Universities Act on Piazza’s Sale of Student Data

NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH: Piazza, a free question-and-answer platform popular in college classes, is under fire for selling student data to companies, Phil Hill of e-Literate reports. In 2014, the company launched a career service that sells access to student data—what classes they take and course performance—to recruiters.

The sale of the information isn’t what’s bugging colleges, including UC Berkeley, UC Davis and the University of Toronto. Although Piazza states the practice in its privacy policy and terms of service, hardly any students (1 percent) opt out of the deal. Universities contend that’s because students are unaware of what’s happening, and the schools think they should have a say in privacy policies.

In a response to the e-Literate post, Piazza CEO Pooja Sankar acknowledges the company made a mistake and says it has entered agreements with a handful of universities. “We are committed to fixing this,” she writes. 

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