Privacy Evaluation for Newsela
Newsela is an online news-as-literacy platform that features current, high-interest articles on everything from current events to myths and legends. All articles are Common Core-aligned and available in five Lexile levels, ranging from third to 12th grade and include quizzes and writing prompts. The terms do not specifically address whether social interactions are available or whether personal information can be made publicly visible. In addition, the terms state that Newsela may create advertisements shown to teachers and administrators that reflect the interests and capabilities of their students, and communicate with teachers and administrators about promotions and other news about products offered by Newsela. The terms of Newsela state that the transmission of data is encrypted and that reasonable security steps are taken to release information only to third parties who are capable of maintaining the confidentiality, security, and integrity of the information. Lastly, the terms state Newsela is intended to be used by children of all ages and to the extent required by FERPA, the service requires that each school notify a student's parents or legal guardians of their child's use of the service.
The terms do not specifically address whether social interactions are available or whether personal information can be made publicly visible. However, teachers are in control of student accounts, access, and assignments. In addition, the terms of Newsela state that student personal information is only used to provide the service and is not shared with third parties for other purposes.
According to the terms of Newsela, children under 13 years of age cannot create their own accounts which are created and controlled by their teacher. Personal information collected by the service includes first and last name, country, postal code, email address, username, password, and other information, including demographic information and details about the classroom, school, and students. The terms state that Newsela may create advertisements shown to teachers and administrators that reflect the interests and capabilities of their students, and communicate with teachers and administrators about promotions and other news about products offered by Newsela. However, the terms further specify Newsela never directs targeted advertising at children and Newsela adheres to the Digital Advertising Alliance Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising.
The terms of Newsela state that the transmission of data is encrypted and that reasonable security steps are taken to release information only to third parties who are capable of maintaining the confidentiality, security, and integrity of the information. The terms further state Newsela will rely on instructions that they reasonably believe are given by a teacher, parent or legal guardian in connection with a student. However, the terms do not disclose whether notice is provided in the event of a data breach.
The terms state Newsela is intended to be used by children of all ages and to the extent required by FERPA, the service requires that each school notify a student's parents or legal guardians of their child's use of the service. According to the terms, anyone under the age of 13 may not register for a learner account and can only use the services if a teacher, parent or administrator provides them with a student account. The terms further state that the service allows a teacher or parent to access, modify, or delete student information and may prohibit Newsela from disclosing a child's personal information to a third party. Lastly, the terms state that a student’s personal information will be retained only as long as is reasonably necessary to fulfill the purpose for which the information was collected.
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.
- Interactions, behaviors, or usage analytics data are collected.
- Sensitive data are collected.
- Data is automatically collected.
- Unclear whether opt-in consent is requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
- Personal information of users is collected by a third party.
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.
How does it secure data?
- A user's identity is verified with additional personal information.
- Account creation is required.
- Managed accounts are available.
- Unclear whether multi-factor account protection is available.
- Third-parties with access to information are not 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.
- All data in transit are encrypted.
- Unclear whether all data are stored in an encrypted format.
- Unclear whether this product provides notice in the event of a data breach.
What rights do I have to the data?
- Users can create or upload content.
- Users do not 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 not available to restrict who has access to data.
- Unclear whether this product provides users the ability to download their data.
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.
- The company describes their de-identification process of user information.
- Data are shared for research and/or product improvement.
- Contractual limits do not prohibit third parties from reidentifying or de-identified information.
How safe is this product?
- Users can interact with trusted users.
- Unclear whether users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
- Unclear whether profile information must be shared for social interactions.
- Personal information can be not displayed publicly.
- Unclear whether this product allows users to 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.
- Social interactions between users are moderated.
- Unclear whether social interactions of users are logged.
- Unclear whether users can report abuse or cyberbullying.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
- Personal information is not 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.
- User's information is used to track and target advertisements on other third-party websites or services.
- Data profiles are created and used for personalised advertisements.
- The company can send marketing messages.
- Unclear whether this company provides promotional sweepstakes, contests, or surveys.
- Users cannot opt out of contextual, or personalised advertising.
- Users can opt out or unsubscribe from marketing communications.
Can I provide parental consent?
- Intended for children under 13.
- Personal information from children under 13 years of age is collected.
- 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.
- Unclear whether parental consent is required before personal information is collected or disclosed.
- Parental consent is limited with respect to third parties.
- Parents can 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.
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 are not provided with an additional school contract.
- Company is designated as a school official.
- Parental consent obligations are transferred to the school or district.
Can I control the use of my data?
- Unclear whether 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.
- 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.
- Unclear whether consent is obtained if the practices in which data are collected change.
- A grievance or remedy mechanism is available for users to file a complaint.
- Users can request to know what personal information has been shared with third parties.
- Notice is provided in the event the company receives a government or legal request for a user's information.