November 24, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) today announced Pledge 2020, a new Student Privacy Pledge that has been updated to better align with state and federal privacy laws and broaden the scope of protected data.
“At a time when parents, teachers, schools, and administrators are more dependent than ever before on technology to support education and enable online learning, Pledge 2020 is an important step forward in ensuring the tools students use to learn enhance student privacy and promote data security,” said Jules Polonetsky, CEO of the Future of Privacy Forum. “Like its predecessor, the Student Privacy Pledge, Pledge 2020 demonstrates signatories’ ongoing commitment to safeguarding student data. The commitments in Pledge 2020 will ensure that the Pledge continues to enhance trust between families, schools, and third party service providers and to support the safe and effective use of student data for student, teacher, and school success.”
SIIA President Jeff Joseph said, “For six years, the Pledge has stood as a clear industry commitment protecting the privacy and security of student information. The updates to the Pledge reflect a lengthy and collaborative process of stakeholder engagement representing the needs of our community. These updates stand as an important example of industry leading to address legitimate privacy concerns.”
Launched in October 2014 with endorsements from President Barack Obama, the National PTA, and the National School Boards Association, the original Student Privacy Pledge asked companies that provide services to schools to commit to twelve legally enforceable obligations, including that they will not sell student personal information, and will not collect or use student personal information other than what is needed for the given educational purposes. More than 400 companies have signed the Pledge over the last six years.
However, recognizing that technology, business practices, individuals’ expectations, and the legal landscape do not stand still, FPF and SIIA embarked upon a joint effort in 2019 to reevaluate the Pledge. Through feedback and insight collected from more than 500 organizations, FPF and SIIA identified several avenues to strengthen existing safeguards around student privacy and developed the new Pledge 2020. Click here to view Pledge 2020.
Key changes reflected in Pledge 2020 include:
- Additional substantive requirements, such as the added requirement that participating companies must incorporate privacy and security when developing and improving products, tools, and services;
- An expansion of the types of data covered by the Pledge to match existing state student privacy laws, in addition to clarifications about how the Pledge intersects with requirements under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) as well as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act; and
- The inclusion of new guidelines to better explain the Pledge’s commitments and provide more detail on each provision, thereby increasing transparency for parents, schools, and districts, and providing companies more information about compliance with the Pledge requirements.
Companies that are current signatories of the original Student Privacy Pledge will remain so until they affirmatively choose to apply for and join Pledge 2020. The original Pledge will sunset in June 2021, at which point any current signatory that has chosen not to participate in Pledge 2020 will no longer be subject to the promises of the original Pledge.
Any current Pledge signatories or companies interested in illustrating their commitment to student privacy and data security can apply for Pledge 2020 here. Signatories and applicants to Pledge 2020 should be aware that signatories promise to abide by the commitments of the Pledge. A signatory’s commitments under both the Legacy Pledge and Pledge 2020 are enforceable by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.
Polonetsky said, “We believe Pledge 2020 is a significant step forward for safeguarding student privacy while also fostering the benefits of technology and data use in order to support students and enhance learning.”
FPF and SIIA are proud to facilitate the efforts of education technology companies who demonstrate industry leadership in protecting student privacy by signing the Student Privacy Pledge. Companies and organizations wishing to review the full text of the Pledge and consider participation are invited to visit studentprivacypledge.org or email [email protected].