For Immediate Release: 
January 19, 2016

Keenan Austin
(202) 724-8105

Grosso Introduces Bills to Expand Transparency in Government, Protect Student Privacy

Washington, D.C.— At today’s Committee of the Whole meeting of the D.C. Council, Councilmember David Grosso along with Councilmember Mary M. Cheh introduced the “Strengthening Transparency and Open Access to Government Amendment Act of 2016.” Grosso also introduced the “Protecting Students Digital Privacy Act of 2016.”

The Strengthening Transparency and Open Access to Government Amendment Act strengthens D.C.’s Freedom of Information Act, Open Meetings Act and Open Government Office Act and codifies key components of past mayoral orders on open data, as well as parts of Mayor Bowser’s recently proposed Open Data Policy. A copy of the bill, as introduced, can be read on Grosso’s website.

“It is my strong belief that an open and transparent government is more likely to be an effective and ethical government—a good government,” said Grosso. “When we open up the government for our residents to see, it increases confidence in our work, and lets the public highlight areas for improvement.”

The Protecting Students Digital Privacy Act of 2016 takes steps to put additional safeguards in place with regard to student data and personally identifiable information. The legislation also expressly protects students’ privacy with regard to secured personal social media accounts and their personal technological devices, even when the device is being carried or used in violation of a school’s policy, except for in limited circumstances.

“I do not believe that students completely leave their right to privacy at the schoolhouse door. I also do not believe that vendors or organizations providing technology or software to our schools should have unfettered access to analyze, share, or sell the data they receive from our students. This bill takes steps to update our laws to match the reality of the new technology around us.”

Tomorrow, Grosso will hold a press conference to call for a national focus on student privacy data. The press conference will be held on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 2:00 pm at the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office. This is part of a multi-state, bipartisan effort to empower Americans to take control of their privacy protections in the digital age — with 15 events taking place simultaneously throughout the country. The multi-state effort is using the Twitter hashtag #TakeCTRL. 

A copy of this bill, as introduced, can also be found on Grosso’s website.