The US Department of Education oversees the enforcement of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA is a 1974 US regulation designed to protect the privacy of students, and governs many types of student records. The privacy of students is very important and FERPA was enacted to ensure students have control over their personal information. Data Privacy lawyers often play a role in representing students with data privacy matters.
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What is FERPA?
FERPA is a US law that prevents educational institutions, that receive funding from the Department of Education, from sharing information about a student’s academic record without consent from the student or parent if the child is under 18 years of age. If an academic record is shared, students have the right to challenge inaccurate educational records. FERPA governs academic records that are recorded digitally, on paper, or even on video.
What is an Academic Record under FERPA?
The following are considered academic records under FERPA:
- Grades and educational transcripts,
- Class rosters,
- Course schedules,
- Health records for minors,
- Financial information for higher education students, and
- Disciplinary records
What is the Department of Education’s Role in enforcing FERPA?
The Department of Education, formed in 1979, is a US federal agency within the executive branch. Among many things, the Department of Education provides grants and student loans to students that are attending colleges and universities. Since FERPA deals with privacy of records for students that attend colleges and universities, the Department of Education is a natural agency to enforce FERPA. Educational privacy and other types of privacy are important to protect.
Why is Privacy Important?
Privacy is a person’s right against unwanted intrusion from individuals, companies, and governments. “Privacy is one of the most important concepts of our time”, according to “Understanding Privacy.” by Daniel J. Solove. Privacy protects against incomplete information, protects minority opinions, and protects against the government. Data privacy lawyers often help with ensuring individuals’ privacy rights are protected.
What is a Data Privacy Lawyer?
A data privacy lawyer focuses on global data privacy laws. They often help multinational companies stay in compliance with international privacy laws. In addition, data privacy lawyers negotiate and draft data privacy clauses in contracts, as well as represent individuals in data breach class action lawsuits.