President Barack Obama has proposed new steps to strengthen laws against identity theft and to safeguard American companies, consumers and infrastructure from cyber threats, while retaining privacy and civil liberties. Among his new legislation, the President has called for improved measures to protect students’ private data.
Named the Student Digital Privacy Act, the new legislative plan:
“… would prevent companies from selling student data to third parties for purposes unrelated to the educational mission and from engaging in targeted advertising to students based on data collected in school – while still permitting important research initiatives to improve student learning outcomes, and efforts by companies to continuously improve the effectiveness of their learning technology products.”
The plan, which was introduced during Obama’s speech at the Federal Trade Commission, is designed to equip teachers and parents with the confidence needed to improve the use of technology in teaching and learning, and ensuring that any educational information gathered is utilized for educational purposes only.
“This extraordinary interconnection (made possible by the internet) creates enormous opportunities, but also creates enormously vulnerabilities for us as a nation and for our economy and for individuals. If we’re going to be connected, then we need to be protected.”
President Obama also seeks to prevent companies from selling student data to third parties, a move initiated by the rise of technology employment that can draw personal information in schools.
“Data collected on students in the classroom should only be used for educational purposes — to teach our children, not to market to our children.”
Over 75 companies have pledged to the cause, agreeing to provide the important protections against data abuse to parents, teachers and students. The President has requested other organizations to also join the cause, writes Nedra Pickler of The Huffington Post.
The Department of Education has also promised instructor training assistance aimed at supporting the proper use of educational data according to the educational mission.
The new legislation dictates a single, strong national standard designed to readily notify American citizens of any breaches that may expose their personal information to criminals and hackers. It would also make it a crime to sell customers’ identities overseas. The law has been passed during the digital age with repeating incidences of cyber-attacks that have easily compromised important data in recent months.
Obama branded identity theft as a rapidly growing problem costing billions of dollars and can cause immense negative effects to victims of cyber-attacks.
“This is a direct threat to the economic security of American families and we’ve got to stop it. If we’re going to be connected, we need to be protected.”
The President also mentioned that he would communicate with the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday “to focus on how we can work with the private sector to better defend ourselves from cyberattacks.”