Student-Data-Privacy Laws Take Effect in California and New Hampshire

Landmark legislation sparks a national conversation on the importance of protecting our children's data.

January 12, 2016
JR Starrett
Senior Director, National Advocacy, Common Sense Kids Action

CATEGORIES Privacy, Policy

Student-data-privacy laws take will take effect across the country in 2016, allowing for the most comprehensive industry-targeted student-data-privacy legislation in the country. An estimated 7.2 million students will be covered by the protections laid out within SOPIPA (Student Online Personal Information Protection Act), with California and New Hampshire being the first of four states to implement the law this year.

The law, spearheaded by Common Sense CEO Jim Steyer, is the most aggressive legislative effort to date aimed at protecting the privacy and security of student data and was cited by President Obama as a model for federal legislation. The law is unique in that it puts responsibility for protecting student data directly on industry by expressly prohibiting education technology service providers from selling student data, using that information to advertise to students or their families, or "amassing a profile" on students to be used for noneducational purposes. In addition, the law requires online service providers to ensure that any data they collect is secure -- and to delete student information at a school's or district's request.

The success of this landmark legislation in California has sparked a national conversation on the importance of protecting our children's data and is the inspiration for similar legislation across the country. To date, SOPIPA-like legislation has been introduced in 13 states and is being pursued at the federal level by the Obama administration and Congress.

Read more about SOPIPA.