Welcome to the latest edition of FPF’s Youth & Education Privacy Newsletter. I’m Chloe Altieri, policy counsel on the Youth & Education team at FPF. My work lately has been focused on child and student privacy legislation and child-centered design, including California’s new Age-Appropriate Design Code Act.

Before we get into the newsletter, some exciting news from the Youth & Ed team: David Sallay has joined FPF as our Director of Youth & Education Privacy. David joins us from the Utah State Board of Education where he served as their Chief Privacy Officer. Read more about David

If you are attending IAPP’s Privacy. Security. Risk. conference in Austin, Texas, you won’t want to miss FPF’s Bailey Sanchez discussing emerging trends in child privacy on this panel: Hide and Seek: Global Rules for Children's Online Privacy. You can also catch another member of the FPF Youth & Education team at the Privacy and Security Forum’s event in Washington, DC. Miles Light will speak on “legislative proposals that seek to push beyond COPPA’s parental consent requirements” on the panel, Beyond COPPA: How Privacy Laws Are Expanding to Protect Kids, Tweens and Teens In The Digital Age.

Next, you’ll be hearing from Jamie Gorosh! There is a lot happening in student and children’s privacy, and by rotating FPF experts, we will spotlight different perspectives on important issues in these areas.

Among other recent developments in child and student privacy, this newsletter highlights:

  • Age-Appropriate Design Code comes to California

  • A new report highlights how student monitoring software is used beyond its intended purpose

  • Updates from regulators around the world - and at home

  • New evidence about the effectiveness of several technologies designed to keep kids safe

As we continue to refine the content and format of this newsletter, we want to hear from you - what’s on your mind, and how can we help? Reach out to us anytime by replying to this email.

Age-Appropriate Design Code Comes to California

Perhaps the biggest development in child privacy of late (and, admittedly, what I’ve been focused on the most) is California’s new age-appropriate design code law. AB-2273, The California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act (CA AADC), was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 15 and will go into effect on July 1, 2024.

The controversial measure has drawn mixed reviews, with both strong supporters and critics…and a lot of opinions in between. The “huge privacy experiment…won’t just affect children,” WIRED notes, while The New York Times argues that the bill takes a “practical, product safety-approach,” claiming that, “it aims to hold online services to the same kinds of basic safety standards as the automobile industry — essentially requiring apps and sites to install the digital equivalent of seatbelts and airbags for younger users.”

Since we’ve seen other states follow California’s lead in passing privacy bills, we anticipate the California AADC will impact other state and federal child privacy efforts. While there’s a lot we still don’t know, about a week after the California bill was signed into law, one of the first state legislative proposals that appears to be directly inspired by it was introduced in New York. My colleague Keir Lamont has more.

Read FPF’s statement on AB 2273, the California AADC, and learn more via our June 28 blog post, a September 1 analysis following the bill’s passage by the state legislature, and this IAPP story featuring my colleague Bailey Sanchez. Stay tuned for a deeper dive into the legislation in a new policy brief that we expect to share in the coming days on Twitter (@SPrivacyCompass) and online at

Student Monitoring’s Other Uses

Student monitoring has become “nearly ubiquitous,” with 89% of teachers reporting that their school uses monitoring technology, a 5% increase from last year, according to a new report from the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT). Of the teachers who report using monitoring software, 78% said that a student had been flagged for disciplinary action by the software, and 44% said that a student had been contacted by law enforcement as a result of the monitoring software. 

CDT’s report also found that the resulting discipline disparately impacted students of color, LGBTQ+ students, and low-income students. “This is becoming a conversation not just about privacy, but about discrimination.”  Elizabeth Laird, an author of the survey and CDT’s director of equity in civic technology, told The 74.  “Without a doubt, we see certain groups of students having outsized experiences in being directly targeted.” The Trevor Project tweeted on September 30th that it would return a donation from Gaggle, after concerns about the student surveillance tool’s “role in negatively impacting LGBTQ students.”

Following the release of the CDT report, more than a dozen education and civil rights groups wrote to the US Department of Education, urging the agency to develop a policy statement that clarifies the intersection of civil rights laws and student monitoring. A significant concern of these groups? “The escalation of these technologies risk fundamentally altering the way children grow and develop in school systems.

Perhaps the most pervasive form of monitoring in higher education has become online proctoring. In “a victory for digital privacy advocates around the country,” a Cleveland State University student won his lawsuit against the school, successfully arguing that being required to show an online proctor a scan of his room prior to taking a test violated his fourth amendment rights.

News & Updates From Regulators Around the World

While the FPF Youth & Education team spends most of our time focused on US policy, children’s privacy is a global issue, and various ideas and proposals are often modeled on existing policies and best practices. Case in point: California’s new AADC is modeled closely after the U.K’s approach. A few updates from regulators around the world (and one instance of lacking regulation):

Regulators in the US remain busy as well. In advance of its October 19 virtual event, Protecting Kids from Stealth Advertising in Digital Media, the FTC announced it is seeking public comment on the impact of digital advertising and marketing to kids. Comments to the Commission are due November 18, 2022.

The FTC also released its Federal Trade Commission Report to Congress on COPPA Staffing, Enforcement, and Remedies. The report concludes by restating that children’s privacy is a priority for the commission and that ultimately “With more resources, however, the FTC could do more.” An appendix to the report summarizes the 11 COPPA actions brought by the Commission in the last five years. My colleagues Bailey Sanchez and Lauren Merk have more background on the FTC’s most recent COPPA action, U.S. v. Kurbo, Inc. and WW International, Inc., announced in March.

The FTC’s newest commissioner, Alvaro Bedoya, gave his first sit-down interview to The Washington Post since joining the Commission and noted that he views addressing children’s and teens’ mental health online could be a key area of bipartisan interest.

Just how effective are….

We talk a lot about technology and various tools/tactics that are designed to protect kids, including some things that are quite expensive. But just how well do they work?

AI-powered scanners designed to detect guns

School safety has become a “nerve-racking mission for tens of thousands of school leaders in the United States” and helped fuel the growth of the school safety technology industry, which reached $3.1 billion in 2021. But Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ rollout of AI-powered scanners designed to detect guns provides a cautionary tale, VICE reports. The scanners caused “chaos” through a high volume of both false positives and failures to detect common handguns at common sensitivity settings, diverting the attention of school safety officers and leading one principal to remark that the day they were installed at their school had been “the least safe day.” Nevertheless, similar technology is used in schools in at least 18 states, and school districts continue to purchase it.

Thermal scanners to detect COVID

In another story of tech purchased by schools, The Daily Beast details how schools spent millions on thermal scanners - including some with facial recognition technology - to detect COVID, only to have the scanners flag so many false positives they were rendered ineffective. (Don’t miss an appearance from my FPF colleague Tatiana Rice in that one!)

Parental controls

Following Instagram’s release of new and updated parental controls in June, Snapchat recently unveiled its own update with features “modeled on real-life parenting.” But how much can parental controls really help? As we have noted in past newsletters, age verification remains a significant challenge, Instagram announced it was testing new methods in June, while Snapchat says it has “strong measures” in place to prevent kids from lying about their age.

Another place where parental controls and responsible data collection can get tricky? Streaming services. Kids are a significant audience for streaming services (half of all Paramount+ subscribers watch Nickelodeon content) and platforms are responding in a variety of ways. Some platforms give subscribers the ability to create a separate profile for kids, which often includes parental controls and content restrictions.

32%: Just one-third of teens report using Facebook in 2022, down from 71% in 2014-2015, according to a new report by Pew Research.
152.1 million: Disney announced it surpassed 152 million Disney+ subscribers as of July 2. For more on how streaming services are approaching kids' privacy, check out this article from Morning Brew.
91%: Almost all of the apps that students used during the 2021-2022 school year made changes to their privacy policy. According to a study by Lightspeed Systems, three changes per policy was the median number of changes.
1,000: At least 1,000 schools are using a new digital system that tracks how long students are away from the classroom, including trips to the bathroom, VICE reports.
50%: Half of Black parents want schools to put more of an emphasis on teaching about slavery, racism, and other challenges faced by Black people in the United States, according to a new poll, Chalkbeat reports.
ICYMI: The Youth & Ed team has a new leader, Meet FPF’s new Director of Youth & Education Privacy, David Sallay! David joins us from the Utah State Board of Education, where he served as Chief Privacy Officer and the Student Privacy Auditor. Learn more about David, and stay tuned for more from him in our next newsletter.
States looking for guidance in updating their student privacy policies may be interested in understanding more about Utah’s practices. My colleague Bailey broke down the key steps that Utah has taken to establish sustainable student privacy policies in a new report, A Case Study in K-12 Privacy Best Practices: Utah.
My colleague Lauren Merk and I joined TerraTrue’s podcast with Angelique Carson to discuss California’s Age Appropriate Design Code. 
FPF’s Jim Siegl and Jamie Gorosh joined FPF CEO Jules Polonetsky for a Back-to-School edition of #PrivacyChat where they discussed FERPA, COPPA, student monitoring, and more.
Project Unicorn hosted a discussion including our own Jim Siegl on leveraging the power of data interoperability while maintaining student data privacy and security.
Lauren joined a Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) Hill Briefing to discuss federal child privacy legislative developments, including the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) and the Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA 2.0). Read FPF’s comparison of the Federal child privacy bills.

Are you following the FPF Youth & Education team members on Twitter? We’re keeping a close eye on key legislative developments and highlighting what’s to come. Find me at @ChloeAltieri, Bailey at @BraileySanchez, Lauren at @Lauren_Merk1, Jim Siegl at @jsiegl, and Miles Light at @KilometersLight.

You can find all of our team’s work highlighted at @SPrivacyCompass and @futureofprivacy.
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