Protect student privacy

Maryland's Student Data Privacy Act of 2015 is landmark legislation in our state and would create protections to bolster existing law surrounding the protection and use of K-12 student data. The legislation was crafted with the help of a broad range of advocates including those from privacy groups, children's groups and industry watchdogs. It is an important first step.

A recent commentary ("Governor should veto flawed student privacy bill," May 6) written by a prominent member of that coalition, points to what should be celebrated as a landmark success as an impotent failure.


The bill closes gaps that currently allow companies to commercially exploit data they collect about students. It achieves that by banning companies from using student data to target ads to students or to create personal profiles for non-educational purposes.

This bill is part of a national wave of student privacy bills that have passed this year and brings Maryland in to line with Washington, Virginia, Arkansas and Georgia.

Here at home, House Bill 298 won the support of the Maryland PTA, the Maryland Department of Education, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division. Notably, Microsoft, one of the first companies to sign the industry launched Student Privacy Pledge, also supported our effort.

Gov. Larry Hogan should sign this bill and give students and their parents the peace of mind that comes with knowing that their child's personal information is used for education and is not and cannot be for sale.

Signing this bipartisan, broadly-supported legislation will send a clear message that children's personal information should remain private.

I am proud of this important first step and look forward to continuing to work on this important issue in the future.

Del. Anne Kaiser

The writer, a Democrat, represents District 14, Montgomery County, in the Maryland House of Delegates where she serves as majority leader and was author of HB 298.