Nearly five years ago, the Future of Privacy Forum and the Software and Information Industry Association created the Student Privacy Pledge in order to help school service providers make clear privacy commitments to parents, students, and school leaders. The Pledge has been extraordinarily successful, with more than 350 signatories promising to safeguard student data. The Pledge was endorsed by the White House in January 2015 and is used by many school districts as they review prospective vendors. After years of growth, pledge signatories include some of the world’s largest companies as well as an ever-growing list of the most innovative education technology startups. The Pledge has influenced companies’ practices, schools’ policies, and lawmakers’ approaches to regulating student privacy.
Technology, business practices, individuals’ expectations, and the legal landscape do not stand still. Privacy issues and commitments to address them must evolve. We have learned a great deal as student privacy issues have shifted over the past five years and we have reviewed hundreds of privacy policies from ed tech companies and engaged directly with stakeholders at conferences and our student privacy bootcamps. We are excited to apply that knowledge to our next project: Student Privacy Pledge 2020.
In 2019, working with a wide range of stakeholders, we will take a clear-eyed look at the Pledge and determine what improvements should be made. We will analyze the Pledge in light of how the education ecosystem has evolved, what we’ve learned, and the 125 state laws that have been passed since the Pledge was created. We will determine what revisions would make the Student Privacy Pledge more clear and useful for students, parents, educators, policymakers, and companies that provide tech that helps students learn.
We cannot do this alone. FPF will work with school leaders, teachers, students, parents, legislators, and privacy and education policy experts to add protections to the Pledge. We will seek input from Pledge signatories and other stakeholders. We are opening the Pledge for public comment today and will review public input through September 15, 2019. We seek to finalize the Student Privacy Pledge 2020 in early 2020.
We look forward to building on the success of the Student Privacy Pledge and are excited to kick off this ambitious and impactful project.
As we go through this process, stakeholders are encouraged to continue applying to the existing Pledge; FPF will work with signatories after Pledge 2020 is finalized to move them to the new Pledge, a process that we expect to take until 2021.