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Privacy Evaluation for Desmos

Last updated August 16, 2021

Overview

Desmos provides a free graphing calculator for students and an Activity Builder for teachers to help students grasp math concepts from geometry, algebra, and calculus. Desmos includes a free version that can be used without creating an account - this evaluation focuses on the versions of the tool that require account creation. Individuals can create accounts on their own, or join a class that has a specific access code (a pin number). Desmos' terms state they employ physical, administrative, and technological safeguards designed to preserve the integrity and security of all information collected through the service. Lastly, Desmos' terms state they do not knowingly collect or maintain Personal Data from users under 13 years of age, unless either the associated teacher, school, or Desmos itself has received verifiable parental consent.

Desmos 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 accessed for this evaluation can be found on Desmos’ website, iOS App Store, and the Google Play Store. Additionally, other policies used for this evaluation include: Student Data Privacy Statement. This evaluation only considers policies that have been made publicly available prior to an individual using the application or service.

Safety

The terms of Desmos state they allow both students and teachers to create individual accounts, although no account is needed to use the graphing calculator. In addition, students can access teacher classroom activities with a PIN provided by the teacher. The terms state that for schools utilizing the school collaboration functionality, a school user may be able to share information with other authorized school users and/or invite other authorized school users to access, review, and, edit school material. Interactions on the site are generally centered around math-related activities.

Privacy

The terms of Desmos state they support social login via Google and collect only the minimal amount of personal information required to use the Service. The service may collect or have access to Student Data that is provided by the school or by the student. The type of information the service may collect will depend on how the school uses the service. Information collected may include a student’s first and last name, email address, class assignment data, and other classroom content. Desmos' terms state they may use data which has been de-identified and/or aggregated for product development, research analytics, or marketing the service. In addition, Desmos may provide personalized content and information to teachers, school administration officials, and other users associated with schools. Desmos' terms state they will never use student data to engage in targeted advertising or direct advertising to student users. The terms also state that Desmos will not permit third-party advertising networks or other third parties to collect information about users' browsing behavior from their service for advertising purposes.

Security

Desmos' terms state they employ physical, administrative, and technological safeguards designed to preserve the integrity and security of all information collected through the service. Access to user information is limited through user/password credentials and, in some cases, two-factor authentication to only those employees who require it to perform their job functions. Desmos' terms state they employ other security safeguards such as SSL (secure socket layer technology) encryption to transfer personal information, data encryption, firewalls, physical access controls to buildings and files, and employee training. Lastly, Desmos has implemented administrative, physical, and technical safeguards designed to secure personal Information, including student data, from unauthorized access, disclosure, and use. In the event Desmos has a reasonable, good faith belief that an unauthorized party has gained access or disclosed student data, they will promptly notify the School.

Compliance

Desmos' terms state they do not knowingly collect or maintain Personal Data from users under 13 years of age, unless either the associated teacher, school, or Desmos itself has received verifiable parental consent. In addition, the terms state that educators using the website with students are responsible for obtaining any required parental consent needed to collect personal information. Desmos' terms state they may collect student data, and that some of the student data may include “educational records” as defined under FERPA. Students, teachers, or the school may access, update, or correct student data by logging into their accounts. Lastly, Desmos' terms state they require teachers and schools to uphold their obligations under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment ("PPRA"), and the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (“COPPA”), and all applicable State laws relating to student data privacy.

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.
  • Unclear whether this product collects interactions, behaviors, or usage analytics data.
  • Unclear whether this product collects sensitive data.
  • Data is automatically collected.
  • Opt-in consent is requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
  • Personal information of users is collected by a third party.
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.
  • 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: 85%

How does it secure data?

  • A user's identity is verified with additional personal information.
  • Account creation is not required.
  • Managed accounts are available.
  • 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.
  • Employee or physical access to user information is limited.
  • All data in transit are encrypted.
  • All data are stored in an encrypted format.
  • Notice is provided in the event of a data breach.
Data Rights
SCORE: 85%

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.
  • Data are deleted when no longer necessary.
  • 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: 70%

Is the data sold?

  • Personal information is not sold or rented to third parties.
  • Unclear whether 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.
  • Users are notified if their information is transferred to a third party.
  • 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.
  • 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: 50%

How safe is this product?

  • Users can interact with 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 not 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.
  • Social interactions of users are logged.
  • Unclear whether users can report abuse or cyberbullying.
Ads & Tracking
SCORE: 80%

Are there advertisements or tracking?

  • Personal information is not shared for third-party marketing.
  • Traditional or contextual advertisements are displayed.
  • Personalised advertising is not displayed.
  • Data are not collected by third-parties for their own purposes.
  • Users's information is not used to track and target advertisements on other third-party websites or services.
  • Data profiles are not created and used for personalised advertisements.
  • The company can send marketing messages.
  • Unclear whether this company provides 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: 75%

Can I provide parental consent?

  • Intended for children under 13.
  • Personal information from children under 13 years of age is collected.
  • Unclear whether intended for parents or guardians.
  • Company does have actual knowledge that personal information from users under 13 years of age is collected.
  • The company does provide a section, heading, or separate policy for children in their policies.
  • Parental consent is required before personal information is collected or disclosed.
  • Unclear whether this product limits parental consent 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: 88%

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.
  • Processes to enter education records into the product are described.
  • Additional rights or protections may be provided with an additional school contract.
  • Company is designated as a school official.
  • Parental consent obligations are transferred to the school or district.
Individual Control
SCORE: 65%

Can I control the use of my data?

  • Users can control the use of their information through privacy settings.
  • Use of information is limited to the purpose for which it was collected.
  • The context or purpose for which data are collected is indicated.
  • Unclear whether company may combine data with additional data from third-party sources.
  • Combined information is treated as personally identifiable information (PII).
  • Notice is provided if the context in which data are collected changes.
  • 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.
  • Unclear whether 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.