Losing your Zoom account is a school’s worst nightmare. Now that distance learning is becoming more commonplace, access to video conferencing is critical in order to keep kids learning. Many educators have been alarmed lately due to an email from Zoom informing them that their account could be disabled if they do not comply with a new requirement. Here’s everything you need to know.

Zoom’s New Requirements For Schools

Since the beginning of the pandemic, many schools have shifted to digital learning and utilize Zoom for educational purposes. As schools continue to use distance learning, or use Zoom for other meetings, the video conferencing platform has made updates to their policies. Recently they’ve made a new requirement that has educators concerned, here are the facts:

  • Zoom requests that administrators or owners of accounts that provide educational services to children under 18 years of age self identify in their account profile. 
  • This triggers Zoom’s data protections detailed in Zoom’s Children’s Educational Privacy Statement to apply.
  • Further, U.S. customers who provide educational services to children under age 13, are required to e-sign Zoom’s Consent to Educational Data Collection Practices.
  • Zoom only accepts signatures for Zoom’s Consent to Educational Data Collection Practices from authorized superintendents, principals, administrators or teachers. Your organization will be required to re-sign Zoom’s Consent to Educational Data Collection Practices on a yearly basis at renewal.
  • Your account will be locked if Zoom’s Consent to Educational Data Collection Practices is not e-signed within 30 days of self-identification as an organization that uses Zoom products to provide educational services to children under 13.
  • If you do not follow the instructions to unlock a locked account after 30 days, your account may be subject to deletion.
  • Zoom also recommends that schools review the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) annually. 

What Does This Change Mean?

This change may sound alarming, but Zoom has not made any changes to the information they collect from children, or how that information is used. This new Children’s Education Status setting makes it easier for schools to maximize the protections Zoom provides to their accounts. 

Here’s how:

  1. This setting ensures that Zoom’s special data protections outlined in their Children’s Educational Privacy Statement are enacted. 
  2. It prompts educators to review Zoom’s data use practices annually, in order to follow best practices outlined by COPPA. 

What Data Does Zoom Collect On Children?

Zoom collects several pieces of data when their product is used. This includes the following, as detailed by Zoom’s Privacy Statement

  • Profile and Participant Information: This includes the user’s name, profile picture, contact information, and any other information a school or educational organization allows students to add to their profile or to add when registering for meetings, recordings or webinars hosted on the school or organization’s account.
  • Contacts and Calendar Information: Contact lists the school or educational service adds or allows students to use on their account (such as names and email addresses for other students in the school), as well as calendar information added to the account (such as a class schedule or upcoming school events).
  • Settings: Preferences and settings students set when using an educational account, such as microphone, audio and video settings, and screen sharing settings.
  • Device Information: Information about the computers, phones, and other devices students use when joining meetings or webinars or sending messages using Zoom Products, including device features (like microphone or camera versions and IDs), IP address (which may be used to infer general location at a city or country level) and WiFi information.
  • Meeting, Webinar, and Messaging Content: If the school or educational organization chooses to record meetings or webinars to Zoom Cloud, Zoom will store these recordings on behalf of the school or organization.  The recordings may contain a student’s voice and image, messages, Q&A, or other content (such as a presentation or whiteboard) shared by a student during a meeting or webinar.  Zoom employees do not access this content unless the school or educational service directs us to do so, or as required for legal, security, or safety reasons.
  • Product Usage: Information about how students and their devices interact with Zoom Products, such as when they join and leave a meeting, whether they send messages and with whom they message, mouse movements, clicks, keystrokes, or actions (such as mute/unmute or video on/off), and other inputs that help Zoom understand feature usage, improve product design, and suggest features.

How Is This Data Used?

Zoom uses this data to customize safety settings for schools, for customer support, and product improvement. Safety uses include authentication of accounts and their activity, as well as detection, investigation, and prevention of malicious conduct or unsafe experiences, it also allows Zoom to address security threats, protect school and public safety, and secure their products. Finally, Zoom uses this data for legal requirements, as they outline “to comply with applicable laws or respond to valid legal process, including from law enforcement or government agencies, to investigate or participate in civil discovery, litigation, or other adversarial legal proceedings, and to enforce or investigate potential violations of our Terms of Service or policies.”

If you have any questions about this contact us at 504.459.4557 or send us an email at info@tlg.law for more information. 

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