3 min read
In May, during the bankruptcy proceedings for ConnectEDU, the Federal Trade Commission stepped in to stop the sale of student data as part of the bankruptcy proceedings. ConnectEDU had gathered data - including test scores, GPAs, goals, contact information, college plans, learning differences, and other detailed personal information - on millions of students as part of its services.
However, the FTC's recommendations to protect student data never happened because ConnectEDU didn't have any employees to carry them out. In December, 2014, millions of detailed student records were sold, with notification to the affected people largely happening after the fact.
Cue the rhetorical questions: what could ever happen to learner data if other companies went out of business, or were bought?
Fortunately, we don't need to wonder. The privacy policies of EdTech companies state, very clearly, that learner data is an asset, and that it will be sold.
Three examples show this pretty clearly. These examples weren't difficult to find. They were the first three policies I looked at.
We may disclose your or your childâs personally identifiable information in connection with business transfers and purchases. As we continue to develop our business we may buy or sell business divisions or companies, we may merge or combine with another company, or our company itself and/or all or a significant part of its assets may be acquired by another company. We may provide any information we have to a potential counter-party in any such potential transaction. If such a transaction is completed, your or your childâs personally identifiable information may be one of the transferred and shared business assets.
If Edmodo, or some all of its assets were acquired or otherwise transferred, or in the unlikely event that Edmodo goes out of business or enters bankruptcy, user information may be transferred to or acquired by a third party.
Coursera may disclose and/or transfer your Personally Identifiable Information to an acquirer, assignee or other successor entity in connection with a sale, merger, or reorganization of all or substantially all of the equity, business or assets of Coursera to which your Personally Identifiable Information relates.
So, who is going to be the next ConnectEDU? Or more accurately, who is going to be the next ConnectEDU we read about, because EdTech companies are going out of business all the time. A more accurate question is probably, "How many other student data transfers happened in 2014 that we never read about?"