Researchers created three privacy evaluation tiers to describe each application or service:
1. Use Responsibly, which indicates that the application or service meets our minimum criteria but more research should be completed prior to use
2. Use with Caution, which indicates that the application or service does not clearly define the safeguards to protect child or student information
3. Not Recommended, which indicates that the application or service does not support encryption or lacks a detailed privacy policy

In addition to the just 10 percent of applications or services that are recommended with responsible use, 80 percent are recommended for use with caution, and 10 percent are not recommended for use at all.

The research yields 10 key findings:

1. A majority of applications and services use default encryption of information for login and account creation.

2. A majority of applications and services (89 percent) disclose an effective date or version number of their policies.

3. A majority of applications and services disclose that they do not rent, lease, trade, or sell data, but many are non-transparent.

4. A majority of applications and services are non-transparent or explicitly allow third-party marketing.

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5. A majority of applications and services are non-transparent or explicitly allow traditional advertising.

6. A roughly equivalent percentage of applications and services have either non-transparent, better, or worse practices about behavioral advertising.

7. A majority of applications and services are non-transparent or explicitly allow third-party tracking.

8. A majority of applications and services are non-transparent or explicitly track users across other websites.

9. A majority of applications and services are non-transparent about creating ad profiles.

10. A majority of applications and services are non-transparent or explicitly allow the onward transfer of data.

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura