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Privacy Evaluation for Understood

Last updated August 30, 2021

Overview

Understood.org is an online resource where parents of kids ages 3–20 with learning and attention issues have access to free personalized information, the wisdom of other parents, and the knowledge of experts to learn about the “what is” and the “how to” of their kids’ academic, social, and emotional needs. The terms say a user can use the service to interact directly with medical, health, education, and legal consultants or other Understood.org users. If a user posts information in public areas, the service cannot control how others may use it. For example, a third party might copy something a user posts and use it on another website not related to Understood.org or a third party might use the information a user posted to contact that user. In addition, a parent may include information in their profile such as their child’s nickname, child’s grade, and the issues their child is struggling with.

The terms also say Understood.org will never try to sell users anything and they do not not sell, lease, or share a parent's or their child’s personal information with other parties. However, the terms say the service may use personal information to display targeted advertisements to users or for ad tracking purposes across the internet. Lastly, the terms say users can access, modify, and delete their personal information at any time and Understood.org is intended to be used by parents and not children under the age of 13.

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

Data Collection
SCORE: 60%

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 not collected.
  • Behavioral data are collected.
  • Sensitive data are not collected.
  • Non-personally identifiable information is collected.
  • Opt-in consent is requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
  • Unclear whether personal information of users is collected by a third party.
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.
  • Unclear whether the categories of third parties that receive personal information are indicated.
  • 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: 20%

How does it secure data?

  • Unclear whether a user's identity is verified with additional personal information.
  • Account creation is required.
  • Unclear whether 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.
  • Unclear whether this product limits employee or physical access to user information.
  • Unclear whether this product encrypts all data in transit.
  • Unclear whether this product encrypts all data at rest.
  • Unclear whether this product provides notice in the event of a data breach.
Data Rights
SCORE: 65%

What rights do I have to the data?

  • 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.
  • A user's data are deleted upon account cancellation or termination.
  • Unclear whether this product deletes data when no longer necessary.
  • Unclear whether permissions, roles, or access controls are available to restrict who has access to data.
  • Unclear whether this product provides users the ability to download their data.
Data Sold
SCORE: 50%

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.
  • 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: 35%

How safe is this product?

  • Unclear whether this product supports interactions between 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.
  • Unclear whether user-created content is filtered for personal information before being made publicly visible.
  • Unclear whether 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: 50%

Are there advertisements or tracking?

  • Data are shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
  • Traditional or contextual advertisements are displayed.
  • Behavioral or targeted advertising is displayed.
  • Data are collected 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 creates and uses data profiles 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: 20%

Can I provide parental consent?

  • Intended for children under 13.
  • Unclear whether this product collects personal information online from children under 13 years of age.
  • Intended for parents or guardians.
  • Unclear whether vendor has 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 requires parental consent.
  • 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: 0%

Is the product intended for school?

  • Unclear whether intended for students.
  • Unclear whether personal information or education records are collected from preK-12 students.
  • Unclear whether intended for teachers.
  • Unclear whether this product is primarily used by, designed for, and marketed toward students in grades preK–12.
  • Unclear whether the product creates 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.
  • Unclear whether this product transfers parental consent obligations 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.