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date: 12 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

New types of digital technologies and new ways of using them are heavily impacting young people’s learning environments and creating intense pressure points on the “pre-digital” framework of student privacy. This chapter offers a high-level mapping of the federal legal landscape in the United States created by the “big three” federal privacy statutes—the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)—in the context of student privacy and the ongoing digital transformation of formal learning environments (“schools”). Fissures are emerging around key student privacy issues such as: what are the key data privacy risk factors as digital technologies are adopted in learning environments; which decision makers are best positioned to determine whether, when, why, and with whom students’ data should be shared outside the school environment; what types of data may be unregulated by privacy law and what additional safeguards might be required; and what role privacy law and ethics serve as we seek to bolster related values, such as equity, agency, and autonomy, to support youth and their pathways. These and similar intersections at which the current federal legal framework is ambiguous or inadequate pose challenges for key stakeholders. This chapter proposes that a “blended” governance approach, which draws from technology-based, market-based, and human-centered privacy protection and empowerment mechanisms and seeks to bolster legal safeguards that need to be strengthen in parallel, offers an essential toolkit to find creative, nimble, and effective multistakeholder solutions.

Keywords: Student privacy, Student data, Data privacy, FERPA, COPPA, PPRA, Ed tech, Blended governance

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