Common Sense's 2018 State of EdTech Privacy Report

Thomas Rodgers

Last week, Common Sense released the 2018 State of EdTech Privacy Report, which looks at privacy concerns in the edtech market. It's a lengthy report at 135+ pages, and while the report doesn’t name any specific companies or apps, Common Sense has stated that they plan to repeat the report in 2019 – and will identify all the applications in that report by name.

Key findings and takeaways:

  • Third-party Marketing: According to the report, 38% of edtech apps and services evaluated may use kids’ personal and non-personal information for third-party marketing

  • Security Standards: Ninety-two percent indicated that they use “reasonable security standards” to protect user data.

  • Tracking and Web-Based Services: Among web-based services, 37% indicated that information collected can be used by tracking technologies and third-party advertisers, 21% indicated that the collected data may be used to track visitors after they leave the site, and 30% ignore “do not track” requests or other mechanisms to opt out.

  • Visible User Information: Half of the apps and services reviewed by Common Sense allow users’ information to be publicly visible.

  • Selling User Information: Sixty-five percent of apps and services indicated that they do not sell, rent, lease, or trade users’ personally identifiable information.

  • Data Transfer and Change of Ownership: Almost three-fourths, or 74%, indicate they maintain the right to transfer any personal information collected if the company is acquired, merges with another company, or files for bankruptcy.

  • Contextual Advertising: Forty percent of the applications or services evaluated indicate they might display contextual advertising based on the page content, and 29% indicate they may display behavioral ads based on a kid’s usage of the service.

  • Moderating Interactions: Only 11% indicated they moderate interactions between users, and 14% indicated that they review user-generated content to remove inappropriate materials.