December 5, 2017

School cyber security breaches may be disclosed

JEFFERSON CITY -- Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway Monday announced that a bill to safeguard students' sensitive information is among the first to be filed for the 2018 legislative session. State Sen. Gina Walsh of Bellefontaine Neighbors pre-filed the bill, which would require schools to notify a student's parents or guardians in the event of a data breach.

"Current state law does not require schools to notify parents if their children or family's personal information has been compromised in a cyber security incident," Auditor Galloway said. "Unfortunately, there is a market for our kids' stolen identities. This is especially concerning because students often don't access credit records until years later. Missouri law must ensure parents are able to address any potential problems quickly."

"Keeping students safe is our number one priority. In this day and age that means keeping their personal information safe too," said Sen. Walsh. "That's why I'm proud to work with Auditor Galloway to introduce Senate Bill 582, which will require districts to notify parents if their student's data is ever compromised. I look forward to working across the aisle to get this bill passed so we can protect Missouri families from data breaches and identify theft."

While it is not required by law, some school districts have policies in place that require notification if a data breach occurs. This year, Auditor Galloway visited ten public school districts across Missouri to commend them on taking this proactive approach and raise awareness of cyber security in K-12 schools. During her most recent visit to Cameron R-I School District in Clinton County, she spoke to high school students about the importance of cyber awareness.

Since taking office, Auditor Galloway has focused on efforts to keep Missourians' information secure by incorporating data security into the standard audit process and regularly making recommendations to counties, municipalities and courts on ways to better safeguard electronic records. She is also reviewing ways to better protect electronic data within state government.

In addition to cyber awareness in schools, Auditor Galloway's legislative priorities for the 2018 session include restoring and improving protections for government whistleblowers and strengthening the ability of law enforcement to work with the Auditor to fight public corruption.