Department of Education Issues Unlawful Regulations that Harm Student Privacy

The Department of Education has released final regulations concerning the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). These regulations exceed the agency's legal authority and expose students to new privacy risks. The new rules permit educational institutions to release student records to non-governmental agencies without first obtaining parents' written consent. The new rules also broaden the permissible purposes for which third parties can access students records without first notifying parents. The agency rules also fail to appropriately safeguard students from the risk of re-identification. In response to the Department of Education's request for public comments, EPIC submitted extensive comments to the agency in May 2011, addressing the student privacy risks and the agency's lack of legal authority to make changes to FERPA without explicit Congressional intent. For more information, see EPIC: Student Privacy.

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