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United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) created history by suing Edmodo, an online learning company, collects and uses children’s data to target them with behavioral advertising. The proposed $6 million fine, which awaits final ruling, comes a year after Human Rights Watch exposed How Edmodo and other online learning products authorized by governments violated children’s privacy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Edmodo was a website and app widely used by children in kindergarten, elementary and middle schools across the US until September 2022, when the company began selling its products only to governments. The company benefited from explosive demand in 2020, reporting a 1,500 percent Users surged in the first five months of the pandemic as governments and schools rushed to engage children in online learning.

An investigation by Human Rights Watch in May 2022 found that Edmodo was designed with the ability to survey children and collect their personal data for advertising. Our technical analysis found that Edmodo may not only invisibly tag children and de-identify their devices for the sole purpose of advertising to them, but also allow other advertisers to place ad-specific third-party advertising on its platform. Enables you to do this by embedding code. After multiple requests for comment, Edmodo told Human Rights Watch in July 2022 that he “did not share [its students’] personal data with an Edmodo business partner or third party.”

The FTC categorically disagreed: its ComplaintThe one filed by the US Department of Justice, matches our findings.

The FTC Is Sending A Strong Message”Others in the Ed Tech Industry,” and this suit marks the first time that the agency has moved to ban a company forced children To give up your privacy for the sake of learning.

Too often, governments leave children unprotected on the Internet. Most of the companies we investigated continue to survey children online, with many citing a lack of laws forcing them to do otherwise. The FTC could only build its case against Edmodo on the narrow basis that the company violated a privacy law that one of its authors, Senator Ed Markey, claimed. asking to change it,

President Joe Biden has Called Congress twice to pass comprehensive child data protection legislation, and the Surgeon General has appealed to policy makers Forcing companies to protect children’s privacy. Congress is long overdue for its homework: It must pass strong legislation to protect all children as they spend an increasing amount of their childhood online.

Learn more about our global campaign, #StudentsNotProductsDemanding online safety for children.

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