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United States: Florida Act on Education Data Privacy

(May 29, 2014) On May 12, 2014, Florida Governor Rick Scott approved “An Act Relating to Education Data Privacy,” which prohibits public schools from collecting, obtaining, or retaining information on the political affiliation, voting history, religious affiliation, or biometric information of a student or a parent or sibling of a student. (Ch. 2014-41, LAWS OF FLA. (last visited May 28, 2014).) The Act provides specific examples of biometric information that may not be collected, obtained, or retained, including iris scans, retina scans, hand scans, facial geometry scans, voice prints, and fingerprints. (Id.)

The Act also requires the Florida Department of Education to establish a process for assigning student identification numbers to each student in the state, stating that after the process is established, school districts may not use social security numbers as student identification numbers in their management information systems. The Act also places greater restrictions on the disclosure of student records and requires the Department to annually notify parents and students of their rights with respect to education records. (Id.)

The Act is effective immediately, but schools that had been using palm scanners as of March 1, 2014, to administer breakfast and lunch programs may continue to do so for the 2014-2015 school year. (Id.)