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Privacy Evaluation for Adobe Spark EDU

Last updated May 21, 2019

Overview

Adobe Spark is an integrated web and mobile solution that enables everyone, especially teachers and their students of all ages to easily create and share impactful visual stories. Adobe Spark provides a free, premium, and education version of its product with two different account types: an Adobe ID, or an Enterprise or Federated ID. The account and content of Adobe IDs are owned and controlled by the student, not the school and are better suited to higher education or adult students over 18 years of age. The Enterprise or Federated ID accounts and content are owned and controlled by the school, not the student, and they are required if used by primary or secondary schools with students in K-12 under 18 years of age.

Adobe Spark's terms state they may market, track, and profile students with Adobe IDs, but these features are turned off by default for Enterprise or Federated ID accounts. Adobe's terms state they provide reasonable administrative, technical, and physical security controls to protect a user’s personal information and content. The terms state users must be 13 or older to register for an individual Adobe ID. Lastly, the terms state schools that use the primary and secondary education product are required to register an enterprise-level Adobe ID for a child under 13, but only after obtaining express parental consent.

Adobe Spark can be accessed through its website and supports three different story applications:

  • Spark Video lets users turn their story into a captivating animated narrated video in just minutes and is available for download at the iOS App Store.

  • Spark Page turns stories into modern, professional, attention-grabbing web pages and is available for download at the iOS App Store.

  • Spark Post enables users to create stunning graphics in seconds and is available for download at the iOS App Store, and the Google Play Store.

This evaluation is intended to provide key information about Adobe Spark's collection and use of data for Education users. Where there are terms that differ, as with the limitations on advertising in Adobe Spark for Education for Enterprise or Federated IDs, the Student Policy, and Adobe Spark– A Guide for Schools & Educators takes precedence, followed by the Adobe Privacy Policy. The Privacy Policy and Terms of Use used for this evaluation can be found on Adobe Spark’s website. This evaluation only considers policies that have been made publicly available prior to an individual using the application or service.

Additionally, other policies used for this evaluation include:

Safety

The terms state that Adobe Spark EDU provides interactive features for users to login and engage with social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Google. If users use these features, these sites may send Adobe Spark personal information about a user. Schools can also block access to Behance which is a platform that allows users to showcase and discover creative work. Further, Internet image search and Adobe Stock are turned off in Adobe Spark by default for Enterprise or Federated ID accounts. In addition, Adobe Spark allows users to post comments, upload pictures, or submit content which may be publicly available to others. Adobe recommends users be careful when they share their personal information with others and do not share anything they wouldn’t want publicly known unless they are sure they have control over who sees what they post. Lastly, the terms state users are responsible for determining the privacy limitations that are placed on their content and for applying the appropriate level of access to their content. If users do not choose an access level to apply to their content, Adobe Spark may default to its most permissive setting.

Privacy

Adobe's terms state they collect personal information and automatically collect usage information from users of its services. Adobe's terms state they advertise to users in a variety of ways, including displaying Adobe ads to users on other companies' websites and apps and on social media platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Adobe's terms also state their websites use cookies and similar technologies provided by their own company and other companies that allow Adobe to track and gather additional information to measure and improve the effectiveness of their advertising.

Adobe Spark EDU's terms state they may market, track, and profile students with Adobe IDs, but these features are turned off by default for Enterprise or Federated ID accounts. However, the terms state Adobe does not share personal information about users with third parties for their own marketing purposes unless the consumer agreed to that sharing. The terms also state Adobe will not sell student data from any type of student account to third parties and will not use personal information in student records to target advertising to any type of account.

Security

Adobe's terms state they provide reasonable administrative, technical, and physical security controls to protect a user’s personal information and content. The terms also state users' personal information and files are stored on Adobe’s servers and they support encryption of personal information while in transit and at rest. Lastly, Adobe's terms state they will notify the student or school in accordance with the relevant breach notification law.

Compliance

Adobe Spark provides a free, premium, and education version of its product with two different account types: an Adobe ID, or an Enterprise or Federated ID. The account and content of Adobe IDs are owned and controlled by the student, not the school and are better suited to higher education or adult students over 13 years of age. The Enterprise or Federated ID accounts and content are owned and controlled by the school, not the student, and they are required if used by primary or secondary schools with students in K-12 under 18 years of age.

A student may sign up directly with an Adobe ID, and agree to Adobe's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. In addition, a school may claim their domain with Adobe and use Enterprise or Federated IDs with students using Adobe’s admin console tool. The terms state users must be 13 or older to register for an individual Adobe ID. The terms also state schools with primary and secondary education students may issue a child under 13 an enterprise-level Adobe ID, but only after obtaining express parental consent. The following compliance obligations apply depending on the student account type:

Adobe ID

The terms state Adobe cannot agree to act as a ‘school official’ for FERPA purposes as the user agreement is with the individual student, not with the school. However, Adobe's terms state they will respond to data access, correction, and deletion requests about user account information made by an authenticated student. In addition, students can self-access, correct, and delete their own stored content at any time.

Enterprise or Federated ID

The terms state Adobe contractually agrees to act as ‘school official’ for FERPA purposes, and to secure student data accordingly. As a data processor for the school, Adobe's terms state they give schools the tools they need to promptly respond to account data access, correction, and deletion requests submitted to them by students or their parents. However, only schools, not students, are empowered to access, correct, and delete student accounts and stored content.

Educators should be aware the FTC’s guidance indicates that an operator such as Adobe acting as a ‘school official’ does not need to obtain direct consent from parents of students using the service—even if they are under the age of 13. COPPA allows schools to act as either as an intermediary for parental consent or “the parent’s agent in the process of collecting personal information online from students in the school context,” where the operator collects users’ personal information only for the use and benefit of the school.

Data Collection
SCORE: 35%

What data does it collect?

  • Personally identifiable information (PII) is collected.
  • The categories of collected personally identifiable information are indicated.
  • Collection or use of data is limited to product requirements.
  • Unclear whether this product collects geolocation data.
  • Unclear whether this product collects biometric or health data.
  • Unclear whether this product collects behavioral data.
  • Unclear whether this product collects sensitive data.
  • Non-personally identifiable information is collected.
  • Unclear whether this product treats combined information as personally identifiable information (PII).
  • Personal information from children under 13 years of age is collected online.
Data Sharing
SCORE: 85%

What data does it share?

  • Collected information is shared with third parties.
  • The categories of information shared with third parties are indicated.
  • The purpose for sharing a user's personal information with third parties is indicated.
  • Use of information is limited to the purpose for which it was collected.
  • Data are shared for analytics.
  • Unclear whether data are shared for research and/or product improvement.
  • Data are shared with third-party service providers.
  • The roles of third-party service providers are indicated.
  • Social or federated login is supported.
  • Contractual limits are placed on third-party data use.
Data Security
SCORE: 70%

How does it secure data?

  • Unclear whether a user's identity is verified with additional personal information.
  • Account creation is required.
  • Parental controls or managed accounts are available.
  • Two-factor account protection is available.
  • Third-party contractual security protections are required.
  • Industry best practices are used to protect data.
  • Employee or physical access to user information is limited.
  • Unclear whether this product encrypts all data in transit.
  • Unclear whether this product encrypts all data at rest.
  • Notice is provided in the event of a data breach.
Data Rights
SCORE: 95%

What rights do I have to the data?

  • Opt-in consent is requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
  • Users can control their information through privacy settings.
  • Users can create or upload content.
  • Users retain ownership of their data.
  • Processes to access and review user data are available.
  • Processes to modify inaccurate data are available.
  • A data-retention policy is available.
  • Processes for the school, parents, or students to delete data are available.
  • Processes to delete user data are available.
  • Processes to download user data are available.
Data Sold
SCORE: 35%

Is the data sold?

  • Data are not sold or rented to third parties.
  • Users can opt out from the disclosure or sale of their data to a third party.
  • User information can be transferred to a third party.
  • Unclear whether users are notified if their information is transferred to a third party.
  • Unclear whether user information can be deleted prior to its transfer to a third party.
  • Unclear whether third-party transfers are contractually required to use the same privacy practices.
  • User information is shared in an anonymous or deidentified format.
  • Unclear whether the vendor describes their deidentification process of user information.
  • Unclear whether data are shared for research and/or product improvement.
  • Unclear whether contractual limits prohibit third parties from reidentifying deidentified information.
Data Safety
SCORE: 70%

How safe is this product?

  • Users can interact with trusted users and/or students.
  • Users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
  • Profile information is shared for social interactions.
  • Personal information is displayed publicly.
  • Users can control how their data are displayed.
  • User-created content is reviewed, screened, or monitored by the vendor.
  • User-created content is filtered for personal information before being made publicly visible.
  • Social interactions between users are not moderated.
  • Unclear whether social interactions of users are logged.
  • Users can report abuse or cyberbullying.
Ads & Tracking
SCORE: 80%

Are there advertisements or tracking?

  • Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
  • Traditional or contextual advertisements are displayed.
  • Behavioral or targeted advertising is not displayed.
  • Data are not collected by third-party advertising or tracking services.
  • Data are not used to track and target advertisements on other third-party websites or services.
  • Data profiles are not created and used for data enhancement, and/or targeted advertisements.
  • The vendor can send marketing messages.
  • Unclear whether this vendor provides promotional sweepstakes, contests, or surveys.
  • Users can opt out of traditional, contextual, or behavioral advertising.
  • Users can opt out or unsubscribe from marketing communications.
Parental Consent
SCORE: 60%

Can I provide parental consent?

  • Intended for children under 13.
  • Unclear whether intended for parents or guardians.
  • Vendor does have actual knowledge that personal information from users under 13 years of age is collected.
  • Children's privacy is applicable.
  • Unclear whether this product indicates COPPA parental consent exceptions.
  • Parental consent is required.
  • Unclear whether this product limits parental consent with respect to third parties.
  • Parents can withdraw consent for the further collection of their child's information.
  • Unclear whether this product deletes children's personal information if collected without parental consent.
  • Parental consent notice and method for submission are provided.
School Purpose
SCORE: 70%

Is the product intended for school?

  • Intended for students.
  • Personal information or education records are collected from preK-12 students.
  • Intended for teachers.
  • Product is primarily used by, designed for, and marketed toward students in grades preK–12.
  • Product does create education records.
  • Notification of a contract or additional rights is provided.
  • Vendor is designated as a school official.
  • Parental consent obligations are transferred to the school or district.
  • Unclear whether the vendor indicates FERPA parental consent exceptions.
  • Unclear whether this product discloses directory information.

Common Sense Standard Privacy Report (SPR)

The standard privacy report (SPR) displays all the privacy practices from a product's policies in a single, easy-to-read outline. The report shows a green check mark for better privacy practices and an orange alert for risky or unclear practices. This alert indicates that more time should be focused on these particular details prior to use.

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 help educators make informed decisions about the potential privacy implications of educational technology used to support teaching and learning.

Our core evaluation criteria will always be freely available. People are encouraged to read the questions we use and our information security primer. 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.