Believe me, there are plenty of things to chide the Louisiana legislature over, but in the past week or so, they’ve done something that, while seemingly small, is a good victory for protecting personal information.
House Bill 718 of this session offered a series of amendments to Act 837, which passed last year. Act 837, along with Act 677, was written to try ease concerns over how students’ personally identifiable information is shared. In particular, it focuses on what data can and can’t be shared and adds a lot of transparency to the process.
The HB718 clarifies some of the issues that weren’t fully explained originally, and as such helps further protect this information. This personal information includes transcripts, records, social security numbers, etc., and prevents public schools from asking about information that isn’t necessary, such as sexual behavior, religion, political affliation, and the like.
The reason behind all this is that previous agreements with state contractors didn’t necessarily say what they couldn’t do with the data once they had it. Now, the companies that have agreements with the state of Louisiana are being told explicitly what they can’t do, and there are penalties for violating that agreement. This ends up being a little more work for local schools and districts, but in the end, they are working to protect students and their information.
This is especially vital in an era where major corporations and the U.S. government are being broken into by hackers both domestic and abroad. Personal information in this day and age is easy to exploit, and for government bodies to be working on ways to protect it without creating needless levels of bureaucracy that only obfuscate the issue is a sign that there are smart, level heads noting the importance of it.