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Privacy Evaluation for BrainPOP

Last updated April 18, 2018

Overview

BrainPOP is a subscription service that provides access to animated movies, learning games, interactive quizzes, primary source activities, and concept mapping. An add-on subscription called “My BrainPOP” lets teachers customize assessments, incorporate gaming into instruction, and keep track of learning. The terms specify that students cannot communicate privately with each other, and within My BrainPOP, students can only interact with teachers who created the My BrainPOP class. The terms make a distinction between BrainPOP and MyBrainPOP, and state that schools can use BrainPOP without sharing any personal data from students. The terms state that BrainPOP encrypts data in transit, and has their servers located in physically secure locations. In the terms, BrainPOP specifies that they are acting as a School Official under FERPA. *Disclosure: Common Sense Education content is included as a third-party game in BrainPOP.

BrainPOP can be accessed through its website. The Privacy Policy and Terms of Use accessed for this evaluation can be found on BrainPOP’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 of BrainPop specify that students cannot communicate privately with each other, and within My BrainPOP, students can only interact with teachers who created the My BrainPOP class. The terms state in order for a teacher to create a My BrainPOP class, they must be invited by the appointed school administrator. The terms state the work within BrainPop is primarily directed by teachers, and the terms indicate that parent accounts are available. Lastly, the terms state access to accounts is controlled via access codes created by school staff and teachers.

Privacy

The terms of BrainPop make a distinction between BrainPOP and MyBrainPOP, and state that schools can use BrainPOP without sharing any personal data from students. While the terms of service do not list third party service providers, the terms specify that third parties are "bound contractually to practice adequate security measures and only use your information for the sole purpose of providing the services." The terms specify that the Service will not share any information for marketing or advertising purposes. The terms also state that some third parties are allowed to place cookies on the website and collect and use information directly.

Security

The terms of BrainPOP state they encrypt data in transit, and have their servers located in physically secure locations. The terms also state that access to data is restricted to specific staff, and that all people with access to student records pass criminal background checks. The terms also state they have a regular program of updating their software, paired with regular security audits.

Compliance

In the terms, BrainPOP specifies that they are acting as a School Official under FERPA. The terms specify that any user under the age of 13 needs to "get permission from your parent/legal guardian before using this website or app or sending any e-mail to us." Schools maintain control over student records, and while the terms do not specify details, it appears that schools or teachers are responsible for obtaining any needed parental consent. Teachers signing up for BrainPOP should make sure that they have the required authority in their district, and verifiable parental consent.

Data Collection
SCORE: 45%

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.
  • Behavioral data are collected.
  • 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 not collected online.
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: 80%

How does it secure data?

  • Unclear whether a user's identity is verified with additional personal information.
  • Account creation is not 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.
  • 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: 75%

What rights do I have to the data?

  • Unclear whether 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.
  • 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 not 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: 30%

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 not shared for social interactions.
  • Unclear whether this product displays personal information publicly.
  • Unclear whether this product allows users to control how their data are displayed.
  • Unclear whether 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: 55%

Are there advertisements or tracking?

  • Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
  • Unclear whether this product displays traditional or contextual advertisements.
  • 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.
  • 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: 90%

Can I provide parental consent?

  • Intended for children under 13.
  • 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.
  • Parental consent is limited with respect to third parties.
  • Parents can withdraw consent for the further collection of their child's information.
  • Children's personal information is deleted if collected without parental consent.
  • Parental consent notice and method for submission are provided.
School Purpose
SCORE: 65%

Is the product intended for school?

  • Intended for students.
  • Unclear whether 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.
  • Unclear whether the product creates 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.
  • FERPA parental consent exceptions are not indicated.
  • 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.