Protecting Students’ Online Privacy: An FTC & ED Joint Workshop on EdTech
On Friday, December 1, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Education hosted a workshop examining student privacy in the burgeoning field of “EdTech.” Both agencies regulate certain educational technology aimed at K-12 students. However, FTC rules implementing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) are not identical to ED regulations implementing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”). To better understand how both rules interact in practice, the agencies solicited public comment and convened panels of experts and stakeholders – including vendors, schools, parents, and regulators.
The workshop explored several key issues, including when a school may provide consent on behalf of participating students; how record retention (and deletion) should be noticed and executed; and what limits to impose on vendors collecting personal student information. In closing, both agencies expressed a desire to provide clear, workable regulatory oversight while meaningfully protecting student privacy.
We expect that FTC and ED will prepare a staff report, summarizing this workshop and potentially making policy recommendations in this area. To review the public comments made prior to the workshop, please visit the FTC public comments page. To see video of each panel, as well as opening and closing remarks, please visit the event page here. We will continue to monitor this issue and to inform you of related developments.