FERPA, COPPA, and CSPC
- Default-to-private policy for all VoiceThreads.
- Default transparency settings that allow only educators within a school district to see the full names of student commenters.
- Requiring only directory information in order to provision user accounts.
- Enabling institutions, at no charge, to inspect or audit our services to assure themselves that all information is used only for the purposes of enabling faculty to use the platform successfully.
The FTC has stated that COPPA’s requirements do not apply to sites that contract with schools to offer online programs for the benefit of the schools and their students, and collect personal information only for these purposes. (FTC COPPA FAQ #55.) Thus, these services are not required to get prior verifiable parental consent before collecting or maintaining personal information. VoiceThread collects user information solely for the purpose of meeting the needs of our users – enabling secure sharing, accountability, and proper performance – and never sells user identifiable data to any other entity. The FTC has said that in such circumstances, services like VoiceThread may presume that the school has authorized the collection of personal information based upon the school having obtained the parents’ consent. Schools often obtain parental consent via Acceptable Use Policies that they provide to students and parents. In addition, COPPA also allows, but does not require, schools to act as agents on behalf of parents and to provide consent for the online collection of a student’s personal information within the school context. (FTC COPPA FAQ #54.)