Protecting Student Privacy

StoneSoup recognizes the desirability of displaying student work and student activities. However, protecting the privacy of students is of paramount importance. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was put in force on March 2000. In conformance to this act and in order to provide maximum protection for all children in the public school system, student work and student activities linked from this site can only be viewed from a K12 domain server in districts which use StoneSoup. In other words, those wishing to view linked material must do so from within the privacy of a school building. It is technically possible to view materials over the Internet, but only under the supervison of a participating school district. Moreover, the student units themselves do not contain student names, only identifying numbers. This provides a further level of student protection.

What follows is meant for educational purposes only. Legal advice should be obtained from qualified attorneys.

Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

Many children have found the Internet to be a new type of playground where they can find information to help them with school work, fun places to shop, a variety of games and contests, and numerous sites where they can interact with other children. But, the Internet also makes it possible to collect information about children, such as how to contact them and what their individual interests are. In the past this information has often been publicly accessible and available even to those whose intent is to harm children.

In 1998, Congress passed the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) which became operational in March of 2000. This act prohibits using the Internet for the collection and dissemination of personal information about children, under the age of 13, without verifiable parental approval. Personal information includes first and last names, physical addresses, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, social security numbers, or any other identifier that makes it possible to contact a child. In addition to obtaining parental consent, websites and online services now need a disclosure statement explaining what information is being collected and how the information will be used.

Parents now have the right to review information collected about their child and websites must provide parents with the opportunity to withdraw their consent at any time. Online services aimed at children can not conduct games or offer prizes in order to collect information beyond what is needed for the purpose of playing the game. Service providers are also responsible for protecting the information they collect. They will be held liable if the information is used in any way other than outlined in their disclosure statement.

There are a few exceptions to the requirements above: