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Updated January 17, 2018

Scribd

  • Privacy polices do indicate a version or effective date.
  • Unclear whether data are sold or rented to third parties.
  • Data are shared for advertising or marketing.
  • Behavioral or contextual advertising is displayed.
  • Data are collected by third-party advertising or tracking services.
  • Data are used to track and target advertisements on other third-party websites or services.
  • Unclear whether this product allows third parties to use data to create ad profiles, data enhancement, and/or targeted advertisements.
The criteria for "Use with Caution" are narrowly focused around data uses related to creating profiles that aren't related to any educational purpose, and using data to target ads. We include both first party (ie, the vendor that builds the service) and third party (any company given access by the vendor) data use. It's worth highlighting that using data to profile students violates multiple state laws, and in some cases also violates federal law.

A service can be designated "Use with Caution" for either a lack of transparency around data use -- which creates the potential for profiling and behavioral targeting -- or for clearly stating that they use data to target advertisements and/or create profiles. As with any application being considered for use within schools, school and/or district staff should review the privacy policies and terms of service to ensure that they meet the legal and practical requirements of their state laws and school policies.

As with the "Not Recommended" criteria, a "Use with Caution" designation is NOT a sign that a vendor is necessarily doing anything unethical or illegal. It is a sign that, based on publicly available policies,  we do not have adequate guarantees that data will not be used by first or third parties to create non-educational profiles or to target behavioral ads.
Use with Caution
Full evaluation
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Overall Scoreinfo-bubble

This overall score represents how the service addressed all our evaluation questions. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive policies.

Overview

Scribd hosts a digital documents library that allows users to publish, discover, and discuss magazines, books, and other documents in various languages. The terms of Scribd state they do not allow users to engage in social interactions with other individuals. However, users should be aware that any personally identifiable information that they voluntarily choose to display in attributions or in their profile information is publicly available and may be collected and used by others without restriction. Scribd's terms state they collect personally identifiable information and automatically collected usage information from users and may use the information to serve advertisements. In addition, Scribd's terms state they use commercially reasonable physical, managerial, and technical safeguards to preserve the integrity and security of a user's personal information. Lastly, Scribd's terms state the Service is not intended to be used by individuals under the age of 18 and a user must be at least 13 years old to use the service.

Scribd 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 Scribd’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.

Read the Common Sense standard privacy report (SPR)arrow
The standard privacy report (SPR) displays the most important privacy practices from a product’s polices in a single easy-to-read outline. The report displays an alert when a particular privacy practice is risky, unclear, or not evaluated. This alert indicates more time should be focused on these particular details prior to use.
SafetyPromoting responsible use
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Evaluating safety takes into consideration best practices that protect a user's physical and emotional health. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to safety.
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The terms of Scribd state they do not allow users to engage in social interactions with other individuals. However, users should be aware that any personally identifiable information that they voluntarily choose to display in attributions or in their profile information is publicly available and may be collected and used by others without restriction.

PrivacyProtecting collected information
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Evaluating privacy takes into consideration best practices that protect the disclosure of a user's personal information. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to privacy.
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The terms of Scribd state they collect personally identifiable information and automatically collected usage information from users and may use the information to serve advertisements. Scribd's terms state they may disclose aggregated or other types of non-personally identifiable information to third parties for various purposes, including marketing or promotional uses. In addition, Scribd's terms state they do not share your personally identifiable information with other organizations for their marketing or promotional uses without your prior express consent. Scribd terms specify that Scribd may provide a hashed version of a user's email address to its advertising partners, RapLeaf, Bizo, and LiveRamp, to support targeted advertising.

Scribd's terms state their advertising partners may use automatically collected information to enable the serving of customized advertisements and content to users both on Scribd and on other third-party sites and services on the Internet. Lastly, Scribd's terms state they require third parties to process a user's information in compliance with their own privacy policy, and require third parties to use reasonable confidentiality measures.

SecurityProtecting against unauthorized access
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Evaluating security takes into consideration best practices that protect the integrity and confidentiality of a user's data. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to security.
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The terms of Scribd state they use commercially reasonable physical, managerial, and technical safeguards to preserve the integrity and security of a user's personal information. Once Scribd receives a user's transmission of information, the terms state that Scribd makes commercially reasonable efforts to ensure the security of their systems. However, Scribd's terms do not discuss whether data is encrypted while in transit or in storage. Scribd's terms also specify that if a breach occurs, the company may attempt to contact a person electronically, but the terms do not specify any time frame within which the contact could occur.

ComplianceFollowing statutory laws and regulations
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Evaluating compliance takes into consideration best practices of companies that collect personal information from children or students and the legal obligations for the privacy and security of that information. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to compliance.
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Scribd's terms state the Service is not intended to be used by individuals "under the age of majority in their jurisdiction," and a user must be at least 13 years old to use the service. If a user is under 13 years of age, then they should not use or access Scribd at any time, or in any manner. Scribd's terms state they believe protecting the privacy of young children is especially important, and do not knowingly collect or maintain personally identifiable information from persons under 13 years of age. In addition, if Scribd's terms state that if they learn that personally identifiable information of children under 13 years of age has been collected, they will take the appropriate steps to delete that information immediately.

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 streamline making an informed decision about the potential privacy implications of educational technology used to support teaching and learning.

Our core evaluation criteria are freely available and will remain freely available. People are encouraged to read the questions we use and the information security primer we released. 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.