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Privacy Evaluation for VoiceThread

Last updated January 17, 2020

Overview

The educational version of VoiceThread, called Ed.VoiceThread, provides a Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for the grade-school community, and not for higher education, personal, and business communities. Ed.VoiceThread allows users to publish and share media online and add comments. An individual does not need to be registered with the service in order to search or view public media on Ed.VoiceThread. However, an individual must be a registered member of Ed.VoiceThread to post or add comments. In addition, teachers are encouraged to check within their school or district for any data use agreements in place that extend the publicly available terms of Ed.VoiceThread. Teachers and students are also encouraged to review and understand any applicable visibility settings to ensure they understand who can see the content they create.

Ed.VoiceThread 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 used for this evaluation can be found on Ed.VoiceThread ’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

The terms of VoiceThread state they support different visibility settings. However, the terms are not specific on the mechanics of the settings, but schools and teachers are encouraged to review the settings to ensure that visibility of data to others is set in a way that addresses community norms. In addition, the policies do not contain details on how social interactions could be monitored for inappropriate content, or how a user could report unwanted harassment. While these features may exist within the application, the terms do not provide details on how to access them.

Privacy

The terms of VoiceThread state they collect a student's name, email address, photos, videos, audio recordings, online activity, persistent identifiers, and information that is linked or linkable to a student. VoiceThread shares non-personally-identifiable information (such as anonymous User usage data, referring pages, exit pages, URLs, platform types, number of clicks, etc.) with third parties to assist them in understanding the usage patterns for certain content, services, and functionality on the Website. Also, VoiceThread may provide personally identifiable information to employees, consultants, affiliates or other businesses or persons for the purpose of processing such information on its behalf. Lastly, the terms state VoiceThread will never sell personal information or use student data for behavioral advertising, tracking, or marketing purposes.

Security

The terms state educators and administrators have access to a broad suite of tools to control the methods by which students use the Service, enabling policies concerning student publishing and student sharing to made by educators and administrators at each school or district. VoiceThread's terms state they work hard to protect their community of users, and they maintain administrative, technical and physical safeguards designed to protect against unauthorized use, disclosure of or access to personal information.

The terms state VoiceThread will continually develop and implement features to keep users' personal information safe - for example, when they enter any information anywhere on the Service, VoiceThread encrypts the transmission of that information using secure socket layer technology (SSL) by default. In addition the terms specify they ensure passwords are stored and transferred securely using encryption and salted hashing and provide notification in the event of a data breach.

Compliance

The terms of VoiceThread state users under 18 years of age cannot register for the Service, but rather a grade-school educator or administrator must register students. The terms specify that student education records are created and protected under FERPA, and teachers or administrators can access, review, modify, or delete student data. Teachers should be aware they are responsible for obtaining verifiable parental consent for use of the Service by students.

Ed.voicethread.com is the part of the Service dedicated for use with grade-school students and educators. It has policies in place to ensure that students have as safe and nurturing a learning environment as possible. The terms state these policies are unique to Ed.VoiceThread, and taken as a whole, provide the transparency and accountability that are the underpinning of all safe and nurturing grade-school learning communities. Because the educational version of VoiceThread is often purchased at the district, agency, or state level, it is possible that an additional data use agreement is in place that would address these compliance issues. Teachers should ask for confirmation of any additional data use agreements.

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.
  • Geolocation data are collected.
  • 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.
  • Unclear whether 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: 70%

How does it secure data?

  • Unclear whether 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.
  • 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: 95%

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.
  • Processes to download user data are available.
Data Sold
SCORE: 80%

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.
  • 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: 55%

How safe is this product?

  • Users can interact with trusted users.
  • Users cannot interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
  • Profile information must be not 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.
  • Social interactions between users are not moderated.
  • Unclear whether social interactions of users are logged.
  • Unclear whether users can report abuse or cyberbullying.
Ads & Tracking
SCORE: 60%

Are there advertisements or tracking?

  • Personal information is not shared for third-party marketing.
  • Traditional or contextual advertisements are not 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.
  • Unclear whether this company can send marketing messages.
  • Unclear whether this company provides promotional sweepstakes, contests, or surveys.
  • Unclear whether this product provides users the ability to opt-out of contextual, or personalised advertising.
  • Unclear whether 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 not 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: 75%

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.
  • Unclear whether the 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.