We have looked at the features that ShowMe provides for it’s users, now let’s take a look at the behind the scenes component; the privacy policy.

 

One of the first points emphasized in the privacy policy is that much of what you publish on ShowMe is accessible to the public, and as such, much of what you put out there, when you put it out there, can be taken by other users. Basically, you post at your own risk!

 

Much of the privacy policy is spent on distinguishing differences in how information is handled between users under the age of 13 and those who are over. Children’s Personal Information, that being the personal information of those users under 13, has greater protection than those over 13. During registration, information collected includes full name, email address, a username and password, birthday, location, a parents email address and one or more ShowMe presentions. Not all of those fields have to be submitted though. Children’s Personal Information includes any information that identifies an individual such as name and email address. For Children’s Personal Information, usernames and ShowMe’s are reviewed for inappropriate content. If they are okay, then the presentation will be posted publicly along with the username.

 

A parent’s email address is collected so that ShowMe can request parental approval for the registration (if under 13) and collect additional information such as the user’s location. Children must not send any extra information beyond what is asked of them. If it is discovered that children have shared more information than what is necessary, ShowMe will delete as quickly as possible. Parents are also able to delete a child’s registration at any point.

 

If the user is older than 13, a lot more information can be provided. Users do not need to provide all of the information that is asked of them, however, certain features of the app/website require certain information being provided by the user. The information that users provide can be removed and modified at any point, and if you provide an email address, you accept that you may receive email communications. One difference between children and non-children in terms of email is that children can only receive newsletters and notifications if they provided their email address whereas ShowMe may receive confirmation that non-children have opened the emails that ShowMe sent to them.

 

ShowMe states that your personal information will be not be rented out or sold, but identifies a few possible ways in which personal information may be shared with third parties.

 

The first such way is that ShowMe collaborates with other parties to provide extra features and conveniences. One such example is that when you complete a ShowMe you can instantly share to Facebook or Twitter. Because of this partnership, when you utilize these aspects that involve other parties, those third parties privacy policies must be examined as you are using their services as well and sharing information on their platforms.

 

The second way is that ShowMe employs other parties to do certain tasks such as send emails and analyze data. These agents have no right to use the users personal information beyond what is needed to assist ShowMe.

 

The third way is on the user. At the very beginning of the privacy policy it discussed that this is a public space and when you put information out there, it’s out of your hands. There is very little personal information that is required to use this, but users can add a lot more if they so choose such as a picture, their address, school affiliation, etc. You put this information out there at your own risk. Any user of this program can access that information and save it so that even if you modify or change your information, it could have a permanent record on somebody else’s computer. This also applies to ShowMe’s that you create. Even if you delete a presentation, there is no guarantee that no other user had downloaded a copy of it and it still resides elsewhere. As such, the user must be very careful about what information they are providing. Relating to this as well is if you share an email address with ShowMe, this information can be used by ShowMe to communicate with you.

 

Another way is through business transfers. Personal information is an asset that can be traded and acquired. Personal information that has been provided can be transferred to a third party that they can then use so long as their use complies with the original privacy policy.

 

The final way that personal information can be used or shared is if it is deemed necessary for legal purposes. An example of this would be that personal information could be shared with a third party in an attempt to prevent fraud.

 

Upon listing these possibilities, it states that Children’s Personal Information will never be shared with third parties other than in the situations explained previously. Non-children will be notified if their information may be shared with third parties in which case you will have the option of preventing this.

 

The above policies apply to personal information, but non-personal information is also collected. This would be data that is viewed as a collective rather than at the individual level. An example would be looking at what particular features of the app are being utilized the most. This information can be shared with third parties.

 

ShowMe takes precautions to protect their users information, but of course, no information can be deemed as 100% safe. Users can help protect their information by creating a strong account password.

 

Can this privacy policy change? It can, but ShowMe states that if changes are made to how users personal information is used, they will be emailed or a notification will be placed on the website. Users would be bound to the new privacy policy when using the website or app after those changes were expressed.

 

If using ShowMe in the classroom and after having reviewed this privacy policy, if I was a teacher using this app with students under the age of 13 I would consider informing parents of why we would be using this app, what information is necessary and what isn’t, that the videos created are oftentimes public, etc. I would have a similar talk with older students as well, particularly the pubic nature of the information that they provide. This is a great time to bring together all those class discussions on responsible technology use and digital citizenship. Anytime students are creating in a public forum and including personal information, there should have been prior discussions as to the permanence of content for example and how they want to create a digital footprint that features them at their best.

Live long and prosper

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