BYU Education & Law Journal


privacy, digital age


Students and teachers need to understand what rules govern their digital experience in terms of data being collected from the systems and software they use. Students have a tendency to share personal information online, and are largely unconcerned about third-party access to their data.30 Furthermore, they may feel pressured to waive privacy rights in order to participate in classroom activities requiring the use of educational technology tools.31 The recent COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated this problem. In fact, The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and National Education Association (NEA) recently released new recommendations for the use of video conferencing platforms in online learning, asking schools and districts to reconsider mandatory video requirements that create unique privacy and equity risks for students.32 Teachers need more professional development training to better understand student privacy issues; the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy and the Badass Teachers Association found in a national survey of teachers that 68 percent said they had received no training in how to use education apps in ways that protected their own and their students' data, and a majority felt pressured to download some apps without understanding what data they would collect.33 The survey report went on to recommend teachers evaluate the data privacy protections of EdTech services thoroughly before adopting them.34 This paper will explore student privacy in relation to educational technology and uncover the loopholes in federal and state regulations that allow commercial companies to mine children’s data at the expense of their privacy. California was selected as a case study to analyze a small sample of state regulations because of its reputation as a role model state in student privacy. As a leading state in creating student privacy standards, California still allows for loopholes in its regulations.