Wednesday, August 24, 2005

College Student Records: Legal Issues, Privacy, and Security Concerns

College Student Records: Legal Issues, Privacy, and Security Concerns. This is a relatively recent (2003) ERIC Digest which deals with the privacy of college student records.

Obviously, with the implications of the US Patriot ACT, academic librarians are concerned with the privacy of patron records. The Digest notes this, "Librarians are concerned about privacy rights of readers since patrons' book loan records could be investigated under the U.S. Patriot Act. "

Although not mentioned in this Digest, I am also concerned by the abuse of Freedom of Information Act requests by marketing companies towards public universities. Many institutions of higher education have had to turn over their database of student e-mail accounts as a result. More spam for everyone!

From the site:

As the practice of entering student records online has become more widespread, many colleges are struggling with the technical and legal complexities of protecting the privacy of student data. There have been a number of reports in the news of hackers breaking into college websites to steal student identifies, tamper with grades or other information, and illegally view student records. Many colleges have established policies to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, also known as the Buckley Amendment, which enumerates legal guidelines regarding the privacy of student records. However, changing technologies and the new law, the US Patriot Act, which amends some provisions of FERPA, forces colleges to reexamine how they can protect student records. This digest will briefly discuss the provisions of FERPA and the US Patriot Act, and the measures some colleges are implementing to comply with these laws and improve the security of electronic student records.

No comments: