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Education Tech Companies Must Comply with COPPA Too

Two years after the pandemic made remote schooling a normal occurrence in American households, the FTC has signaled that "EdTech" suppliers -- such as those who sell remote learning technologies to schools -- are just as subject to online privacy rules regarding children as are the more common enforcement targets in social and entertainment media.  

The FTC plans to hold workshops this fall regarding children's privacy online. Meantime, schools and other customers would be well served to talk with their suppliers about privacy compliance and be sure that their contracts with those providers contain adequate assurances of compliance with COPPA and any other applicable privacy rules.

Why It Matters

Online schooling is clearly here to stay, and it affects millions of families. The FTC is sending a clear warning that the classroom has no special privileges regarding digital privacy for children under 13.  This means that suppliers and their customer schools should discuss privacy compliance and have processes in place to ensure the issues are fully addressed, in both the contract phase and the implementation phase, when a school or school system buys or upgrades its EdTech.  

At its latest open commission meeting, the five FTC commissioners unanimously voted to adopt a new policy statement on education technology and the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. The four-page statement declared that the privacy law's limitations on the collection, use and retention of kids' data, as well as its data security requirements, apply with equal force to companies that provide education technology services to schools and that the commission intended to "fully enforce" these rules against EdTech vendors.

Tags

privacy and security law, youth services law, insights, hill_mitzi