CA Student Data Privacy Bill Becomes Law

Student Online Personal Information Protection Act (SB 1177) became law this week. California Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill which is aimed at curbing online vendors from selling student data to third parties. They are calling this a landmark bill, but it’s got some serious holes in it. A few key points:

  • The legislation doesn’t block the sharing of student data, however. It just blocks the site from sharing identifiable data; Aggregate data sharing can happen.
  • It does however compel these online companies to delete data upon request of the school. It does not compel companies to delete data at the request of the parents or student.
  • It does not address testing consortia, which have arguably been some of the worst offenders. Outfits like Pearson, McGraw-Hill Education CTB, and the Educational Testing Service have gotten the lion’s share of Common Core contracts; over $300 million worth.

Amplify is on board with SOPIPA, but Google isn’t. Remember, Google’s been in hot water for scanning student emails and selling the data. Teachers using Google learning apps in class should beware and let parents know they are using them. The same goes for Amplify, as their tablets are now filtering into North Carolina classrooms and come pre-loaded with Common Core curriculum.

Here’s a snippet from EdWeek on SOPIPA:

The Student Online Personal Information Protection Act, or SOPIPA, prohibits operators of online educational services from selling student data and using such information to target advertising to students or to “amass a profile” on students for a non-educational purpose. The law also requires online service providers to maintain adequate security procedures and to delete student information at the request of a school or district.

James Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that helped craft the law, described SOPIPA in an interview with Education Week as the nation’s “first truly comprehensive student-data-privacy legislation” and said he expects it to become a model for other states around the country.


Common Sense Media?  An Education non-profit?
Yes, we know them and so does Bill Gates:

Date: October 2013
Purpose: to support the Graphite, a service designed to help K-12 educators discover, use, and share the best apps, games, websites, and digital curricula for their students by providing unbiased ratings and insights from an active community of teachers
Amount: $100,098
Term: 13
Topic: College-Ready
Program: United States
Grantee Location: San Francisco, California
Grantee Website:


Gates HSLDA Curriculum alignedGates has been busy in 2014 giving out grants to Common Core app and curriculum makers.  Many of these apps are labeled ‘automated’ or ‘self-directed’ learning.

Remember, alignment  of everything is the goal.

Get an idea of the amount of alignment going on out there with the series “Common Core Aligned” on this blog and my own personal blog. I try to crosspost them, but I’m behind in doing that lately.

Some related reading is the article, Governor signs student privacy law.  This article summarizes SB 815, the student data privacy bill introduced by Senator Chad Barefoot here in North Carolina.


Crossposted at

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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