Crystal Clear

Clever Inc.

2014 Winner for Crystal Clear Award
About Crystal Clear Award

Discloses privacy policies with clear, detailed descriptions of how user data is used and who owns it.

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Clever is an edtech platform that gives students a single sign-on to all of their learning applications and helps schools automatically keep those applications up-to-date with their student information systems. Ask most education companies about student data privacy, and they’ll try to duck the question. After all, what’s the upside, when another startup comes under fire for their handling of privacy every week?

We think about this differently at Clever, where we’re proud to stand behind our privacy policies. Clever co-founder Dan Carroll’s experiences as a former district tech director led him to hate the incomprehensibly opaque privacy policies that accompany school software. We wanted Clever to be a different type of company from the start – one that always put schools in control of their data. As a result, Clever’s privacy principles are crystal clear: Clever only collects data that schools explicitly share. Clever never shares data, except when instructed by a school. Schools always retain ownership of their data.

In our privacy policy, we use clear, friendly language to explain Clever’s approach to student data, including how it’s collected, used, and shared. Additionally, the Clever product emphasizes school control; schools decide what to share and with whom, and can revoke sharing – or delete their data entirely – at any time.

As part of Clever’s commitment to data privacy, Clever only partners with applications who make a written commitment to FERPA compliance. That way, when a school uses an application on Clever, they know that student data will never be used for marketing or non-educational purposes.

While data privacy hasn't been a sexy topic in our industry, Clever’s rapid adoption – now used by 1 in 5 schools in America and 150+ applications – shows just how powerful a clear and transparent approach to data privacy can be.

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Today, Clever powers safe digital learning for over 12 million students, in partnership with over 150 education applications. But as an application platform, we value Clever’s unique opportunity to improve industry best practices around student data privacy; in fact, we consider it a responsibility. Our goal is to be a leader of an EdTech industry that values student privacy even more than the schools, parents, and students we serve.

With a clear privacy policy, Clever delivers transparency that we know schools want, and we’re empowering schools to receive the same treatment from their other technology providers. Clever is also using its unique place as a platform between schools and apps to foster more conversation around student data privacy. For example, Clever recently convened a Student Data Privacy Roundtable with iKeepSafe, so that district leaders could have their voices heard, and to make industry leaders partners in building better solutions. We are also pushing the student privacy conversation forward in the national spotlight. In a recent op ed in the New York Times, Clever CEO Tyler Bosmeny discussed how data can be used and secured, emphasizing the need to offer transparency and control to schools and other stakeholders.

Through national dialogue, clear policies, and thoughtful partnerships, Clever remains committed to helping push our industry towards safer and better practices.

People in the technology world often talk about “bank grade” (or “military grade”) security as the gold standards -- our hope is that one day, we’ll be part of an industry that sets “education grade” as the new bar for security and privacy.