Oct 312013
 
 October 31, 2013  Breaches, Business, Court, U.S., Youth & Schools

Jack Bouboushian reports:

ACT and The College Board sell high school students’ personal information, including Social Security numbers, to third parties at 33 cents a head, a class action claims in Federal Court.

Lead plaintiff Rachel Specter sued ACT Inc. and The College Board, the company behind the SAT and Advanced Placement tests.
ACT and The College Board administer the ACT and SAT tests to more than 1.6 million high school students each year, the complaint states. For college-bound students, taking the ACT or SAT is not optional, the complaint states.

“In the regular course of their business, defendants obtain and possess a consumer’s PII [personally identifiable information], such as their name, home address, self-reported grade point averages, educational background, interests, date of birth, test scores, Social Security number, phone number, etc.,” Specter says in the lawsuit.

“The defendants deceived the plaintiff and the class by masking the sale of the plaintiff and class’ PII under the guise of ‘sharing,’ i.e., the defendants ask whether the plaintiff and class (who at the time were under the age of majority) would like their PII ‘shared’ with other outside agencies. In reality, the defendants ‘sell’ the plaintiff’s and class’ PII for substantial profit – on information and belief approximately $.33 per student, per buyer – to hundreds if not thousands of ‘buyers’ per year who purchase the plaintiff’s and class’ PII from the defendants. In some instances, the defendants sell the PII to organizations whose purpose it is to re-sell the lists to additional third parties.” (Parentheses in complaint.)

Read more on Courthouse News.

The case is Specter v. ACT, Inc. et al, 1:13-cv-07701, in the Northern District of Illinois. I’ve uploaded the complaint here. ACT has not yet responded to it. There are some interesting issues here as the students were minors at the time they were either allegedly opting-out of “sharing” or opting-in to “sharing,” depending on the test.

 

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