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What We Know About the Student Digital Privacy Act

by Denise Tayloe

The White House unveiled the Student Digital Privacy Act, addressed by Obama in his Road to the State of the Union Tour at the FTC on January 12. The legislation was proposed in an effort to keep  our children safe even with the fast-evolving nature of technology.

Today schools and educators use online resources to teach our children, with numerous tools and apps providing opportunities for innovation in the classroom that would not otherwise be possible.

The new legislation is a welcome opportunity for a review and conversation of how students' data is being collected and used, what additional opportunities exist for parents to receive notice and provide informed consent over the collection and use of their children’s data, and whether stricter compliance regulations for companies and advertisers across the board is appropriate.

In brief, this is what we already know about the proposed Act:

  1. The proposed legislation is patterned on California’s new law, and the Future of Privacy Forum and SIIA’s voluntary pledge for educational software vendors.
  2. It will make it illegal for companies to sell student data to third parties for non-educational purposes.
  3. The law would ban advertisers from targeting students based on data collected in schools.
  4. Companies must delete a student’s information if the school or district requests deletion of this information
  5. The Act will not apply to general audience sites, apps and online services outside of the school context.
  6. The Act does not prohibit an operator from sharing aggregated de-identified student covered information for research and development.

PRIVO stands ready to help SCHOOLS implement and manage their compliance under the Act to the benefit of parents/students who will gain better control over their data. With that, schools will be able to offer the latest in educational products while safeguarding child privacy and app developers who will be able to easily integrate into the classroom setting with comfort that parents and schools are fully on-board with them.

We’re looking forward to working with the Administration, the FTC, and Congress as they address these issues that are important to parents everywhere.


Denise G. Tayloe is a recognized leader and authority in online identity and privacy management with more than a decade of experience in the online privacy industry. As co-founder, CEO & President of PRIVO, founded in 2001, Tayloe helps companies navigate the opportunities and challenges of implementing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).