Blog: Student Data Privacy Articles

Practical tips, best practices, and useful student data privacy resources.

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How Schools Can Manage COPPA Compliance

School districts are aware of the need to maintain the privacy of student information but are overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. Federal laws like the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) are in place to ensure that student data is only used for authorized purposes. However, school and district leaders are adopting new learning technologies so quickly, that their limited resources—human and systemic—are not able to ensure COPPA compliance with fidelity.
 
COPPA was enacted to put parents in control of the information that is collected from their children under the age of 13. COPPA law applies to mobile apps, websites, digital learning products, and other online services available to children. 

Understanding Privacy Policies: A Key Factor of COPPA

The importance of understanding the privacy policies of each piece of technology used by the district cannot be overstated. Privacy policies reveal how the data is being used, by whom, for what purpose, and for how long. Districts are using hundreds, even thousands of apps and other software. School districts do not have the staff to monitor and manage all the privacy policies manually to ensure COPPA compliance.
 
Properly evaluating online technologies, continuously vetting third party vendors, and giving educators tools they need to make informed decisions minimizes the risk of inadvertently exposing student data to misuse or abuse. This process is tedious, takes time, and is subject to human error or accidental or unintentional mismanagement.
 
EdPrivacy can help. It is a K–12 data privacy management solution that takes the guesswork out of managing student data privacy and offers an additional layer of security, providing peace-of-mind for those tasked with protecting student information.
 
Specifically, EdPrivacy helps districts comply with COPPA law by:
·     Curating all privacy policies and terms of use links
·     Reviewing and vetting privacy policies of approved technology for safety and security
·     Posting online resources for parents to view

Vetting and Scoring School Vendors for COPPA Compliance

The EdPrivacy proprietary scoring system is used to answer specific questions about vendors’ privacy policies and its compliance with COPPA law and other regulations.
·     Is data being collected from users?
·     Is the user under 13?
·     Is the user’s personal identifiable information used for any commercial, non-educational purpose? This includes targeted advertising, social profile building, data sales/rentals/leases/licenses.
 
By reading and digesting vendor privacy policies, EdPrivacy determines if a school district and/or parents remain in control of personally identifiable student data, and whether or not the vendor provides them with access to review and delete that data.

Machine Learning AI - The Tech Behind EdPrivacy

In compliance with COPPA law and other state and federal legislation, EdPrivacy consistently vets online technologies using machine learning AI to facilitate the process of evaluation and monitoring changes in the privacy policies over time. EdPrivacy clarifies questions about data collection, data use, data retention, data integrity, data security, data privacy, and data deletion. These questions align with different parts of COPPA law and other regulations.
 
EdPrivacy automates the entire process of COPPA compliance by distilling the decision-making process into a simple-to-understand “yes” or “no” statement on the privacy quality scoring dashboard. It includes an approved technology list customized for each district and publicly posts approved online resources for parents to view. It also includes an easy-to-access searchable library with data privacy scores for more than 9,000 applications, websites, and online learning technologies. 
 
Learn more about how EdPrivacy can demystify all the privacy policy legalese associated with COPPA compliance with a free trial 

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