Privacy In Education


Privacy in Education Topic Page

Here, you can find the IAPP’s collection of coverage, analysis and resources related to privacy in education. The IAPP Resource Center also includes a “Children’s Privacy” topic page.

Featured Resources


Privacy and Data Protection in Academia

Universities around the world are adding privacy curricula in their law, business and computer science schools. The IAPP’s Westin Research Center has catalogued these programs with the aim of promoting, catalyzing and supporting academia’s growing efforts to build an on-ramp to the privacy profession.
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Aspiring privacy professionals compete in moot court

This article covers the fifth annual Helsinki Information Law Moot court competition, where aspiring lawyers were given the opportunity “to apply their knowledge and interest” in the field of personal data and data protection.
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FTC’s edtech vote brings consensus and dispute

This article covers the FTC’s full commissioner bench under FTC Chair Lina Khan. While consensus arrived on issues such as policy statements, comments from the public and the commissioners brought to light division regarding the commission’s approach.
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How To Get Started in Privacy Law

This infographic offers ideas on how to increase your knowledge, visibility and marketability as you get started with a career in privacy law.
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Why US schools need to exercise more control over ed tech providers

Schwarz Group Managing Partner Joel Schwarz, CIPP/G, writes portions of FERPA are outdated, particularly as ed tech providers today gather “enormous amounts of data, often without anyone’s knowledge.” More effective, transparent control is needed, he said.
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The case for privacy education in K–12

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need to build privacy awareness among school-age kids. This article provides analysis on why K–12 student privacy is more important than ever before.
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Additional News and Resources

IAPP Westin Scholar Award helps build privacy 'credibility'

Somya Bhagwagar, CIPT, CIPP/E, CIPM, was not among the norm for kids her age when asking for her first cell phone. She didn't want the newest and shiniest in mobile technology, she stayed old-school, asking for a flip phone — for more privacy protections. "Back in middle school, it started as more of a 'paranoia,' for lack of a better word. I always thought I'm going to get hacked, because I was learning about these cameras that could turn on without you knowing and things like that," Bhagwagar... Read More

Italy's DPA releases guide for privacy in schools

Italy's data protection authority, the Garante, released recommendations on how schools can protect the privacy of students, staff and families. The guidelines cover topics including how photos taken on school trips should be managed, regulatory updates and how to protect privacy while using education technology.Full story... Read More

ACLU report examines impact of edtech surveillance industry

A report by the American Civil Liberties Union examines the education technology surveillance industry and its potentially harmful impact on students. The ACLU said the report found companies are "using fear-based tactics to sell surveillance products that not only fail to keep our kids safe but actually increase discrimination, invade students' privacy, and erode trust between students and educators."Full story... Read More

Ireland's DPC discusses back-to-school photo safety

Ireland's Data Protection Commission marked the beginning of the new school year with a blog directed at parents posting back-to-school photos on the web. The DPC pointed to potential unintended oversharing of children's personal data, recommending attention be paid to sharing school details and physical location of photos while informing kids of privacy risks.Full story... Read More

Study finds 96% of apps used in US schools share student personal information

In the U.S., 96% of applications used in schools share student personal information with third parties, CyberScoop reports, citing a study conducted by Internet Safety Labs. The data is shared with advertisers often without informing or obtaining consent from students or the schools, the study found. Internet Safety Lab researchers examined 13 schools in each state for a total of 663 schools, with a total student population of approximately 500,000. Schools typically had more than 150 “approved ... Read More

CNIL launches ‘sandbox’ supporting digital innovation in education

France’s data protection authority, the Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés, launched a new “sandbox” supporting digital innovation in the education sector. The five winning digital tools will receive enhanced support from the CNIL in 2022. “The implementation of this ‘sandbox’ will allow a better appropriation, by the education sector, of the GDPR compliance issues, necessary for the development of offers that respect privacy in the context of public contracts,” the CNIL said... Read More

Op-ed: Student opt-out mechanisms may lead to unfair bias

In an op-ed for Inside Higher Ed, University of Michigan School of Information Assistant Professor Christopher Brooks writes allowing students to opt out of data sharing may lead to unfair bias. “Instead of encouraging opting out, we should be educating on the positive impacts of the data through transparency,” which he said will “allow us to support the equitable impact of data-driven educational supports” and strengthen trust with students.Full Story... Read More

The Privacy and Equity Implications of Using Self-Harm Monitoring Technologies: Recommendations for Schools

The Future of Privacy Forum’s Policy Counsels Sara Collins and Yasamin Sharifi, Policy Fellow Anisha Reddy, former Policy Fellow Jasmine Park and Director of Youth and Education Privacy Amelia Vance published a report on the privacy implications of self-harm monitoring technologies in schools. The report explores how the technology is used, questions raised around students’ right to privacy, what student information is obtained and who has access to it, recommendations to reduce risks, and more.... Read More

Adult education students’ grades, private information compromised in breach

All 400 students at Winnipeg Adult Education Centre inadvertently received an emailed link containing all students’ report cards and addresses, CBC News reports. Students were supposed to receive a link to their individual report card. Approximately 40 students clicked on the link, which was removed within an hour, said Winnipeg School Division Spokesperson Radean Carter, adding “we all apologize deeply for the students that were affected.”Full Story... Read More

Privacy guidance and resources for schools during COVID-19

The pandemic has created an era of uncertainty, especially surrounding the issue of student privacy. Schools now face a constant barrage of questions from administrators, teachers, parents, students and community members requesting information pertaining to COVID-19. Before answering these inquiries, schools must decide what information can be shared, how it can be shared, and with whom any information can be shared in a way that protects the students’ privacy. The pandemic also has resulted in... Read More

Privacy Literacy: From Theory to Practice

This paper from Penn State centers on privacy literacy as an independent area of instruction for library sessions. It reviews a theoretical framework to support privacy literacy instruction and showcases resources and tools for creating privacy literacy education. Finally, privacy issues in health care are used to demonstrate the potential impact of privacy literacy instruction. Click To View (PDF) ... Read More

Enhancing Privacy Education with a Technical Emphasis in IT Curriculum

This paper from Kennesaw State University describes the development of four learning modules that focus on technical details of how a person’s privacy might be compromised in real-world scenarios. The paper shows how students benefited from the addition of hands-on learning experiences of privacy and data protection to the existing information technology courses.  Click To View (PDF) ... Read More

A closer look at Carnegie Mellon's privacy engineering program

Though the privacy engineering field is relatively new, there’s been at least one school that’s been at the forefront of this nascent profession. Carnegie Mellon University launched its MSIT- Privacy Engineering Program in 2013. It remains the only privacy engineering-focused master’s program in the country. As industry demand for privacy professionals with technical skills accelerates, it is worth taking a deeper look at the program and how it prepares new professionals for this burgeoning fiel... Read More

Algorithmic Systems in Education: Incorporating Equity and Fairness When Using Student Data

This brief from the Center for Democracy and Technology provides key information and guidance about algorithms in the K-12 context for education practitioners, school districts, policymakers, developers and families. It also discusses important considerations around the use of algorithmic systems, including accuracy and limitations, transparency and explanation, and fairness and equity. Click To View ... Read More

What does the CCPA mean for colleges and universities?

It is a well-established proposition that colleges and universities have an immense amount of data about their students. Moreover, recent news involving the massive college admission bribery scam has placed colleges and universities across the nation under intense scrutiny. With the California Consumer Protection Act slated to take effect Jan. 1, 2020, how should institutions of higher learning prepare for what may be the most sweeping data protection regulation since the Family Educational Righ... Read More

A Parent’s Guide to Student Privacy

This guide from the Center for Democracy and Technology seeks to raise awareness around student privacy and data issues parents might run into in their child’s school. Specifically, this guide looks at parental legal rights, outlines important privacy issues and reviews helpful questions to ask schools. Click To View (PDF) ... Read More

The State Student Privacy Report Card

The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy and the Network for Public Education published an extensive report card that analyzes and grades all the student privacy laws that have been passed in the United States in recent years. The report card has been split into an "interactive map" and a traditional report, and you can find both of these below. Click To View Report View Interactive Map ... Read More