Overview

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.

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

Safety

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.

Privacy

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.

Security

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.

Compliance

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.

Overall Score

Every privacy rating includes an overall score. A higher score (up to 100%) means the product provides more transparent privacy policies with better practices to protect user data. The score is best used is as an indicator of how much additional work a person will need to do to make an informed decision about a product.

Basic ScoreFull Score
Comprehensive Assessment7059

Concerns

The privacy evaluation process summarizes the policies of an application or service into concern categories based on a subset of evaluation questions that can be used to quickly identify particular practices of a vendor’s policies. These concerns are composed of evaluation questions that can be used to calculate scores relative to that concern.

ConcernBasic ScoreFull Score
Data Collection: Protecting personal information8345
Data Sharing: Protecting data from third parties10090
Data Security: Protecting against unauthorized access3350
Data Rights: Controlling rights to data8875
Data Sold: Preventing sale of data7565
Data Safety: Promoting responsible use6735
Ads & Tracking: Prohibiting the exploitation of users' decision making process5755
Parental Consent: Protecting children’s personal information5065
School Purpose: Following student data privacy laws10081
Individual Control: Controlling data useNA75

Statutes

Each statute or regulation is associated with one or more evaluation questions. As such, we can calculate scores for each statute or regulation using only those questions associated with the statute or regulation. Each specific statute or regulation's score serves as an indirect proxy indicating the likelihood of the application or service satisfying all of its compliance obligations.

StatuteBasic ScoreFull Score
California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA)7965
Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)7168
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)7568
Student Online Personal Information Protection Act (SOPIPA)7566
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)7366

Privacy Policy Details

1: Transparency

1.1: Policy Version
  • Privacy policies do indicate a version or effective date.
  • Privacy policies do not indicate a change log or past policy version is available.
1.2: Policy Notice
  • Users are notified if there are any material changes to the policies.
  • Privacy policies indicate the method used to notify a user when policies are updated.
1.3: Policy Changes
  • Unclear whether users are notified prior to any material changes to the policies.
  • Changes to the policies are effective immediately and continued use of the product indicates consent.
1.4: Policy Coverage
  • Privacy policies indicate the products that are covered by the policies.
1.5: Privacy Contact
  • Users can contact the company about any privacy policy questions, complaints, or material changes to the policies.
1.6: Policy Principles
  • Privacy policies do indicate privacy principles, layered notices, or a table of contents.
1.7: Policy Language
  • Privacy policies are not available in multiple languages.
1.8: Intended Use
  • Intended for children under 13.
  • Intended for teens.
  • Intended for adults over 18.
  • Intended for parents or guardians.
  • Intended for students.
  • Intended for teachers.

2: Focused Collection

2.1: Data Collection
  • Personally identifiable information (PII) is collected.
  • The categories of collected personally identifiable information are indicated.
  • 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.
2.2: Data Source
  • Personal information or education records are collected from preK-12 students.
  • Personal information from children under 13 years of age is collected.
2.3: Data Excluded
  • Unclear whether specific types of personal information excluded from collection.
  • Unclear whether specific types of collected information are excluded from the privacy policy.
2.4: Data Limitation
  • Collection or use of data is limited to product requirements.

3: Data Sharing

3.1: Data Shared With Third Parties
  • Collected information is shared with third parties.
  • The categories of information shared with third parties are indicated.
3.2: Data Use by Third Parties
  • The purpose for sharing a user's personal information with third parties is indicated.
  • Data are shared for analytics.
  • Data are shared for research and/or product improvement.
  • Personal information is not shared for third-party marketing.
3.3: Data Not Shared With Third Parties
  • Unclear whether there are specific categories of information that are not shared with third parties.
3.4: Data Sold to Third Parties
  • Personal information is not sold or rented to third parties.
3.5: Third-Party Data Acquisition
  • Personal information about users is obtained from third parties.
3.6: Third-Party Links
  • Links to third-party external websites are not age-appropriate.
3.7: Third-Party Data Access
  • Third parties are authorized to access a user's information.
3.8: Third-Party Data Collection
  • Personal information of users is collected by a third party.
3.9: Third-Party Data Misuse
  • Unclear whether personal information can be deleted from a third party.
3.10: Third-Party Service Providers
  • Third-party services are used to support the product.
  • The roles of third-party service providers are indicated.
3.11: Third-Party Affiliates
  • The categories of third parties that receive data are indicated.
3.12: Third-Party Policies
  • Unclear whether links to privacy policies of third-party companies are available.
3.13: Third-Party Data Combination
  • Company may combine data with additional data from third-party sources.
  • Unclear whether data shared with third parties can be combined with other data.
3.14: Third-Party Authentication
  • Third-party login is supported.
  • Personal information from third-party login providers is collected.
  • Personal Information is shared with third-party login providers.
3.15: De-identified or Anonymized Data
  • User information that is shared is shared in an anonymous or de-identified format.
  • The company describes their de-identification process of user information.
3.16: Third-Party Contractual Obligations
  • Contractual limits are placed on third-party data use.
  • Contractual limits do not prohibit third parties from reidentifying or de-identified information.

4: Respect for Context

4.1: Data Use
  • Use of information is limited to the purpose for which it was collected.
  • The context or purpose for which data are collected is indicated.
4.2: Data Combination
  • Combined information is treated as personally identifiable information (PII).
4.3: Data Notice
  • Notice is provided if the context in which data are collected changes.
4.4: Data Changes
  • Unclear whether consent is obtained if the practices in which data are collected change.
4.5: Policy Enforcement
  • Accounts may be terminated if users engage in any prohibited activities.

5: Individual Control

5.1: User Content
  • Users can create or upload content.
5.2: User Consent
  • Unclear whether opt-in consent is requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
5.3: Remedy Process
  • A grievance or remedy mechanism is available for users to file a complaint.
5.4: Data Settings
  • Unclear whether users can control the use of their information through privacy settings.
5.5: Data Disclosure
  • Users can opt out from the disclosure or sale of their data to a third party.
  • 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.
5.6: Intellectual Property
  • Users do not retain ownership of their data.
  • A copyright license is claimed to data or content collected from a user.
  • Any copyright license to a user's data is not limited in scope or duration.

6: Access and Accuracy

6.1: Data Access
  • Processes to access or review user data are available.
  • Methods are not available to restrict who has access to data.
  • Processes to review student data are available for the school, parents, or students.
6.2: Data Integrity
  • The company does not attempt to maintain the accuracy of data they collect.
6.3: Data Correction
  • Processes to modify data are available for authorized users.
  • Processes for the school, parents, or students to modify inaccurate student information are available.
  • Unclear whether the time period for the company to modify inaccurate data is indicated.
6.4: Data Retention
  • A data-retention policy is available.
  • Exceptions to the data retention policy exist.
6.5: Data Deletion
  • Data are deleted when no longer necessary.
  • A user's data are deleted upon account cancellation or termination.
  • Processes to delete user data are available.
  • Processes for authorized users to delete data are available.
  • Unclear whether the time period for the company to delete data is indicated.
6.6: Data Portability
  • Unclear whether this product provides users the ability to download their data.
  • Unclear whether a user can assign an authorized account manager or legacy contact.

7: Data Transfer

7.1: Data Handling
  • User information can be transferred to a third party in the event of a merge, acquisition, or bankruptcy.
  • Notice is not provided to users if the company assigns its rights or delegates its duties to another company.
  • Unclear whether users are notified if their information is transferred to a third party.
7.2: Transfer Request
  • Unclear whether user information can be deleted prior to its transfer to a third party.
7.3: Onward Contractual Obligations
  • Third-party transfer is contractually required to use the same privacy practices.

8: Security

8.1: User Identity
  • A user's identity is verified with additional personal information.
8.2: User Account
  • Account creation is required.
  • Managed accounts are available.
  • Unclear whether multi-factor account protection is available.
8.3: Third-Party Security
  • Third-parties with access to information are not required to provide the same security protections as the company.
8.4: Data Confidentiality
  • Reasonable security practices are used to protect data.
  • Unclear whether this product limits employee or physical access to user information.
8.5: Data Transmission
  • All data in transit are encrypted.
8.6: Data Storage
  • Unclear whether all data are stored in an encrypted format.
  • Unclear what jurisdiction a user's personal information is subject to.
8.7: Data Breach
  • Unclear whether this product provides notice in the event of a data breach.
8.8: Data Oversight
  • Unclear whether this product performs data-privacy and/or security-compliance audits.

9: Responsible Use

9.1: Social Interactions
  • 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.
9.2: Data Visibility
  • Personal information can be not displayed publicly.
  • Unclear whether this product allows users to control how their data are displayed to others.
9.3: Monitor and Review
  • 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.
9.4: Report Content
  • Users cannot filter or block inappropriate content.
  • Unclear whether users can report abuse or cyberbullying.
9.5: Internet Safety
  • Unclear whether the company provides links to resources that support safe and appropriate social interactions.

10: Advertising

10.1: Vendor Communications
  • A user can receive service- or administrative-related communications from the company.
10.2: Traditional Advertising
  • Traditional or contextual advertisements are displayed.
10.3: Behavioral Advertising
  • Personalised advertising is displayed.
10.4: Ad Tracking
  • 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.
10.5: Filtered Advertising
  • Ads displayed to children are filtered for inappropriate content.
10.6: Marketing Communications
  • The company can send marketing messages.
  • Unclear whether this company provides promotional sweepstakes, contests, or surveys.
10.7: Unsubscribe
  • Users cannot opt out of contextual, or personalised advertising.
  • Users can opt out or unsubscribe from marketing communications.
10.8: Do Not Track
  • Company does not respond to "Do Not Track" or other opt-out mechanisms.
  • Unclear whether the company provides a method for users to opt-out from third-party tracking.

11: Compliance

11.1: Children Under 13
  • 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.
  • Account creation is restricted or prohibited for users under 13 years of age.
11.2: Students in K–12
  • 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.
11.3: Parental Consent
  • 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.
  • Parental consent obligations are transferred to the school or district.
11.4: Legal Requirements
  • The legal jurisdiction that applies to the laws governing the policies is indicated.
  • Unclear whether a user is required to waive the right to a jury trial, or settle any disputes by arbitration.
  • A user is required to waive the right to join a class action lawsuit.
  • A company will disclose personal information to law enforcement.
11.5: Certification
  • The company has signed a privacy pledge or received a privacy certification.
11.6: International Laws
  • Unclear whether a user's data are subject to International data transfer or jurisdiction laws.
  • Unclear whether the company has indicated it is a Data Controller or Data Processor.