DOE Offers "Student Privacy and Confidentiality" Hotline Service

column | Data Privacy

DOE Offers "Student Privacy and Confidentiality" Hotline Service

Mar 18, 2014

1-800-PRI-VACY: Student data privacy has been a hot topic for both concerned educators and vendors. But instead of worrying, why not just call the U.S. Department of Education's private data hotline? PTAC (the DOE's Privacy Technical Assistance Center) has a toll-free phone number where education stakeholders can ask "questions on privacy, confidentiality, and data security"--24 hours a day, seven days a week.

According to Department of Edtech Head Richard Culatta, the hotline is available for both "schools and developers" to get whatever information they need on security practices--no matter how specific or extreme. The trend tends towards schools, however, according to DOE press rep Dave Thomas:

“The vast majority of the questions on the PTAC hotline come from school/district administrators and state officials in both K-12 and higher education. The questions generally relate to student privacy, and vary widely. Just a few topics we’ve covered recently include questions about whether data can be shared under FERPA in various contexts, advice on how to store and transmit data securely, advice on protecting privacy in public data tables, and questions about school contracting.”
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