The Florida Senate recently passed SB 188, an education privacy bill, by a 38-1 vote. This bill prohibits the collection of certain types of student (and parent) information and further protects students by moving away from the use of social security numbers as student identification numbers. A similar bill is pending in the Florida House of Representatives.
SB 188 would prohibit school districts from collecting, obtaining or retaining data concerning the political affiliation, voting history and religious affiliation of students, students’ siblings, and parents.
Further, it would prohibit districts from collecting, obtaining or retaining biometric information, which is data “collected from the electronic measurement or evaluation of any physical or behavioral characteristics that are attributable to a single person, including fingerprint characteristics, hand characteristics, eye characteristics, vocal characteristics and any other physical characteristics used for the purpose of electronically identifying that person with a high degree of certainty.” Examples of biometric information may include fingerprints, handprint scans or retina scans.
Currently, Florida schools use social security numbers as student identification numbers. As an additional preventative measure, the bill requires the state Department of Education to establish a process for assigning students identification numbers that are not social security numbers. Once that process is in place, school districts will no longer be able to use social security numbers as student identification numbers.
Stay updated about what is happening in Florida regarding student privacy by visiting ISTE’s Voices Carry blog.