Last updated: March 14. 2014 8:02AM - 524 Views

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Students’ data on their computers should be protected in Kentucky, but unfortunately that is not being done now.

Currently, companies can access a student’s data and then package it and sell it for profit. Students who use the Internet establish a digital footprint as they make their way through the various websites and access apps. Companies can track these movements. That information is important to marketers who want to contact those students.

Something about these actions just seems wrong - not illegal, just wrong.

We are glad state Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, has co-sponsored Senate Bill 89, which would protect students’ digital data from these companies. SB 89, which has cleared the Senate and is in the House, would force any company doing business with Kentucky schools to affirm that it will not use student data for its own profit and marketing.

The bill is intended to address defects Wilson sees in a 40-year-old law regarding personal information. Wilson said the federal law in place doesn’t provide enough protections.

We agree with Wilson’s assessment.

Obviously, technology has changed in the past 40 years. It is much more advanced and continues to progress every year. What might have been an adequate law 40 years ago isn’t adequate now.

The state should modernize its student data protection laws to keep up with advanced technology. SB 89 would bring student privacy laws into the 21st century and, most importantly, protect students’ data.

These companies are essentially profiting on these students, a lot of whom don’t even know their data are being used. That is one of the many reasons why this legislation is so important.

The Kentucky Department of Education disagrees with Wilson, saying it has everything in order, although the department hasn’t taken a stance on the bill.

We hope that members of the House will get behind this important piece of legislation and pass it before the end of the session.

Kentucky students have privacy rights and those rights are violated when their data is for sale.

— The Daily News, Bowling Green

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