Privacy and Student Data FAQs
We expect our different products will be used in very different ways, so our policies differ from product to product. For the rest of this document, we will talk about the following products:
“Desmos Tools”: these are our tools on www.desmos.com, including the Graphing Calculator, Scientific Calculator, Four Function Calculator, Geometry Tool, and future standalone tools to come. This term also includes any apps associated with those tools (e.g. our iPhone and iPad Graphing Calculator App).
“teacher.desmos.com”: this includes everything on teacher.desmos.com, including creating and assigning activities.
“student.desmos.com”: this refers to everything on student.desmos.com, in particular using activities as directed by a teacher.
Q. How is your service free? Are you making money from advertising?
A. No! Desmos’s business model is built around paid partnerships with publishers, assessment companies, and educational institutions. (Interested? Check out www.desmos.com/partners.) We will never profit from advertising to students or selling data about students. Specifically, we pledge that:
- We will never allow third-party advertising on our student-facing websites or apps (both Desmos Tools and student.desmos.com).
- We will never sell data collected on our student-facing websites or apps (both Desmos Tools and student.desmos.com), or allow third parties to collect data to be used for targeted advertising on Desmos or anywhere else.
These promises will live on, even in the case that we’re purchased or go bankrupt.
Q. Do you comply with COPPA?
A. Yes. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of children under 13 years of age.
First, neither our services at teacher.desmos.com nor our Desmos Tools are directed at children under 13. We do not intend for children under 13 to use those services. If you believe that we have accidentally collected personal information from a child under 13 without the consent of a parent, guardian, or school, let us know at email@example.com and we will remove that information as soon as possible.
Our service at student.desmos.com is intended for use by students, including students under the age of 13. Usage requires a classcode provided by a teacher. Teachers are expected to have appropriate permissions before directing any student to use Desmos, including students under 13. Once a school or teacher has provided consent for Desmos to collect a student’s personal information, Desmos protects that student’s privacy as required by COPPA. Please see our Student Data Privacy Statement for more details.
Q. Do you comply with FERPA?
A. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), is a federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records. Unlike COPPA, which applies to all online operators, FERPA regulates an educational institution’s use of student data. Here is how our product policies can help those institutions meet their obligations under FERPA.
We expect teachers, not students, to use teacher.desmos.com for creating and running activities, so FERPA isn't a consideration for work done on that website.
Our Desmos Tools are intended for individual usage. We don’t know when any of these tools is used at the direction of a teacher as part of an assignment, so we can’t be helpful with FERPA compliance. For this reason, we strongly recommend that teachers and schools only use teacher.desmos.com and student.desmos.com for collecting academic assignments.
We assume that all work in student.desmos.com has been assigned by a teacher or school for academic purposes. We don’t own any personal information collected through student.desmos.com – that work is owned by the teacher and school. Parents and students have rights under FERPA to access that work. Note that only a teacher or school can ask Desmos to delete work done on student.desmos.com. Note further that if an account on teacher.desmos.com is deleted, student work associated with any activities that the teacher ran will be deleted as a result, even for students who still have an account. Please see our Student Data Privacy Statement for more details.
Q. How do you protect the privacy of student data you share with third parties?
A. We work hard to protect your data while it’s in transit and once it’s stored. All of our sites, apps, and services use Secure Socket Layer Encryption (SSL) to transfer your data. We only share and store your data with trusted services that are also committed to security. We maintain a list of those services here:
We try our hardest to keep this list up to date, but we may add or subtract service providers at any time. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm our most up to date list of service providers at any given time.
Q. How will I know if you update your policies?
As a result, you can see both the current version of each document and a complete history of changes. In addition, we will prominently post a notice on our websites if we make any major changes to any of these policy documents. We will not necessarily notify you for small changes (e.g. modifications to the list of Third Party Services). However, you can subscribe to notifications from the github repository if you’re interested in being updated on every change. (Instructions.)
These FAQs were last updated July 20, 2020.
Q. What if I have other questions?
A. If you have any questions about any of our policies, just send us an e-mail at email@example.com.