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Updated January 23, 2019

ABCs Alphabet Phonics Learn to Read Preschool Game

  • Privacy polices do indicate a version or effective date.
  • Unclear whether data are sold or rented to third parties.
  • Unclear whether data are shared for advertising and/or marketing.
  • Unclear whether this product displays behavioral or contextual advertising.
  • Unclear whether this product allows data collection by third-party advertising or tracking services.
  • Unclear whether this product uses data to track and target advertisements on other third-party websites or services.
  • Unclear whether this product allows third parties to use data to create ad profiles, data enhancement, and/or targeted advertisements.
The criteria for "Use with Caution" are narrowly focused around data uses related to creating profiles that aren't related to any educational purpose, and using data to target ads. We include both first party (ie, the vendor that builds the service) and third party (any company given access by the vendor) data use. It's worth highlighting that using data to profile students violates multiple state laws, and in some cases also violates federal law.

A service can be designated "Use with Caution" for either a lack of transparency around data use -- which creates the potential for profiling and behavioral targeting -- or for clearly stating that they use data to target advertisements and/or create profiles. As with any application being considered for use within schools, school and/or district staff should review the privacy policies and terms of service to ensure that they meet the legal and practical requirements of their state laws and school policies.

As with the "Not Recommended" criteria, a "Use with Caution" designation is NOT a sign that a vendor is necessarily doing anything unethical or illegal. It is a sign that, based on publicly available policies,  we do not have adequate guarantees that data will not be used by first or third parties to create non-educational profiles or to target behavioral ads.
Use with Caution
Full evaluation
23
Overall Scoreinfo-bubble

This overall score represents how the service addressed all our evaluation questions. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive policies.

Overview

ABCs Alphabet Phonics Learn to Read has twelve games that teach reading skills such as phonemic awareness, letter-sound relationships, writing and letter recognition, spelling, and reading fluency. The terms do not disclose whether any social interactions between users are available or whether a user can make personal information publicly visible to others. The terms also do not disclose whether the service sells a user's data to third parties, or whether it allows third-party advertising companies to collect a user's data through the service for ad targeting, tracking, or creating a profile for marketing purposes. In addition, the terms do not disclose sufficient details about data security standards that should be used to protect the confidentiality of a user's information. Lastly, the terms state the service does not knowingly contact or collect personal information from children under 13. However, teachers and parents should be aware that by providing permission for their child to use this app, they are potentially giving the service permission to collect and use data that would be considered personal information under COPPA.

ABCs Alphabet Phonics is available for download at the iOS App Store. The Privacy Policy used for this evaluation can be found on ABCs Alphabet Phonic’s website, and the iOS App Store. This evaluation only considers policies that have been made publicly available prior to an individual using the application or service.

Read the Common Sense standard privacy report (SPR)arrow
The standard privacy report (SPR) displays the most important privacy practices from a product’s polices in a single easy-to-read outline. The report displays an alert when a particular privacy practice is risky, unclear, or not evaluated. This alert indicates more time should be focused on these particular details prior to use.
SafetyPromoting responsible use
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Evaluating safety takes into consideration best practices that protect a user's physical and emotional health. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to safety.
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The terms of ABCs Alphabet Phonics Learn to Read do not disclose whether any social interactions between users are available or whether a user can make personal information publicly visible to others.

PrivacyProtecting collected information
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Evaluating privacy takes into consideration best practices that protect the disclosure of a user's personal information. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to privacy.
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The terms of ABCs Alphabet Phonics Learn to Read state they do not collect personally identifiable information about users of their apps. In addition, the service states they do not collect or use a user's precise geographic location. The terms also state that, in some circumstances, the service might make identifiable and/or anonymous information available to third parties with a user's express consent. However, it is not clear whether or how the service requests that express consent. Lastly, the terms do not state whether the the service sells a user's data to third parties or whether it allows third-party advertising companies to collect a user's data through the service for ad targeting, tracking, or creating a profile for marketing purposes.

SecurityProtecting against unauthorized access
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Evaluating security takes into consideration best practices that protect the integrity and confidentiality of a user's data. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to security.
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The terms of ABCs Alphabet Phonics Learn to Read do not disclose sufficient information about use of data security standards that should be used to protect the confidentiality of a user's information. The terms also lack sufficient detail about whether a user's data is encrypted while in transit or at rest or whether notice is provided to users in the event of a data breach.

ComplianceFollowing statutory laws and regulations
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Evaluating compliance takes into consideration best practices of companies that collect personal information from children or students and the legal obligations for the privacy and security of that information. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to compliance.
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The terms of ABCs Alphabet Phonics Learn to Read state the service does not knowingly contact or collect personal information from children under 13. If a user believes the Company has inadvertently collected information from a child under 13 years of age, they should contact the Company so they can promptly obtain parental consent or remove the personal information. Parents should take note that free and paid apps from the Company may contain non consumable in-app purchases.

However, COPPA defines some persistent identifiers - such as IP address, some cookie values, and unique device identifiers - as personal information in some cases. Based on the information that is collected by the application and by third party service providers, COPPA could apply to this application. Accordingly, teachers and parents should be aware that by providing permission for their child to use this app, they are potentially giving the Company permission to collect and use information that would be considered sensitive under COPPA.

About Privacy Evaluations

The privacy evaluations have been designed with the help and support of a consortium of schools and districts across the United States. These evaluations are designed to streamline making an informed decision about the potential privacy implications of educational technology used to support teaching and learning.

Our core evaluation criteria are freely available and will remain freely available. People are encouraged to read the questions we use and the information security primer we released. Vendors are encouraged to use our questions and the information security primer to self-evaluate. You can also learn more about our evaluation process.

Please be in touch with any questions or feedback.