Is GoGuardian illegal in the U.S?

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Is GoGuardian illegal in the US

GoGuardian is a suite of online software tools designed to help educators manage classrooms and keep students safe when they are online. It provides monitoring services, filtering content, and other classroom management tools to schools and educators. The legality of using GoGuardian in the U.S. is a topic of interest for schools, parents, and privacy advocates, especially in relation to student data privacy and protection.

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Compliance with U.S. Laws

GoGuardian’s services, when used by educational institutions, need to comply with various federal laws concerning privacy and data protection. Here are the primary laws that apply:

Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)

The Children’s Internet Protection Act requires schools and libraries to implement internet safety policies and to use filtering technology to protect children from harmful online content. GoGuardian’s filtering services can help institutions comply with this law.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

COPPA imposes certain requirements on operators of websites or online services directed to children under 13 years of age. As GoGuardian is used in schools, it must operate in a way that complies with COPPA by obtaining parental consent for the collection of personal information from children.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

FERPA protects the privacy of student education records. Schools using GoGuardian must ensure that its operation aligns with FERPA’s requirements on the access, sharing, and protection of student data.

Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)

PPRA relates to the administration of surveys and the collection and use of information for marketing purposes. It provides parents with certain rights regarding their children’s participation and requires schools to obtain consent where necessary.

While GoGuardian is designed to comply with the aforementioned laws, its use has raised concerns among privacy advocates and some parents regarding the extent of monitoring and data collection, particularly in relation to student privacy rights.

  • Privacy Concerns: Critics argue that continuous monitoring could infringe on students’ rights to privacy and free speech, especially if data is collected beyond the educational scope.
  • Security of Data: There are also concerns about how the data collected by GoGuardian is stored, protected, and potentially shared with third parties.
  • Consent and Notification: Questions have been raised about the adequacy of notice to parents and students regarding the use of GoGuardian and the scope of consent obtained.

School and District Policies

Individual schools and school districts may have policies that further regulate the use of monitoring software like GoGuardian. These policies may address issues such as:

  • Notification to Parents and Students: Ensuring that families are fully informed about the use of GoGuardian and its features.
  • Opt-out Provisions: Providing options for parents or students who do not wish to be monitored.
  • Data Governance: Outlining how student data is managed, who has access, and the purposes for which it can be used.

Conclusion: GoGuardian, as a tool for educational institutions, is not illegal in the U.S. when used in compliance with federal laws designed to protect student privacy and internet safety. However, its implementation must be carefully managed to ensure adherence to these laws, as well as to address privacy and ethical concerns raised by its use.


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