The Problems with FERPA and COPPA in 21st Century Learning

THE Journal: Forty-three-year-old FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, was originally enacted by the U.S. Department of Education to give parents access to the records maintained about their children by schools and districts and to require their written permission before personally identifiable information was disclosed to others. Back then, the data was kept in folders inside filing cabinets.

COPPA, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule, was initially introduced in 1999 and enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. The intent was to allow parents to decide when and how personal information about their children was collected, used and disclosed online by commercial operators. If a user was under the age of 13, the website or online service needed to get parental consent before collecting that personal information. In 2013 COPPA was updated to encompass new forms of technology that could collect data from young people, such as social media, mobile apps, gaming platforms and connected toys; and to designate that operators could get consent from schools instead of parents to collect personal information from students as long as it was for the benefit of the school and not for commercial purposes.

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