Ed.VoiceThread Privacy Policy

VoiceThread’s mission is to enable people to have better conversations in an online world dominated by short, ambiguous, and flat text communication. Humans connect more richly and successfully when multiple senses are engaged in the conversation, and we want to make that possible for everyone. The first step in accomplishing the mission was to build an easy to use toolset to create and participate in these conversations. But the real key to the long term success of the mission is to provide a place for people to practice their communication skills that is as safe, inclusive, and accessible as we can make it. The foundation of that environment is built up and out of our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. The Privacy Policy establishes:

  • What information VoiceThread collects from you (and why we collect it).
  • How we use and share that information.
  • The control you have, including how to update, delete, or access your information.

There are three different Privacy Policies and Terms of Service in use by VoiceThread. We’d have preferred to have only one, but it turns out our community of users is so diverse, and their needs so diverse, that there just isn’t a one-size-fits-all option.

  • Ed.VoiceThread Terms of Service and Privacy Policy (for the grade-school community)
  • VoiceThread Terms of Service and Privacy Policy (for higher education, personal, and business communities)
  • Custom Terms of Service and Privacy Policy are available for large enterprises that require customized terms

Overview

This privacy policy applies to all registered users of Ed.VoiceThread. To determine if you are such a user, sign in and go to your account page. If you see “Student” or “Pro Educator”, then this privacy policy applies to you. If the account type is anything else, please see the VoiceThread Privacy Policy.

Personal information is any information you provide to us that personally identifies you, like your name, email address, or other information that could reasonably be linked to such identifying information by us. We will only collect, use, and share your personal information in accordance with this Privacy Policy. This policy applies whether you use VoiceThread through https://www.ed.voicethread.com (the “VoiceThread Website”), our mobile applications (the “VoiceThread Apps”), or any of our other products or services that link to this Privacy Policy (collectively, the “Service”). In addition, this Privacy Policy also covers VoiceThread's treatment of any personal information about our users that our partners or other services might share with us.

This policy does not apply to websites or services or practices of companies that VoiceThread doesn’t own or control, such as third party services you might access through links or other features (e.g., social media buttons or links shared by users) on the Service. These other services have their own privacy policies, and we encourage you to review them before providing them with personal information.

VoiceThread is also a signatory to the Studdent Privacy Pledge, a set of principles intended to safeguard student privacy, including responsible stewardship, protection, and transparent handling of student personal information. Read more about the Student Privacy Pledge here.

VoiceThread also adheres to the the Privacy Shield framework which establishes principles concerning the transfer of personal data from the European Union to the United States. Read more about Privacy Shield here.

What is VoiceThread?

VoiceThread is a communication platform that helps people collaborate and communicate better online. For over a decade it’s been used by kindergarteners, medical and law schools students, and professionals in a broad array of fields, and they continue to use it in an amazingly diverse number of ways. However, in every case, whether young or old, expert or novice, they’re developing and honing communications and critical thinking skills that are critical to a happy and fulfilled life. There has been a great deal of third party research on VoiceThread’s effectiveness for teaching and learning and we encourage you to take a look to see if there’s applicable research about your area of interest.

People use the platform via Mobile Apps or the VoiceThread Website to upload media (images, videos, presentations, and documents) and then make comments on the media using voice, video, and text comments. No matter which method they use, their work will sync across all the other apps that use the platform. There’s no need to worry about losing your work because it’s all stored in VoiceThread’s cloud infrastructure, which has highly redundant backup infrastructure.

What is Ed.VoiceThread?

Ed.voicethread.com is the part of the Service dedicated for use with grade-school students and educators. It has policies in place to ensure that students have as safe and nurturing a learning environment as possible. These policies are unique to Ed.VoiceThread (i.e. they do not apply to the remainder of the VoiceThread Service), and taken as a whole, provide the transparency and accountability that are the underpinning of all safe and nurturing grade-school learning communities.

  • Children and students cannot register for accounts. All student accounts are created by School Personnel (educators and administrators).
  • A student’s educators and school administrators have absolute control and visibility of their work.
  • Special controls allow School Personnel to implement age-appropriate and individually appropriate sharing and publishing policies.
  • ALL users in the Ed.VoiceThread community are either School Personnel, or guests invited by them (parents, outside experts, etc.)
  • All VoiceThreads default to private, inaccessible to anyone but the creator (or school administrators).
  • Ed.VoiceThread.com is designed to promote sharing that makes sense for the community. A simple, well designed set of controls enables educators to share student work with other students and educators around the world, giving students a safe place to begin practicing the collaboration skills critical to working in the 21st century.

How does VoiceThread protect children’s personal information?

For over a decade we’ve served the educational community, and as parents we share the same values as any educator or school administrator: student safety comes first.

This is why we’ve signed the Student Privacy Pledge, have our security infrastructure periodically examined by outside security experts, have our Privacy Policy reviewed by outside experts like iKeepSafe.org, and specifically address The Family Educational Rights and Privacy act (“FERPA”) and The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) concerns in this Privacy Policy, our Terms of Service, and in the everyday design and function of our service.

What information does VoiceThread collect from children?

By themselves, children cannot create Student Accounts on the Ed.VoiceThread; only School Personnel may do so. This means that we do not ask children for any personal information in order to use the Service and rely solely on School Personnel as the source for identity data about the students.

We do automatically collect some information from any use of our Service as set forth in the "Information collected automatically" section.

The information that we collect is used to provide the Service, for security and safety purposes, or as required by law or to enforce our Terms of Service. If we discover that we have at any point collected information from a child in a manner inconsistent with COPPA, we will take appropriate steps to either delete that information or immediately seek appropriate consent for that collection. We do not disclose any personal information about children to third parties, except to service providers necessary to provide the Service, as required by law, or to protect the security of the Service or other users. Information collected about students (including personal information and information collected automatically) is never used or disclosed for third-party advertising, including any kind of first- or third-party behaviorally targeted advertising, and children’s personal information is never sold or rented to anyone.

What children’s information is visible to others?

No student’s profile or student work is made available or visible to the public, or to any other students, by Ed.VoiceThread. However, educators may share their own work or allow their students to share their work with other students, educators or school administrators in their school, or anyone in the world that they choose, to help them collaborate and connect with others.

Educators and administrators have access to a broad suite of tools to control the methods by which students use the Service, enabling policies concerning student publishing and student sharing to made by educators and administrators at each school or district. If you ever have any questions about how to configure your administrative controls to achieve the desired effect, please see our documentation on the subject or contact us for help.

Ed.VoiceThread makes use of a two-level identity policy for students that enables a student’s identity name and image to be anonymized as locally appropriate while ensuring that all educators and administrators within the same school or district license can see the true name of the student as well. This two-level identity system enables more schools to opt to allow their students to collaborate and publish with the appropriate level of public anonymity, while also ensuring that students are working within a transparent and accountable environment.

How long does Ed.VoiceThread keep children’s information?

The length of time that student data is kept on the Service is up to educators and administrators of the license under which the students are working. Administrators of the license have absolute control over the student accounts. We only keep a student’s personal information for as long as administrators of the license allow it. At any time, an administrator can delete a student’s account and all of their work. When a classroom, school, or district license expires, we give a 60-day grace period within which the administrators can decide how to manage student accounts and their work. There are three options, listed in order of our preference, but all options are available to administrators:

  1. Hand the student’s account off to parents. A simple email change and password reset prior to removing the student’s account from the license enables parents to take control of the student’s work. Parents generally love this option because it allows them to keep copies of often priceless student work.
  2. Change the passwords for all the student accounts, but keep the accounts and the work they’ve accomplished archived for record keeping and sharing purposes.
  3. Delete the student's account and all their personal work on the Service, including comments, presentations, etc.

What information does VoiceThread collect?

We collect two types of information about all users of the VoiceThread Service:

  1. Information you provide
  2. Information collected automatically

The types and amounts of information collected will vary depending on whether the user is an educator, school administrator, parent, or student and how they use Ed.VoiceThread (e.g., if educators join their school, we may need to collect school address information and depending on their role, and we may collect additional information like what subject or grade they teach).

Information you provide to us

There are currently two categories of users on our Service: educators/administrators and students. We collect and store the following types of information from each type of user:

  • Account sign-up and profile information: To create a VoiceThread account as an educator or school administrator, you may be asked to provide some basic information such as your first and last name, email address, telephone number, password, and a profile photo. A student may not create his or her own VoiceThread account.
  • School Information: If you are an educator or school administrator, as part of the profile information you provide, you will be required to associate your account with an existing school or district, providing us with the school name, address, and similar information. A student cannot provide this information, as it will be provided by the educator or school administrator.
  • Class Information: Educators and/or administrators will need to enter the class year, the names of the students in your class, and what identity name you would like those students to use. See more info about our two-level identity policy that enables accountability within a school community with good public policy for student names outside of the school community. A student cannot provide this information, as it will be provided by the educator or school administrator.
  • Inviting Others: As an educator or school administrator, you can invite your students’ parents or outside subject matter experts to view or even comment on your students’ work. We will collect and store the names, email addresses, and phone numbers of those people, and those items will be treated as personal information in accordance with this Privacy Policy. If any of these people would like their information removed from our system, they may contact us at https://voicethread.com/contact.
  • Messaging: Educators, administrators, and guests whom they invite can send each other and students private comments; however, student accounts can only respond to or engage in private conversations with these people. Students cannot send private messages to other students. This is an important part of our policy framework for students that ensures that all student comments are transparent to educators and administrators.
  • Contact Information: At times you may choose to provide us with your personal information through the Service in some other manner (e.g., when you send us an email asking a question, submit a support request, participate in a video testimonial about our Service, or choose to participate in any research efforts with VoiceThread to improve the Service).

Our use of the information above is described below in the "How does VoiceThread use the information it collects” section. If you are using the VoiceThread App, we may ask you for certain permissions - please click here for more detail about those permissions.

Information collected automatically

Like most web-based services, we (or our service providers) may automatically collect information on our server logs from your browser or your device when you use the Service. For example, this could include the frequency and duration of your visits to Ed.VoiceThread. If you use Ed.VoiceThread on different devices, we may link the information we collect from those different devices to help us provide a consistent Service across your different devices. If we do combine any automatically collected information with personal information, we will treat the combined information as personal information, and it will be protected as per this Privacy Policy.

The technologies and information we automatically collect include:

  • Cookies and other similar technologies: We (or our service providers) may use various technologies to collect and store information when you visit our Service. We use both session and persistent cookies. A session cookie disappears after you close your browser; a persistent cookie remains after you close your browser (although it can be removed) and may be used by your browser to identify you on subsequent visits to the Service. We may also use, collect and store information locally on your device using mechanisms such as browser web storage (including HTML5). Like many services, VoiceThread uses these technologies to tailor the Service for you, and to help the Service work better for you, for example, by remembering your language or accessibility preferences.
  • Please read our Cookie Policy for more details, including how to remove or modify your cookie settings.
  • Device information: We collect device-specific information such as your operating system, hardware version, device settings, file and software names and types. This helps us monitor the Service’s performance and make improvements based on the data.
  • Log information: Like most online services, when you use our Service, we automatically collect and store certain information in our server logs. Examples include things like:
    • Details of how you used our service, such as your activity on the Service, and the frequency and duration of your visits to the Ed.VoiceThread Website or VoiceThread App.
    • Telephony log information like your phone number and SMS information.
    • IP Address.
    • Device event information, including but not limited to: system activity, hardware settings, crashes, browser type, browser language, the date and time of a request and referral URL. This information helps us make decisions about what we should work on next, for example, by showing which features are working well and those that need more attention.
  • Location information: When using our Service we may collect and process information about your geographic location, through GPS, WiFi and similar technologies. Such data may be general (i.e., city or region-level) location data and precise location data. If we collect precise geolocation information (“precise” meaning detailed enough to identify street name and name of city or town) from you, we will ask for your explicit opt-in permission. We will not store or track your device location on an ongoing basis or without your permission. We do not share precise geolocation data with third parties, other than our service providers as necessary to provide the Service. If you no longer wish to allow us to track your location information, you may opt-out at any time.

Will VoiceThread share the information it collects?

First and foremost, you should know that VoiceThread does not sell or rent any of our users’ personal information to any third party for any purpose, including for advertising or marketing purposes. Third-party advertising is not permitted on Ed.VoiceThread. Furthermore, we do not share personal information with any third parties except in the limited circumstances described in this Privacy Policy.

  • Other users you share and communicate with on VoiceThread: No educator, school administrator, parent, or student profiles are made available to the general public through the Service. However, users may choose to share information or content through the Service via publishing or sharing work they have created (such as VoiceThread conversations, participating in public Threadboxes, or submitting content to our Digital Library or other public venues for content). Please keep in mind that information (including your personal information or children's personal information) or content that you voluntarily disclose to others (including to other VoiceThread users you interact with through the Service) can, like all digital information that appears on a screen, be viewed, copied, stored, and used by the people you share it with. We cannot control the actions of people with whom you choose to share information.
  • Third-party integrations on the Service: When, as a user of Ed.VoiceThread, you use third-party apps, websites or other services that use, or are integrated with, our Service, those third-party services may receive information about what you post or share. For example, when you access your Google Drive or Flickr account in order to import work into a VoiceThread, these services receive the information that you share through this functionality and information that you are sharing this from VoiceThread. Information collected by these apps, websites or integrated services is subject to their own terms and policies.
  • Service Providers: Third party advertising is not permitted on Ed.VoiceThread. We do work with vendors, service providers, and other partners to help us by performing tasks required to deliver the Service. We may need to share or provide information (including personal information) to them to help them perform these business functions, for example sending emails on our behalf, database management services, database hosting, providing customer support software, and security. Please see here for a list of the third parties we work with to provide the Service. Generally, these service providers do not have the right to use your personal information we share with them beyond what is necessary to assist us. Additionally, these service providers must adhere to confidentiality and security obligations in a way that is consistent with this Privacy Policy.
  • Testimonials: We post testimonials on our Service and in marketing materials which may contain personal information such as the name, photo and/or a video of the individual in the testimonial; however, we obtain the individual’s consent in advance to ensure we have permission to post this content publicly. To request removal of your personal information from any testimonials, please contact us at https://voicethread.com/contact.
  • Analytics: We use analytics services, including mobile analytics software, to help us understand and improve how the Service is being used. These services may collect, store and use information in order to to help us understand things like how often you use the Service, the events that occur within the application, usage, performance data, and from where the application was downloaded. A current list of analytics providers that we use is located here.
  • Aggregated information and non-identifying information: We may share aggregated, non-personally identifiable information publicly, including with users, partners, or the press in order to, for example, demonstrate how Ed.VoiceThread is used. Any aggregated information shared this way will not contain any personal information.
  • Change of control: In the event that all or a portion of VoiceThread or its assets are acquired by or merged with a third party, personal information that we have collected from users would be one of the assets transferred to or acquired by that third party. This Privacy Policy will continue to apply to your information, and any acquirer would only be able to handle your personal information as per this Policy (unless they ask for, and you give consent to, a new policy). We will provide you with notice of an acquisition within thirty (30) days following the completion of such a transaction, by posting on our homepage, or by email to the email address that you provided to us. If you do not consent to the use of your personal information by such a successor company, you may request its deletion from the Service.
  • Out of business: In the unlikely event that VoiceThread goes out of business or files for bankruptcy, we will protect your personal information, and will not sell it to any third party.
  • Legal requirements: We may disclose personal information if we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to comply with the law, such as complying with a subpoena or other legal process. We may need to disclose personal information where, in good faith, we think it is necessary to to protect the rights, property, or safety of Ed.VoiceThread, our employees, our community of users, or others, or to prevent violations of our our Terms of Service or other agreements. This includes, without limitation, exchanging information with other companies and organizations for fraud protection or responding to government requests.
  • Sharing with VoiceThread companies: Over time, VoiceThread may grow and reorganize. We may share your personal information with affiliates such as a parent company, subsidiaries, joint venture partners or other companies that we control or that are under common control with us, in which case we will require those companies to agree to use your personal information in a way that is consistent with this Privacy Policy.
  • With your consent: Other than the cases above, we won’t disclose your personal information for any purpose unless you consent to it. Additionally, as discussed above, we will never sell or rent your personal information to advertisers or other third parties.

How does VoiceThread protect and secure my information?

Your VoiceThread account is protected by a password. You can help us protect against unauthorized access to your account by keeping your password secret at all times and selecting a password that is appropriately robust.

We work hard to protect our community of users, and we maintain administrative, technical and physical safeguards designed to protect against unauthorized use, disclosure of or access to personal information. In particular:

  • Our engineering team is dedicated to keeping your personal information secure.
  • We work with a team of world class security experts who periodically test VoiceThread’s security practices for vulnerabilities.
  • We periodically review our information collection, storage and processing practices, including physical security measures, to guard against unauthorized access to systems.
  • We continually develop and implement features to keep your personal information safe - for example, when you enter any information anywhere on the Service, we encrypt the transmission of that information using secure socket layer technology (SSL) by default.
  • We ensure passwords are stored and transferred securely using encryption and salted hashing.

Although we make concerted good faith efforts to maintain the security of personal information, and we work hard to ensure the integrity and security of our systems, no practices are 100% immune, and we can’t guarantee the security of information. Outages, attacks, human error, system failure, unauthorized use, or other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time. If we learn of a security breach, we will attempt to notify you electronically (subject to any applicable laws) so that you can take appropriate protective steps; for example, we may post a notice on our homepage (voicethread.com) or elsewhere on the Service, and may send email to you at the email address you have provided to us. Depending on where you live, you may have a legal right to receive notice of a security breach in writing.

VoiceThread’s commitments to providing transparency and choice

We try to be transparent about what information we collect so that you can make meaningful choices about how it is used. For example, you can:

  • Opt-out of providing certain information.
  • Access and manage your account information by using the account settings within VoiceThread.
  • Control who you share information with.
  • Delete your information from VoiceThread.
  • Take information out of VoiceThread.

Can I opt-out of providing information?

Because a primary goal of Ed.VoiceThread is to create a safe and accountable environment, we don’t allow users to decline to share with us certain personal information, e.g., a valid email address or what school you work for, because ensuring the intercollegiate nature of the community is critical to providing a safe environment for students. However, as we mentioned in our commitment to providing transparency and choice, you do have a lot of options for controlling your personal information with us. It’s also possible to block all cookies in your web browser. However, it’s important to remember that many of Ed.VoiceThread’s features may not be accessible, or may not function properly if you do this. For example, we may not be able to remember your language or accessibility preferences for you.

How can I access and manage my personal information?

Ed.VoiceThread aims to provide you with easy access to any personal information we have collected about you. If that information is incorrect, we give you easy ways to update it, or to delete it, unless we have to keep that information for legitimate business (e.g., we need at least an email address for your account) or legal purposes.

  • Accessing your information: Your basic account information can be found on your account page and much of it is editable by you. So if you find any mistakes and want to change them you can do so right there. If you find information that is not correct, and not editable on that page, just contact us at https://voicethread.com/contact and we’ll help get that mistake corrected. There will be some cases where we won’t be able to guarantee complete access to all your data due to legal restrictions. For example, you will not be allowed to access data that contains information about other users personal information or information that is confidential to us. We also may not be able to fulfill requests that are unreasonably difficult, repetitive, or impractical.

How can I delete my account?

If for any reason you ever want to delete your account, you can do that at any time by contacting us at https://voicethread.com/contact. If you are an educator, or school administrator using the Ed.VoiceThread Website, you may also delete accounts that you have administrative control over by logging into the management portal.

When you delete your account or a student’s account, we delete the profile information and any other content those accounts have provided to the Service (such as name, username, password, email address, profile photos, comments that have been made, etc.). Information that you have shared with others, others have shared about you, or content other users may have copied, is not part of your account and may not be deleted when you delete an account.

How long does VoiceThread keep information about me?

We keep your personal information for as long as it is necessary to provide the Ed.VoiceThread products and Services to you and others. Deleting an account is the definitive method for removing a user’s personal information from our Service.

Please note that we may have to retain some information after your account is closed to comply with legal obligations, to protect the safety and security of our community or our Service, or to prevent abuse of our Terms. An example would be a record that you once had an account with the Service and that it was suspended for violating the Terms of Service.

What communications will I receive from VoiceThread?

If you registered on Ed.VoiceThread and provided an email or phone number, opted-in to receive communications from us, or created VoiceThread conversations and invited others to comment on them, we may send you messages via (but not limited to) social media updates, SMS, push notifications, and email. The messages may contain information about new comments that have been made on conversations that you began or are currently participating in, but also privacy and security notices, updates regarding the Service, and information regarding products, features or services from Ed.VoiceThread.

We may also use your email address to contact you for customer service purposes or for any legal matters that arise in the course of business.

If you invite another person to join you on Ed.VoiceThread by adding them as a contact and providing their email address or phone number, we may contact them regarding the Service using email or SMS. If they would prefer not to receive such communications, they may opt-out using the instructions contained in those communications. We have developed granular communications preferences that allow fine control over notifications preferences which can be viewed and adjusted on your account page.

Social media features/widgets

Depending on the preferences set by a school or district license administrator, the Service may offer social media features, such as the Facebook share buttons or the Twitter Tweet button, and other publishing services that allow users to share more broadly. These social media features may collect a user’s IP address, which page they are visiting on the Website, and may set a cookie to enable the feature to function properly. Social media features and widgets are either hosted by a third party or hosted directly on our Website. Interactions with these social media features are governed by the privacy policy of the company providing each social media feature. If you are not comfortable providing such data to social media websites please don’t use them.

How will VoiceThread notify me of changes to this policy?

We may occasionally update this Privacy Policy. If we make any significant changes, we’ll provide prominent notice by posting a notice on the Service and/or notifying you by email (using the email address you provided), so you can review any changes that are made.

If you don’t agree with any changes to the Privacy Policy, you may terminate your account however by continuing to use the Service after the revised Privacy Policy has become effective, you acknowledge that you accept and agree to the current version of the Privacy Policy.

How can I contact VoiceThread with questions?

If you have any questions or concerns you’d like to ask us about this Privacy Policy or how we protect our community’s privacy, please contact us at https://voicethread.com/contact or call us at (888) 407-3929

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy that you’d like to ask a third party, here is the iKeepSafe Safe Harbor program dedicated consumer complaint email address: Privacy@ikeepsafe.org

If you’d like, you may also write to us at:

VoiceThread

PO Box 970533

Boca Raton FL 33497-0533

Attention: Chief Privacy Officer

California Privacy Disclosures

Do Not Track: VoiceThread does not track its users over time and across third party websites to provide targeted advertising and therefore does not respond to Do Not Track (DNT) signals. For more information on “do not track”, please visit www.allaboutdnt.org.

Third parties that have content embedded on the VoiceThread Website, such as a social feature, may set cookies on a user’s browser and/or obtain information about the fact that a web browser visited a the VoiceThread Website from a certain IP address. Third parties cannot collect any other personally identifiable information from VoiceThread’s websites unless you provide it to them directly.