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White House pens privacy pledge to safeguard student data, but Google and Amazon abstain




US President Barack Obama chats with students during a visit to a classroom at Pathways in Technology Early College High School, in Brooklyn, New York on October 25, 2013.
US President Barack Obama chats with students during a visit to a classroom at Pathways in Technology Early College High School, in Brooklyn, New York on October 25, 2013.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

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Following in the footsteps of California lawmakers, the Obama Administration yesterday released a pledge signed by 75 technology companies aimed at enhancing privacy for students. Two notable exceptions from the lengthy list were Google and Amazon which provide data, email and other services to schools. Privacy advocates want tech companies prohibited from data mining and profiling students - not just to prevent targeted advertising but also to protect test score data and private email communications.

Why won't Google and Amazon sign the pledge? Are there legitimate liability concerns? Should schools limit their relationships with technology firms who refuse to enshrine extensive privacy protections for students?

Guest:

Bradley Shear, Esq.  Managing Partner of Shear Law based in Bethesda, Maryland; Shear focuses on the legal realm of digital platforms.