By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) – Education apps have become increasingly popular in schools, and teaching isn’t the only thing they’re being used for.

“For every keystroke your kid is making they’re creating a digital trail,” said State Rep. Alec Garnett.

He says companies are using the data to create profiles of our kids, based on everything from what they read and write about to where they research and how they research.

“That information can then be sold and that profile can be maintained over student’s lifespan in the public schools. Data is the new real estate,” Garnett said.

He says the companies sell the profiles to colleges, employers, advertisers and even the government. Every time students log on to their school account, he says, they can be tracked.

“The profile becomes something that’s a different, alternative identity of who I am and who I want them to know,” said State Rep. Paul Lundeen.

Lundeen, a Republican, and Garnett, a Democrat, have teamed up on what they call the toughest student privacy bill in the country.

Lundeen says it would define “what is the data that’s being collected, who can see it, what can they do with it, who can they share it with and under what circumstances can it be shared, and how we protect it.”

“This bill is about restoring trust with parents and the community,” Lundeen said.

The bill would specifically prohibit companies from creating profiles, selling data or using it to target advertising. School districts would also be required to post which digital companies’ apps they are using in classrooms.

“Parents should have confidence that what’s happing when they’re not there is being protected by their state government and that’s what we’re trying to put in place,” Garnett said.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4’s political specialist. She’s a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

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