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Privacy Evaluation for Big History Project

Last updated January 9, 2020

Overview

Big History Project offers free, high-quality educational content, including a year-long high school social studies course, to teachers and students in an online classroom format, and to curious-minded, life-long learners through its website. The terms state Big History Project takes extra precautions to help student users avoid the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of their personal information. The terms also disclose the service is free of commercial content and does not use personally identifiable information of users to display any targeted advertising on the service itself. However, the terms disclose the service may use third party advertising companies to serve targeted ads to teachers on other websites, including on Facebook and other social networks. The terms of Big History Project state they take reasonable security measures to protect the privacy and security of a child's personal information. Lastly, the terms of Big History Project state they may collect personally identifiable information from students and children under the age of 13 with consent.

Big History Project can be accessed through its website. The Privacy Policy and Terms of Use used for this evaluation can be found on Big History Project’s website. This evaluation only considers policies that have been made publicly available prior to an individual using the application or service.

Safety

The terms state Big History Project takes extra precautions to help student users avoid the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of their personal information. For example, the terms state the only interaction that can occur on the service between student users and any other user is the limited access granted to each student user’s teacher, which permits the teacher’s access to student coursework. Other than a student user’s own classroom teacher, student user accounts are not visible to other users or to the public. Lastly, the terms state student users are not permitted to post, message or otherwise interact with other users or the public on the service.

Privacy

The terms of Big History Project state they collect personal and non-personal usage information automatically from users to provide the services. In addition, the terms state the service will not sell or rent any personal information of users to third parties for marketing purposes. The terms also disclose the service is free of commercial content and does not use personally identifiable information of users to display any targeted advertising on the service itself. However, the terms disclose the service may use third party advertising companies to serve targeted ads to teachers on other websites, including on Facebook and other social networks. The terms state that Big History Project uses its best efforts and take precautions to avoid the collection of information for targeted advertising purposes when they believe third-party websites are being used by student users. For example, the terms state the service takes steps to prevent third party advertising networks from collecting information for targeted advertising purposes on webpages with child-directed content, such as on the YouTube video pages included in the learning materials for student users.

Security

The terms of Big History Project state they take reasonable security measures to protect the privacy and security of a child's personal information, and they take reasonable steps to verify a teacher, parent or guardian's identity prior to deleting a student's information. In addition, the terms disclose the service utilizes additional security protections, such as encryption of personal information while in transit, and storage in operating environments that are safeguarded against access by the public and protected from access internally by physical and technical security measures. Lastly, the terms state that in the event of a data breach notification is provided to users of the service.

Compliance

The terms of Big History Project state they may collect personally identifiable information from students and children under the age of 13 with consent. If a child is using the Big History Project course as part of a school-based activity, the terms allows teachers or school administrators to provide consent for the collection of personally identifiable information from children. The terms state parents, teachers, and eligible students can access, modify, delete and export their information from the service. However, parents and teachers should be aware the terms state that if a user cancels their account with Big History Project, the service may, but is not obligated to delete all the information they collected or obtained from third parties about the user if de-identified. In addition, the terms state the service may continue to use and disclose a user's de-identified data in accordance with its policies.

Data Collection
SCORE: 60%

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.
  • Geolocation data are not collected.
  • Unclear whether this product collects biometric or health data.
  • Behavioral data are collected.
  • Unclear whether this product collects sensitive data.
  • Non-personally identifiable information is collected.
  • Combined information is treated as personally identifiable information (PII).
  • Personal information from children under 13 years of age is collected online.
Data Sharing
SCORE: 90%

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.
  • 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: 65%

How does it secure data?

  • A user's identity is verified with additional personal information.
  • Account creation is required.
  • Parental controls or managed accounts are available.
  • Unclear whether two-factor account protection is available.
  • Unclear whether third-party contractual security protections are required.
  • Industry best practices are used to protect data.
  • Employee or physical access to user information is limited.
  • All data in transit are encrypted.
  • Unclear whether this product encrypts all data at rest.
  • Notice is provided in the event of a data breach.
Data Rights
SCORE: 80%

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.
  • Unclear whether users can create or upload content.
  • Unclear whether 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: 60%

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.
  • Users are not notified if their information is transferred to a third party.
  • User information can not be deleted prior to its transfer to a third party.
  • Third-party transfer is 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.
  • Data are shared for research and/or product improvement.
  • Unclear whether contractual limits prohibit third parties from reidentifying deidentified information.
Data Safety
SCORE: 75%

How safe is this product?

  • Users can interact with trusted users and/or students.
  • Users cannot interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
  • Profile information is shared for social interactions.
  • Personal information is not 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 moderated.
  • Unclear whether social interactions of users are logged.
  • Unclear whether users can report abuse or cyberbullying.
Ads & Tracking
SCORE: 65%

Are there advertisements or tracking?

  • Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
  • Traditional or contextual advertisements are not displayed.
  • Behavioral or targeted advertising is not displayed.
  • Data are collected by third-party advertising or tracking services.
  • Data are used to track and target advertisements on other third-party websites or services.
  • Data profiles are created and used for data enhancement, and/or targeted advertisements.
  • The vendor cannot send marketing messages.
  • The vendor does not provide promotional sweepstakes, contests, or surveys.
  • Unclear whether this product provides users the ability to opt-out of traditional, contextual, or behavioral advertising.
  • Unclear whether this product provides users the ability to opt out or unsubscribe from marketing communications.
Parental Consent
SCORE: 40%

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.
  • Unclear whether 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.
  • Unclear whether this product allows parents to 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: 50%

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.
  • Unclear whether this product provides notification of a contract or additional rights.
  • Unclear whether this product designates the vendor 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.