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FCC Considering Regulating Municipal Broadband Network Projects
On June 10, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler issued a blog post encouraging consumer advocacy groups and individuals to file comments on whether or not a Tennessee state law prohibiting municipalities from investing in broadband network projects actually hinders competition and hurts economic growth in their communities. The blog post may be a signal that the agency intends to issue regulations that would allow municipalities to invest in the broadband development projects regardless of any current or future state or local laws to the contrary.
Circuit Court Issues Decision in HathiTrust Digital Library Case
On June 10, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit determined in Authors Guild v. HathiTrust that the HathiTrust Digital Library constitutes a “fair use” of copyrights works, largely upholding the 2012 dismissal of the case by the U.S. District Court in New York. EDUCAUSE filed an amicus brief to the Second Circuit with other higher education associations and issued a policy brief outlining the importance of the case.
Sloan-C, UPCEA, and WCET Send Letter to ED on State Authorization
In a June 13 letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C), University Professional & Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), and WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) set forth their joint stance on the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) proposal on “state authorization for distance learning.” ED is expected to release the regulations based on the proposal for public comment this summer.
Senators Introduced Bill to Overhaul Federal Student Privacy Law
On May 14, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Edward Markey (D-MA) released draft legislation that would amend the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, or FERPA, to increase regulation of students’ personal and private information that has been or may be accessed by private companies. The draft bill, entitled the Protecting Student Privacy Act of 2014, was issued in response to recent changes in the interpretation of FERPA—changes that allowed schools and educational institutions to increase the sharing of student data with outside companies. The bill will largely address the K-12 space, but postsecondary institutions should remain aware of these changes and consider future implications for their own practices.
FCC Approves and Releases Net Neutrality Proposal
On Thursday, May 15, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3 to 2 in favor of Chairman Tom Wheeler’s (D) proposal to create a new, albeit more limited, net neutrality rule to protect the open Internet. Commissioners voted along party lines, with the two Republicans dissenting. As previously reported, the D.C.
Quick Takes (New HIPAA Resource, For-Profit Institutions Oversight, & EU Net Neutrality Vote)
HHS Releases Tool to Comply with HIPAA Risk Assessment Requirement
Department of Ed Looking to Update Sexual Assault Reporting, Disciplinary Hearings on Campuses
The U.S. Department of Education endorsed a proposal on April 1 that would require colleges to expand their reporting of campus crimes, publish more information on disciplinary hearings processes, and host sexual assault prevention programs. The proposal, which was drafted by a 15-person negotiated rulemaking committee, would implement the changes made by Congress last year as part of the reauthorization of the Violence against Women Act (VAWA).
Department of Education Looks to APIs to Increase Access to Student Aid, Higher Education Data
On April 16, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) published a request for information (RFI) in the Federal Register asking for input on the use of Application Program Interfaces (APIs) for higher education data and student aid programs and processes at the Department. As explained in ED’s announcement, President Obama has called for innovation in college access, including finding ways to ensure students have the information necessary to make the best decisions for their future. The use of APIs can assist in these efforts by making data and information more open and easily accessible.
Department of Ed Releases Draft Regulatory Language on State Authorization
On April 16, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released the proposal drafted by an ED-appointed negotiated rulemaking committee that would require a higher education institution to have state authorization to offer postsecondary education in each state in which it enrolls students eligible for Title IV financial aid. As we previously reported, the 15-person panel was created by ED to discuss how institutions can apply and qualify for student aid programs.
Internet Policy Task Force Looking to Alter Notice and Takedown Procedures
On Thursday, March 20, technology companies and copyright holders met to discuss the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the notice and takedown process used by copyright holders to push Internet platforms to remove infringing content from their sites and databases. The meeting was facilitated by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Patent and Trademark Office and the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA).