Recently, many school districts in many states have reached agreements with a company to assist kids, and in some states adults, in taking online assessments to tell them what types of jobs they should have.  All have different names but perform the same function.  It is geared to help adults and students understand their interests in future workforces.  Missouri chose to build a site around this called MissouriConnections (a .org site)

MissouriConnections is being shown to the students for them to register and take skills assessments and future job planning.   I was curious what kind of data they were asking of our youth when teachers/counselors are directing students to register and provide information to these sites.  The teachers and counselors are all under the guidance of the school district you live and state education departments.  As I reviewed the site, it raised some concerns about the data collected and actual data ownership or what is collected.

The students begin at MissouriConnections.org and are redirected to https://www.visions-unltd.com (out of Iowa) to perform all the registration and assessments.  This site is, in turn, owned and ran by http://www.kuder.com
The students are requested to fill in their:
  • names
  • student id’s
  • home addresses
  • parent emails
  • phone numbers
  • ethnicity
  • and more.
Since this is not a school operated site, nor do i recall my signed school Internet Usage Policy controlling this, I investigated the Privacy Policy of Kuder (http://www.kuder.com/privacy-policy.html#Children) with some surprising statements.
They do adhere to the requirements for children aged 13 and younger from Compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 by requiring a signed document from a parent or guardian.

However, here are some of the surprises after the normal blanket statement:

Information, Ownership, and Use
You have the option to ‘opt-out’ of having your information used for purposes which are not directly related to the kuder.com web site at the point we ask for the information. If you opt out, Kuder will use your information strictly for purposes directly related to kuder.com and for no other purpose and will not provide that information to its partners or advertisers or entities other than authorized educational institutions.

The next section is the one that stood out…

If you do not opt out, Kuder is the sole owner of the information collected on this web site. We will not sell, share, or rent this information to others in ways different from what is disclosed in this statement. We collect information from our users at several different points on our web site.

While it says they will not sell, rent, etc the information, the terms of service can be changed at any time.  Otherwise, they are claiming total ownership and control of any data you upload or enter.  This is the same stance Facebook took recently and due to public controversy, pulled it from their Terms of Service.

Their registration has some required fields and asks for far too much personal information for any child of any age under legal age.

Registration
In order to use this web site, you must first complete the registration form. During registration you are required to give your contact information (such as name and e-mail address) as well as certain demographic information (such as gender and date of birth). This information is used to contact you and provide you services through our web site. You have the option of providing additional demographic information (ethnicity, income level etc.), and unique identifiers (social security number, etc.). We encourage you to provide this information so we can provide you with a more personalized experience on our web site.

As you see, they request and emphasize the request for such information as social security number and income levels.  I am not sure what type of help the site could give on showing how you compare for job interests needing social security numbers and income levels.  Apparently the site also collects your IP address, but not for identifying you.  But in the same paragraph they state they use it for demographic information.  If they do not assign it to you, how could they match demographics form an IP address? Not possible.  Only geographic data could be established, not demographic.

They will send you advertisements from certain colleges and businesses without providing anything but demographic data to them.  However, if you respond, it states they will be able to see your personal data.

If you choose to respond, certain personally identifying information will be made available to the Business. What the Business will do with that information and the uses it will make of it will be governed by that Business’s Privacy Policy and not by the policy governing kuder.com.

What data is available, for how long and when it becomes available is not listed and should be of concern.  Next, Kuder claims to be an agent of the school or education institution.  I do not recall every allowing, authorizing or being notified about Kuder

Kuder only collects data from such children pursuant to the Parental Permission and a specific agreement between the child’s school and Kuder that Kuder is to act as an agent of the child’s school or educational institution.

They do state if they make changes to the Privacy Policy they will notify the school and post it on their homepage.  I am not sure when the parents are contacted but the final decision is up to the school, and not the parent.

If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify you or the school authorizing the data collection by way of an e-mail.  You or the school will have a choice as to whether or not we use your information in this different manner

I would immediately suggest reviewing if your school district utilizes these services and what policies your school district has on this data.  Send a letter. email or phone call to the district CIO and school board asking for clarification on this matter as well.  If you are unaware of what data is being shared, then you are opening your child up to dangers of sharing too much information.


Comments (2)

  1. kuderworks

    Reply

    First, it's Kuder, not Kudor.

    Second, much of your information is incorrect and, at times, libelous to this company. It is always a good idea to know what you are talking about before posting. I suggest reviewing your “facts”, or even contacting this company directly if you have questions instead of spreading untrue and potentially litigious information about them.

  2. IdoNotes

    Reply

    Interestingly the comment from Kuderworks was modified. The previous comment stated libel and to check my facts. Interestingly the comment came from within Kuder and has been removed since everything I mention above is directly pasted and quoted from the policies on the Kuder site itself about privacy and data ownership

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