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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.
  • Interactions, behaviors, or usage analytics data are collected.
  • Sensitive data are not collected.
  • Data is automatically 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 data are indicated.
  • Data are shared for analytics.
  • Data are shared for research and/or product improvement.
  • Third-party services are used to support the product.
  • The roles of third-party service providers are indicated.
  • Third-party 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 managed accounts are available.
  • Unclear whether multi-factor account protection is available.
  • Unclear whether third-parties with access to information are required to provide the same security protections as the company.
  • Reasonable security 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 all data are stored in an encrypted format.
  • 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 or review user data are available.
  • Processes to modify data are available for authorized users.
  • A data-retention policy is available.
  • Processes for authorized users 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 methods 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?

  • Personal information is 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 in the event of a merge, acquisition, or bankruptcy.
  • 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 that is shared is shared in an anonymous or de-identified format.
  • Unclear whether the company describes their de-identification process of user information.
  • Data are shared for research and/or product improvement.
  • Unclear whether contractual limits prohibit third parties from reidentifying or de-identified information.
Data Safety
SCORE: 35%

How safe is this product?

  • Unclear whether this product supports interactions between trusted users.
  • Users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
  • Profile information must be shared for social interactions.
  • Personal information can be displayed publicly.
  • Users can control how their data are displayed to others.
  • User-created content is reviewed, screened, or monitored by the company.
  • 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?

  • Personal information is shared for third-party marketing.
  • Traditional or contextual advertisements are displayed.
  • Personalised advertising is displayed.
  • Data are collected by third-parties for their own purposes.
  • Unclear whether this product uses a user's information to track and target advertisements on other third-party websites or services.
  • Unclear whether this product creates and uses data profiles for personalised advertisements.
  • The company can send marketing messages.
  • The company does provide promotional sweepstakes, contests, or surveys.
  • Users can opt out of contextual, or personalised 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 from children under 13 years of age.
  • Intended for parents or guardians.
  • Unclear whether company has actual knowledge that personal information from users under 13 years of age is collected.
  • The company does not provide a section, heading, or separate policy for children in their policies.
  • Unclear whether parental consent is required before personal information is collected or disclosed.
  • 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.
  • Processes to enter education records into the product are not described.
  • Unclear whether additional rights or protections may be provided with an additional school contract.
  • Unclear whether the company is designated as a school official.
  • Unclear whether this product transfers parental consent obligations to the school or district.
Individual Control
SCORE: 50%

Can I control the use of my data?

  • Users can control the use of their information through privacy settings.
  • Unclear whether use of information is limited to the purpose for which it was collected.
  • The context or purpose for which data are collected is indicated.
  • Company may combine data with additional data from third-party sources.
  • Unclear whether this product treats combined information as personally identifiable information (PII).
  • Notice is provided if the context in which data are collected changes.
  • Unclear whether consent is obtained if the practices in which data are collected change.
  • A grievance or remedy mechanism is not available for users to file a complaint.
  • Users can request to know what personal information has been shared with third parties.
  • Unclear whether notice is provided in the event the company receives a government or legal request for a user's 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.