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SIIA says CLIP Study on “Privacy and Cloud Computing in Public Schools” Does Not Account for Strict Federal Data Protections

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For Immediate Release:

SIIA Communications Contact: Laura Greenback, 202.789.4461, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
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SIIA says CLIP Study on “Privacy and Cloud Computing in Public Schools” Does Not Account for Strict Federal Data Protections

WASHINGTON D.C. – December 13, 2013 – Mark Schneiderman, senior director of education policy at The Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries, had the following comments on the study by the Center on Law and Information Policy:

“School service providers work with school districts to use student information to deliver technologies and services that are critical to student learning and to meeting a school’s enterprise management needs. In their use of student information, they act exclusively for the schools or other educational authorities for whom they work. As schools and providers work together to improve student learning, they are committed to a shared responsibility to protect the privacy and security of personal student information.

“Importantly, this commitment is enforced by strong existing federal law.  Student information may not be transferred to outside school service providers except under strict U.S. Department of Education regulations.  These regulations, under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), mandate that the use of this data by a provider is essential, entirely under the control of the school, and that it won’t be abused in any way.

“The enforcement of this law has generated a culture of business practices that respects student privacy beyond basic compliance. School service providers know that if they do not protect student information entrusted to them, they will lose their customers and face legal repercussions.

“The CLIP study did not examine federal regulatory impact and school district or service provider conduct, but merely the formal contractual arrangements governing their relationships.  As such, it does not account for the fact that contracts alone don’t govern the use of student data.  There exists an impressive network of strong federal protections and business practices that keep this data safe.”

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires that a school service provider:

  • Must be performing a function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees;
  • Must be under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of educational records; and
  • Is subject to strict rules governing the use and redisclosure of student information.

If a service provider wants to do anything with student information outside these rules, it must obtain the affirmative written consent of the student or parent.

SIIA also released today an FAQ that describes how these regulations and business practices act as a national network of rules that protect student privacy.

About SIIA
SIIA is the leading association representing the software and digital content industries. SIIA represents approximately 800 member companies worldwide that develop software and digital information content. SIIA provides global services in government relations, business development, corporate education and intellectual property protection to the leading companies that are setting the pace for the digital age. For more information, visit www.siia.net.

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