EPIC Emphasizes That FCC Pilot Program Protect Student Privacy, Not Just School Cybersecurity

February 29, 2024

On February 27, EPIC filed reply comments with the Federal Communications Commission supporting the FCC’s proposal to use funds from its E-Rate program to support strengthening cybersecurity at schools and libraries, as these are increasingly attractive targets to hackers. The E-Rate program uses discounted pricing to facilitate schools and libraries providing free internet access to their students and patrons.

EPIC urged the FCC not to dictate a limited list of eligible purchases as part of this cybersecurity Pilot Program and offered the FCC examples of cybersecurity practices that are commonly-accepted as the modern baseline for cybersecurity. EPIC emphasized that the schools and libraries implementing cybersecurity tools through this Pilot Program should not do so at the expense of student privacy and urged the FCC to be clear about this position—including the scope of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). EPIC also agreed with commenters who suggested the Pilot Program should fund schools and libraries on an annual basis for three years rather than once for a three-year period.

EPIC regularly files comments with the FCC and has long advocated for consumer privacy protections in broadband services and student privacy in particular.

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