Technology is a tool being used more and more often in New Jersey’s schools including online Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers testing. One State lawmaker said everything possible has to be done to make sure students’ personal and private online information is protected.

She recently introduced the “Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act.”

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“The whole purpose of this bill is to prevent private information, information from the students, their social security (number), their home address, their parents’ names from being sold to other companies where then they get targeted and they start getting junk mail or even worse their identity is stolen,” said Assemblywoman Marlene Caride (D-Ridgefield).

The legislation would bar outside website operators from sharing or selling students’ information and the information could only be used for educational purposes. Under the bill it could be accessed by teachers, students and parents only.

“We’re constantly telling our kids to be responsible with social media. Not to put too much information out there. Not to put pictures of themselves out there and yet, as much as we tell them to be responsible we, the adults are not being responsible because we’re allowing this information to be floated out there,” Caride said.

The measure is a work in progress the assemblywoman said, but under its current form private operators of school websites would be barred from:

  • Sending students or parents targeted advertisements based on information gathered about a student’s online habits.
  • Selling a student’s private information to a third party.
  • Disclosing a student’s personally identifiable information.

“The last thing you want is for a child’s information to be out on a website so that anyone has access to it,” Caride said.

The website operators would also be required to create policies to allow parents to correct bogus information, protect against data breaches and protect the integrity of private student information.

A spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Education said the department has a policy of not commenting on proposed legislation.

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