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Privacy Evaluation for Science4Us

Last updated August 26, 2020

Overview

Science4us provides K-5 science curriculum for schools. The Science4us policy indicates that information is kept among the class or school and is not displayed publicly. The privacy policy notes that personal information is collected, but is aggregated before sharing with third parties. In its policies, Science4 us describes that security is layered, and involves getting a code to access the site. The policies state that the service is in compliance with both COPPA and FERPA.

Science4us can be accessed through its website, and is available for download at the iOS App Store. The Privacy Policy and Terms of Use used for this evaluation can be found on Science4us’s website. This evaluation only considers policies that have been made publicly available prior to an individual using the application or service.

Safety

The Science4us policy indicates that information is kept among the class or school and is not displayed publicly. For example, the policy explains that only school district employees and representatives that the district authorizes as school officials are permitted to access the system. However, they note that an authorized district-level employee, such as an Instructional Coordinator or Superintendent, will be able to see all data across the district.

Privacy

The privacy policy notes that personal information is collected, but is aggregated before sharing with third parties. Science4us states very plainly in its policy that they will not use the user's personal data collected through this site for any purpose other than providing them with access to this site and the associated services. They note in their policy that when they acquire assessment or other information, including personally identifiable student data, from a third party source they will treat that information with the same confidentiality and security safeguards as though it were provided directly by the district. They also explain that they do not use personally identifiable student data to market any products or services directly to students or their parents.

Security

In its policies, Science4 us describes that security is layered, and involves getting a code to access the site. They explain in some detail that they will notify users of a data breach, and explain what data was released.

Compliance

The policies state that the service is in compliance with both COPPA and FERPA, and that they will help schools with FERPA compliance in the use of the Science4us product. The users control what student data is entered on this site and retain ownership of the student data at all times, subject to a license to use by Science4us according to its policy. The policy for Science4us explains that upon written request by the district, it will destroy any student data for districts who no longer participate in their program, and they will provide written verification that the data has been destroyed as requested.

Data Collection
SCORE: 50%

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.
  • Combined information is treated as personally identifiable information (PII).
  • Personal information from children under 13 years of age is collected online.
Data Sharing
SCORE: 75%

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 not placed on third-party data use.
Data Security
SCORE: 75%

How does it secure data?

  • A user's identity is verified with additional personal information.
  • Account creation is 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.
  • Unclear whether this product encrypts all data in transit.
  • Unclear whether this product encrypts all data at rest.
  • Notice is provided in the event of a data breach.
Data Rights
SCORE: 70%

What rights do I have to the data?

  • Opt-in consent is not requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
  • Unclear whether 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: 40%

Is the data sold?

  • Data are 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.
  • Users are not 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.
  • Unclear whether third-party transfers are 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.
  • Contractual limits do not prohibit third parties from reidentifying deidentified information.
Data Safety
SCORE: 20%

How safe is this product?

  • Unclear whether this product supports interactions between trusted users and/or students.
  • Unclear whether users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
  • Unclear whether profile information is shared for social interactions.
  • Personal information is not displayed 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.
  • 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: 30%

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.
  • Unclear whether this product displays behavioral or targeted advertising.
  • Unclear whether this product allows data collection 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.
  • Unclear whether this 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: 50%

Can I provide parental consent?

  • Intended for children under 13.
  • Not 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.
  • 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: 65%

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.
  • Unclear whether this product provides notification of a contract or additional rights.
  • Vendor is designated as a school official.
  • Unclear whether this product transfers parental consent obligations 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.