Today, House Education and Labor Committee Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Republican Leader Richard Burr (R-NC) sent a third letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona regarding the alarming breach of security and privacy violations of prospective college students.
The Members write: “This failure to protect individuals’ privacy is unacceptable. It is imperative that the American people have confidence in interacting with federal agencies when it comes to protecting their privacy and thus are owed accountability and transparency.”
The Members continue:“We request that all Department and FSA staff retain all past and future emails, documents, and records related to this incident and the Department’s relationship with Facebook for future Congressional oversight. … We remind the Department that complying with Congressional oversight is not optional.”
Background: On April 28, 2022, it was reported the Department of Education used Facebook’s “Meta Pixel” analytical code to collect data, without consent, including names, phone numbers, email addresses, and zip codes, from individuals applying for the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) and later sharing that information with Facebook.
Today’s letter is the third sent by Representative Foxx and Senator Burr regarding the Department’s violation of the privacy of FSA applicants. The letter sent on May 10 requested information on the extent of the data breach, but was never answered. A second letter, sent on May 20, invited Richard Cordray, the Chief Operating Officer of FSA, to participate in a public roundtable discussion about this issue; he refused. The third letter, sent on June 14, can be read here.