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Privacy Evaluation for Khan Academy

Last updated August 6, 2020

Overview

Khan Academy provides educational videos on a broad range of subjects for every course and level. Khan Academy's terms say they strive to provide a safe online environment for its users, and allow users to ask public questions of other users. Khan Academy does not require a user to register for the service or provide any personal information to access most of the features on the service. In addition, Khan Academy uses certain physical, managerial, and technical safeguards designed to preserve the integrity and security of a user’s personal information. Lastly, Khan Academy restricts child accounts to automatically block features that would allow a child to post or disclose personal information.

Khan Academy 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 Khan Academy’s website, iOS App Store, and the Google Play Store. This evaluation only considers policies that have been made publicly available prior to an individual using the application or service.

Safety

Khan Academy's terms say they strive to provide a safe online environment for its users, and allow users to ask public questions of other users. A parent or guardian can register for the service and create a restricted child account that can be monitored, revoked, or deleted by the parent. In addition, the terms state that a child user under 13 years of age cannot post to public discussion forums and cannot access certain features that could result in visibility or disclosure of personal information.

The terms state a child user can choose to provide opt-in consent to share their user profile with other users, but the profile is not shared publicly, because only the parent or authorized coach can see a child's profile. However, parents and teachers should be aware a child user may inadvertently post personal information publicly in open text fields by answering questions or completing exercises.

Privacy

Khan Academy's terms state they do not require a user to register for the service or provide any personal information to access most features on the service. If a user registers for the service, Khan Academy's terms state they may collect personally identifiable information, and usage data from a child, student, teacher, or parent. Khan Academy's terms state they also have external partnerships and third-party apps, and people using Khan Academy via a partnership or third-party app should review any additional privacy terms and conditions.

Khan Academy may also share information with their employees and trusted vendors, third party service providers and other individuals to provide services or products for them or on their behalf. The terms specify third-party marketing is generally limited to some contests. Advertising and tracking is also limited to consent and Khan Academy does not use data collected from children or students for advertising purposes. Khan Academy's terms state they do not share any of their users’ Personal Information with third-party sponsors without explicit consent, and these sponsors do not have the ability to track or collect information about their site visitors or users.

Security

Khan Academy's terms state they use certain physical, managerial, and technical safeguards designed to preserve the integrity and security of a user’s personal information. The terms state Khan Academy encrypts the transmission of personal information using SSL technologies and Khan Academy takes reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information a vendor stores and uses is accurate, complete, and up-to-date. In addition, the terms state they take reasonable steps to verify the identity of a user before granting account access or making corrections to their information, but does not guarantee the accuracy of any user’s information submitted to the vendor in order to verify the identity of any user, coach, parent, guardian or child. Lastly, Khan Academy's terms state they will notify a user in the event of a data breach electronically or with notice on its website.

Compliance

Khan Academy restricts child accounts to automatically block features that would allow a child to post or disclose personal information. Khan Academy does not knowingly permit a child under 13 years of age to register for the service without parental consent and if they learn they have collected information from a child under 13 without parental consent, they will take steps to delete the information immediately. A parent can create a “parent account” that can review, update, or delete information collected from a child user. In addition, an educational institution or “coach” that has a relationship with the vendor can register a child under 13, if they have parental consent to do so. Lastly, a parent or guardian with notice that information has been collected from a child under 13 without their consent, may contact the vendor to delete the information. If Khan Academy is being used within a school or district setting, teachers should review the work done and stored within the service to ensure that the school or district is meeting all of their requirements under FERPA.

Data Collection
SCORE: 55%

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.
  • Geolocation data are collected.
  • 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.
  • Combined information is treated as personally identifiable information (PII).
  • Personal information from children under 13 years of age is collected online.
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.
  • 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.
  • Social or federated login is supported.
  • 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 not 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.
  • Unclear whether this product encrypts all data at rest.
  • Notice is provided in the event of a data breach.
Data Rights
SCORE: 85%

What rights do I have to the data?

  • 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: 70%

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.
  • 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 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: 60%

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.
  • 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.
  • 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: 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: 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.
  • COPPA parental consent exceptions are indicated.
  • Parental consent is required.
  • 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: 70%

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.
  • Product does create education records.
  • Notification of a contract or additional rights is provided.
  • Unclear whether this product designates the vendor as a school official.
  • Parental consent obligations are transferred to the school or district.
  • FERPA parental consent exceptions are 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.