2016 Bills

HB 358: Protecting the Privacy of Public School Students

This bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously.

Libertas Institute supports this bill.

Throughout Utah, public schools are using computer services that collect and store information about or input by a student. This practice is loosely governed, if at all, by outdated protections and lack of oversight for the student’s privacy and restrictions on the companies and government entities that have access to the highly personal information.

In an effort to impose limitations on how such information can be collected, stored, and shared, Representative Jake Anderegg has sponsored House Bill 358 which would enact widespread regulations on school entities regarding student data.

Third party entities that collect student data are required to do so according to the same standards imposed upon the government. Contractors that violate the privacy protections associated with student data would be subject to a private cause of action on the part of a parent or student who, if victorious in court, may be awarded damages and attorney fees.

This lengthy bill reflects months of negotiation and discussion with various stakeholders and is a reasonable step forward to impose restrictions on a massive industry; student data has become a lucrative business both for governments and private parties. As such, guidelines are needed to determine the responsible and appropriate use of this information collected on students throughout the government school system.