The FTC said it’s illegal for companies to force parents and schools to surrender children’s privacy rights in order to access education tools.
Under Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), your children’s online privacy is protected even when it comes to education technology they’re required to use for school. The FTC has put education technology companies on notice saying violate children’s online privacy and there will be consequences.
Ed tech is used in many classrooms for everything from reading to math, textbooks and other learning applications. Ed tech companies took off and took root during the pandemic when school children were forced to learn at home.
On Thursday, the FTC unanimously passed a policy statement on education technology and the COPPA.
It basically says when it comes to children using ed tech services in school companies:
- Cannot require parents or schools to sign off on sweeping data collection of children as a condition of children accessing the service.
- Cannot use your kids’ data for targeted advertising or commercial use.
- They must and ensure the confidentiality, security and integrity of any data collected
Under the COPPA rule, the FTC can fine any company that violates the policy.
Josh Golin is the executive director of Fairplay. He says enforcement is the next step.
“If they do take just one or two enforcement actions will send ripples through the entire ed tech industry and make them understand that they have liability here and that the money they are making off of children’s data is not worth the FTC’s wrath,” he said.
The FTC chairwoman acknowledged concern that children can be profiled, targeted and their sensitive information exposed in a data breach even through educational technology they need to use in school.