COVID forced many school-age children into virtual learning situations, made possible by educational apps and websites provided by their schools. Now, it turns out those services collected personal data, tracked those students' online behaviors, and sold that data to third-party companies.

Should they have been allowed to do so? No. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a US law, provides broad privacy protections for student educational records and protect them from invasive online tracking.

Did the companies providing these services care? Apparently not. As a result, your children now have a digital footprint that could take years to erase, unless direct action is taken against the website now in possession of their data.

Find out more about online privacy protection for your family

If your children’s schools closed for any length of time over the last two years, then your children may have been tracked by these online learning tools, according to Human Rights Watch. Of the 164 products reviewed across 49 countries, Human Rights Watch found 146 (89%) appeared to engage in data practices that "risked or infringed on children's rights."

Neither parents nor students had the opportunity to provide their consent for these extensive invasions of privacy, which included collecting data on every student’s identity, location, online activity, and information about their family and friends. No other option was given for school attendance.

What Happens Now?

The Federal Trade Commission announced they will “crack down” on companies that collect data on children, in violation of the law. Great timing, since this has been going on for more than two years. The damage has already been done. All that’s left now is to try and clean up the mess.

How Online Privacy Protection Can Help

Our IronWall360 privacy team uses our proprietary software to locate the private information of our clients anywhere it may be published or made available online. Then we contact those websites and request its removal. If that request is ignored, we take them to court. One way or another, that content comes down.

This is not just about stopping advertisers from pitching products directly to your kids through their emails or social media accounts. In the families of judges and police officers, it’s also about criminals and those with a grudge not being able to find your home address and phone number, and use it to unleash harassment, vandalism and violence.

Children are entitled by law to this protection – but laws only work if someone enforces them. That’s what we do.

Find out more about online privacy protection for your family – or sign up now


Ron Zayas

CEO & Chief Strategist

Ron brings decades of expertise in marketing, advertising and e-commerce strategies to 360Civic. There is not one aspect of any client project that is not enhanced through his experience, insight, and... Read more

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