Student data privacy bill passes Senate Education Committee

Technology companies would be prohibited from sharing, mining, selling or using student data to peddle products under a bipartisan bill that cleared a Senate committee Thursday on a 9-0 vote.

But fractures appeared over an amendment backed by Republicans and activist mothers that would require software and other data merchants to discard student information after three years.

Democrats on the Senate Education Committee questioned whether that would undermine the collaboration behind the bill and require school districts to build costly systems to house data longer.

The vote on the amendment passed along party lines, with five Republicans supporting it and four Democrats opposed.

Co-sponsor Sen. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, said Senate Bill 173 aims to empower parents, restore trust, protect kids, not push companies out of Colorado — and gain enough support to become law. Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, is the House sponsor.

The legislation covers "personally identifiable data" linked to students, not aggregated data.

Non-rural districts would be required to list their vendors online, vendors would be required to post on their websites contracts with districts, and parents would be alerted to data breaches.

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