Technology is enabling learning like never before. With this skyrocketing growth in technology use, however, comes greater concerns around student privacy. Which technologies are collecting student data? How is that data being used? Who has access to it? And how long is it kept?
The acceleration of the move to cloud-based technology increases the need for third-party vendor management and raises questions about security and privacy requirements. With entire school systems using technology as a means to access learning, protecting student data privacy becomes more and more critical, especially since school districts who receive government funding must demonstrate they comply with regulations related to the privacy of their students’ data. One of the greatest concerns around increased technology use in schools is the fear that the technology will track and surveil students in ways they and their families aren’t even aware of. Navigating through these questions and selecting appropriate vendors who meet your requirements and privacy regulations has never been so demanding and time-consuming.
The FERPA Certification and COPPA Safe Harbor Certification issued by iKeepSafe, an independent certification organization, reward companies that comply with student data privacy regulations. And greatly help education institutions choose the right vendors.
What are FERPA and COPPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. This regulation is concerned with personally identifiable information (PII), in student records such as contact or family information, grades, and disciplinary records, and bans third parties from using this data without parental consent.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) is a U.S. regulation applicable to the collection of personal information from children under the age of 13. COPPA imposes certain requirements on operators of websites or online services directed to children under 13 years of age, and on operators of other websites or online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information online from a child under 13 years of age.
To whom do FERPA and COPPA apply?
FERPA applies to any school with certain programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Under FERPA, schools are required to protect any records that they (or an approved third party) might maintain. The law gives parents or eligible students access to their appropriate education records, an opportunity to amend the records, and some control over the disclosure of information from the records.
For example, a school needs written permission from a parent to release any information from a student’s education record.
COPPA applies to websites, applications, and online social media providers and requires that these entities obtain appropriate parental consent before attempting to gather information from students and children covered under the act. The law gives parents the right to revoke their consent and have any applicable information deleted from the site or application. COPPA requires that proper care is taken to ensure the confidentiality, security, and integrity of all information obtained from the children.
Why is iKeepSafe Certification Important to us?
The Internet Keep Safe Coalition© (iKeepSafe) certifies digital products as compliant with state and federal requirements for handling protected personal information. It helps organizations achieve and maintain compliance through product assessments, monthly monitoring, annual training, and assistance with remediation.
Talarian has always been committed to protecting student data privacy and ensuring comprehensive security and privacy guidelines that support COPPA and FERPA's objectives are maintained.
Talarian chose to drive efforts towards earning iKeepSafe’s certifications, particularly FERPA and COPPA, due to Talarian’s strong presence in the K12 industry. This is important as our products, Awesome Table, Form Publisher, and YAMM are used by thousands of students in school districts nationwide, and the majority of these districts receive government aid.
The new certifications verify Awesome Table, Form Publisher, and YAMM’s compliance with their respective federal and state laws, which make it easier for Talarian’s customers to demonstrate compliance during their audits.
Before receiving these certifications, assisting school districts in ensuring proper compliance with COPPA and FERPA regulations was tedious. From now, Talarian will be able to provide school districts with documentation of the earned iKeepSafe’s FERPA and COPPA Certifications.
Extending Our Commitment to Student Data Privacy
By getting independently certified, Talarian is providing validation that its products fit into K12 programs from a security standpoint. These certifications prove Talarian’s products follow the requirements set forth by FERPA and COPPA.