In the summer of 2011 while attending the Lausanne Laptop Institute (now the Lausanne Learning Institute) I was having a conversation with my friend Hiram Cuevas (@cuevash) about our use of Evernote. He told me how excited he was to hear about what we were doing, but had a question about how we were dealing with our younger learners, those under 13, and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
I told him that was a really good questions.
For a good portion of last year (2011-2012) Reshan Richards (@reshanrichards) and I looked at not just Evernote, but all of the applications and subscription services our school used. We dove into their Terms of Service and Privacy Policies to see just were we stood on the issue.
In the email they state:
“We’re thrilled with the number of educators and administrators around the world who have shown interest in using Evernote in their schools, so we have modified our contracts with respect to use by underage individuals who might not be old enough to enter into a contract on their own, including specific guidance for schools in the US where we want to ensure that the requirements of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act are satisfied.”
and in their Privacy statement they clear define their position on COPPA:
What Is Evernote’s Approach to Information Collected From Children?
“Evernote complies with the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”), which requires us to notify and obtain consent from a parent or guardian before we collect, use and disclose the personal information of children who are under 13 years of age. We do not knowingly collect personal information from children under 13 years of age without such consent, and if we learn that we have inadvertently done so, we will promptly delete it.”
Having companies, like Evernote, take such a plain language approach to this issue is refreshing for schools administrator who often have to read through pages legalese in order to get understand where they stand with COPPA.
If you are not familiar with COPPA I encourage you to look in what have post here as well as spending some time looking at the TOC and Privacy policies of those web-based service and subscriptions you use in your institutions.