Greater Privacy For Student Emails Considered

Feb 10, 2017

Credit Tennessee Watson

Right now digital materials stored on the servers of Wyoming’s institutions of higher education do not belong to the students who create them. But a bill making its way through the Wyoming Senate would change that. 

Currently, the content in a University email sent by a student belongs to the University because it’s stored on their server, and the University can do what it want with that email. Laramie Senator Chris Rothfuss said he decided to tackle the problem because of a case involving the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

“I have heard cases anecdotally where for example there was an NCAA investigation,” said Rothfuss. “The University is compelled to comply with NCAA violations to the extent they are allowed to within law, which means they are going to search some emails."

Rothfuss said the problem was that such searches can spill over into other student information, "even emails that are not the student athletes.”

House Bill 9 sets clearer expectations of privacy, and clarifies that ownership does not change based on where materials are stored. The bill will be debated two more times.