kindergarten to 12th-grade students is an $8 billion business, the Software and Information Industry Association reported.
Need To Improve Software Security
Although this is a popular teaching tool, there are a few cracks in the system when it comes to protecting student information a new study conducted by the Center on Law and Information Policy at Fordham Law School stated. Joel Reidenberg, law professor at Fordham University, said in an interview using teaching software may not have the most top notch privacy protection.
"We found that when school districts are transferring student information to cloud service providers, by and large key privacy protections are absent from those arrangements," Reidenberg told the New York Times.
Identity theft among children can be dangerous because if their Social Security numbers are stolen, thieves can use them to apply for government benefits and open lines of credit in their names the Federal Trade Commission reported.
Increasing Privacy Protection For Students
As a way to combat data breaches among schoolchildren, several lawmakers are hoping to pass legislation that would improve privacy protection for students, AdWeek reported. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Joe Barton, R-Tex., are looking to pass a privacy law to help protect students' identities when they use school sanctioned teaching software. Sen. Markey and Rep. Barton, along with Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., re-introduced the Do Not Track Kids Act in November, AdWeek stated.
The main goal of the Do Not Track Kids Act is to increase the age of digital privacy protection in the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. The current act only protects up to the age of 12, but the new bill would extend the age range to students 13 to 15. Protecting the identity of students is the prime goal Sen. Markey said in a statement.
"When it comes to kids and their use of the Internet in the new mobile environment, it is especially important that the strongest privacy protections are in place so that children do not have personal information collected or disclosed," he said. "We must not allow the era of big data to become big danger for children on the Internet in the 21st century."
The Do Not Track Kids Act is not the only form of legislation that helps student's privacy protection. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act requires schools to have written permission from a student's parents if the school will be sharing a student's personal information.