Press Release For: Wednesday, January 20, 2016, at 2:00 PM

Contact: Melanie Bates, Director of Communications, ACLU-DC, 202-601-4275 or



The District of Columbia Joins National, Bipartisan Effort To Empower Americans to  

#TakeCTRL of Their Privacy

Washington, DC — Today, Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) asked his colleagues at the DC Council to focus on the issue of student data privacy and to support Bill 21-0578, the “Protecting Students Digital Privacy Act of 2016,” which would make important advancements in protecting the privacy of students in the District of Columbia.

The announcement in the District of Columbia is one of 17 taking place simultaneously throughout of the country — from Hawaii to North Carolina, from Alaska to Alabama, and from New Hampshire to New York to New Mexico — with a diverse, bipartisan coalition of elected officials and citizens coming together to tell the nation they care about their digital privacy and are willing to join together to fight for it. The message from these collective actions by the states and the District of Columbia is clear: where Congress is unwilling or unable to act to protect Americans’ privacy, or takes actions that are insufficient, the states are more than willing to step up and fill the void. Together, these states and the District of Columbia have introduced a range of new legislation that includes protections for student privacy, location tracking and personal data. The multi-state effort is using the Twitter hashtag #TakeCTRL.

“Today, I rise in solidarity with legislators in states across the country in standing up to affirm the District’s and nation’s commitment to protecting Americans’ privacy,” said Councilmember Grosso. “Bill 21-0578, the ‘Protecting Students Digital Privacy Act of 2016,’ is a commonsense measure that would make important advancements in protecting the privacy of students in the District of Columbia. D.C. residents and the nation should feel that governments are working to protect their privacy, not violate it.”

“Every person should have the power to decide who they want to share personal, private information with. Privacy is not about keeping secrets, it is about exercising control over our own lives,” said Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital (ACLU-DC). “We’re grateful to Councilmember Grosso for his efforts, which affirms that privacy remains a core value in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States of America.”

“The guiding principal for protecting Americans’ privacy in 2016 is the same as it was in 1776: Get a warrant, get permission, or get out,” said Councilmember Grosso. “More and more we’re seeing gross overreach into our personal information. District residents need these protections now more than ever — and this is a fight I am proud to say that Democrats and Republicans, progressives and conservatives all across the country will be undertaking together. On the issue of privacy, Americans from all over the political spectrum are truly united.”

The bipartisan actions by the states and the District of Columbia, which are intended to highlight the strong and diverse nationwide support for legislation that empowers people to take control of their privacy, are mirrored by the results of a recent poll conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, which found that 90% of Americans believed (73% of them “strongly”) that the next president should make “protecting privacy so we have more control over our personal information” a policy priority.

The 16 very diverse states and the District of Columbia joining in today’s announcements represent 30% of the nation’s states; their bills have the ability to impact nearly one million people; and they will provoke important discussions across the country about privacy.

Additional Background:

Bill 21-0578, the “Protecting Students Digital Privacy Act of 2016,” requires that any contract or agreement between a local education agency and a student information system provider shall expressly authorize and require the provider to establish, implement, and maintain appropriate security measures to protect student data; prohibits an educational institution or 1-to-1 device provider that provides a technological device to a student for overnight or home use from accessing or tracking the device except in limited circumstances; prohibits an educational institution from requiring or coercing a student or prospective student to disclose the user name and password to a personal social media account; and prohibits school employees from accessing or compelling a student to produce data stored upon, or accessible from a student’s personal technological device except in limited circumstances. You may view the full text here.