Senators Address EdTech Top Players On Student Data Collection Practices


IBL News | New York

Fifty-five prominent EdTech corporations, non-profit organizations, and data brokers received a letter from a team of Democratic senators inquiring about data collection practices on American students last week.

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) raised concerns that the learning tools used by these companies could pose a serious risk to students, parents, and educational institutions due to the potential for massive amounts of personal information being stolen, collected, or sold without their permission or knowledge.

The Senators reminded that “in 2018, FBI issued a Public Service Announcement warning that malicious use of data collected by EdTech could result in “social engineering, bullying, tracking, identity theft, or other means for targeting children.”

“It is imperative that we take steps to ensure students’ data is being secured and protected,” the Senators wrote. “Parents, students, and educational institutions deserve to have more control over their data.”

Durbin, Markey, and Blumenthal urged data brokers “to make a clear statement to students that you are committed to transparent and fair data collection practices.” They also addressed the brokers should “and allow parents and students to fully delete any data retained by your company.”

Among those organizations who received the letter were Google, Facebook, ACT, College Board, Kaplan, Instructure, Blackboard, Moodle, and Pearson. This is the full list of all the organizations inquired:

Companies that received today’s letter include: Google, Facebook, Smart Sparrow, DreamBox Learning, ScootPad, ST Math, Curriculum Associates i-Ready, Realizeit, Macmillan, McGraw-Hill, Snapwiz, Kaplan, Wiley Education, College Board, ACT, Pearson, Student Opportunity Center, Cognitive Toy Box, AdmitHub, Upswing, Formative, Flocabulary, BrightBytes, Hapara, Intellus Learning, Civitas Learning, Education Elements, No Red Ink, Straighter Line, Turnitin, Cengage, VitalSource, RedShelf, Barnes and Noble Education, Canvas/Instructure, Blackboard, Sakai, Moodle, D2L Brightspace, Edmodo, Quizlet, Schoology Accurate Leads, American Student Marketing, AmeriList, ASL Marketing, Caldwell List Company, Complete Mailing Lists, DataMasters, DMDatabases, Dunhill International List Co., Inc., Exact Data, InfoUSA, LakeB2B, NRCCUA,

The full text of the letter to educational technology companies is available here.