FTC Announces COPPA Settlement Against Ed Tech Provider Including Strict Data Minimization and Data Retention Requirements

On May 22 the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced a $6 million settlement with Edmodo, an ed tech provider, for violations of the COPPA Rule and Section 5 of the FTC Act.  The FTC described this settlement as the first FTC order that will prohibit an ed tech provider from requiring students to provide more personal data than necessary to participate in online activities.  The settlement is consistent with the FTC’s policy statement on ed tech issued last May (see our summary of the policy statement here).

The complaint alleges that Edmodo violated COPPA by failing to provide notice and obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting personal information from children under the age of 13.  Specifically, the complaint alleges that Edmodo’s reliance on schools and teachers to provide verifiable parental consent as agents of parents was not permissible because (1) Edmodo did not provide the required direct notice of its practices as to the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information from children and (2) Edmodo’s used student’s personal information for contextual advertising which exceeds the limited educational context for which school and teachers may provide consent.  The complaint also alleges that Edmodo failed to inform teachers and sole of its reliance on them as intermediaries to provide notice and obtain authorization from parents and failed to make reasonable efforts to ensure parents received notice and provided authorization.

In addition to violating COPPA’s notice and consent provisions, the complaint alleges Edmodo collected more personal information from children than

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