COPPA and Schools: The (Other) Federal Student Privacy Law, Explained

“When it comes to federal protections for students’ sensitive personal information, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, tends to get most of the attention.
But schools also need to be familiar with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, commonly known as COPPA.
In a nutshell, COPPA requires operators of commercial websites, online services, and mobile apps to notify parents and obtain their consent before collecting any personal information on children under the age of 13. The aim is to give parents more control over what information is collected from their children online.
This law directly regulates companies, not schools. But as the digital revolution has moved into the classroom, schools have increasingly been put in the middle of the relationship between vendors and parents.
The Federal Trade Commission, which enforces COPPA, has said that schools can, in many situations, stand in for parents and let companies collect information from young children. In some cases, companies may try to shift some of the burden of COPPA compliance away from themselves and onto schools. And it’s clear that the law places significant indirect burdens on schools and educators.”…Continue Reading