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Privacy Evaluation for Brightspace

Last updated April 24, 2020

Overview

D2L Brightspace is learning management system ("LMS") software for online learning and teaching that helps give each student a more personalized learning experience on any mobile device, for each grade level. Brightspace's terms state that the service or other D2L offerings can be accompanied by interactive features such as chat rooms, forums, messaging and other ways to share with users of the service. The terms of Brightspace state that they adhere to the privacy principles of notice, choice, accountability for onward transfer, data integrity and purpose limitation, access, and recourse, enforcement and liability. Additionally, the terms of Brightspace state they hold many security certifications and take appropriate security measures to protect against unauthorized access and unauthorized alteration, disclosure, or destruction of data. Lastly, the terms of Brightspace state that they do not knowingly collect any personal information from individuals under the age of 13 through the company's consumer offerings or D2L general audience Web sites. However, parents and educators should be aware that the service would likely appeal to students and children under 13 years of age and therefore would be subject to COPPA and FERPA regulations. This determination takes several factors into account, including subject matter, visual content, age of models, and the activities provided.

D2L Brightspace can be accessed through its website, and is available for download at the iOS App Store, and the Google Play Store. The Privacy Policy and Terms of Use used for this evaluation can be found on Brightspace’s website, iOS App Store, and the Google Play Store. Additionally, other policies used for this evaluation include: Privacy Center, Security Statement, Cookie Policy, and GDPR Statement. This evaluation only considers policies that have been made publicly available prior to an individual using the application or service.

Safety

Brightspace's terms state that the service or other D2L offerings can be accompanied by interactive features such as chat rooms, forums, messaging and other ways to share with users of the service. The terms specify users should be aware if they post a comment on the company's blog, they can share personal information within their comment, along with the name they provide, with the general public. If there is a student data privacy agreement in place between the school and Brightspace as an enterprise user, the terms state student permissions as to what features are enabled, and who has access to those features is determined by the educational institution. Lastly, because D2L does not police or monitor users' information, if D2L receives a request directly from users for information data collection and processing, Brightspace will instruct those users to contact the educational institution.

Privacy

The terms of Brightspace state they adhere to the privacy principles of notice, choice, accountability for onward transfer, data integrity and purpose limitation, access, and recourse, enforcement and liability. The terms further specify they collect personal information which means any information about an individual who is either directly or indirectly identified by the information or could be reasonably identified by it. Additionally, the terms state if users were given access to Brightspace by an educational institution as an enterprise user or as a parent or guardian of an enterprise user, there may be additional student data privacy terms that address the collection, use, or disclosure of student information. Teachers should be aware that if they are using Brightspace as an enterprise user, they are responsible for ensuring that the system is configured to properly restrict access to student information in accordance with their own school or district policies.

Additionally, the terms state Brightspace uses data for learning only, not for advertising. The terms state there are no ads in the Brightspace platform and they do not collect, track, target, use, or sell learner data for advertising or marketing purposes, or to create advertising profiles.

Security

The terms of Brightspace state they hold many security certifications and take appropriate security measures to protect against unauthorized access and unauthorized alteration, disclosure, or destruction of data. The terms further specify these include internal reviews of Brightspace's data collection, storage and processing practices and security measures, including appropriate encryption and physical security measures to guard against unauthorized access to systems where the service stores personal information. However, the terms do not disclose whether they provide notification to users in the event of a data breach.

Compliance

The terms of Brightspace state they do not knowingly collect any personal information from individuals under the age of 13 through the company's consumer offerings or D2L general audience Web sites. However, parents and educators should be aware that the service would likely appeal to students and children under 13 years of age and therefore would be subject to COPPA and FERPA regulations. This determination takes several factors into account, including subject matter, visual content, age of models, and the activities provided.

Additionally, the terms state the service provides users the ability to access, modify, and delete personal information form the service, but they may need to contact their educational institution to fulfill the request. The terms state if an educational institution is a school in the United States, Brightspace's provision of services may involve providing access to student education records subject to the US Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). However, the terms specify the service will not use student education records for any purpose other than to perform student data privacy agreements with schools or districts. Lastly, under FERPA, the terms state the service is deemed a “school official” to the extent they have access to student education records.

Data Collection
SCORE: 40%

What data does it collect?

  • Personally identifiable information (PII) is collected.
  • The categories of collected personally identifiable information are indicated.
  • Unclear whether the collection or use of data is limited to product requirements.
  • Geolocation data are collected.
  • Biometric or health data are collected.
  • Behavioral data are collected.
  • Sensitive data are collected.
  • Non-personally identifiable information is collected.
  • Unclear whether this product treats combined information as personally identifiable information (PII).
  • Unclear whether this product collects personal information online from children under 13 years of age.
Data Sharing
SCORE: 80%

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.
  • Unclear whether this product supports social or federated login.
  • 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.
  • All data at rest are encrypted.
  • Unclear whether this product provides notice in the event of a data breach.
Data Rights
SCORE: 80%

What rights do I have to the data?

  • Opt-in consent is not requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
  • Users can control their information through privacy settings.
  • 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: 40%

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.
  • Third-party transfer is contractually required to use the same privacy practices.
  • Unclear whether 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: 45%

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 not reviewed, screened, or monitored by the vendor.
  • Unclear whether 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.
  • Unclear whether users can report abuse or cyberbullying.
Ads & Tracking
SCORE: 90%

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 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.
  • The vendor does provide 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: 50%

Can I provide parental consent?

  • Intended for children under 13.
  • Intended for parents or guardians.
  • Vendor does not 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.
  • 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.
  • Unclear whether this product provides parental consent notice and method for submission.
School Purpose
SCORE: 60%

Is the product intended for school?

  • Intended for students.
  • Personal information or education records are collected from preK-12 students.
  • Unclear whether 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.