United States Senators Markey and Hatch have introduced amendments to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. While the act lacks common sense in areas that prohibit colleges from sending the grades of students to their parents, it has also done much to safeguard the records of students and families.
In an effort to "catch up" with rapidly changing technology, the act would "stop the wrongful practice of mining students' educational records for advertising and marketing purposes and will create a safer environment for children's data with new security obligations". The "metadata" that is sought would identify the devices that young people use, the content that is being accessed, and the time that the device is active. Much of this information is available through companies that contract for instructional programs or house student information.
The legislation would prohibit the sale of this material to third party companies. While the intent is positive, it seems that the concern for student data may be focused on the wrong place…maybe they should start with Facebook.