Commenting on Periscope in a Blog Post

A week or two back, Lisa Dabbs, known for starting and moderating #ntchat wrote a post (a second post, actually) on why new teachers should use Periscope with their students.

There are some concerns with the Periscope terms of service and privacy policy that come up when the teacher is broadcasting students across the app. I posted a comment on Lisa's blog, but after some tweets and awaiting moderation, it isn't live, so I'm posting it here because the discussion is valuable. I hope Lisa and others are willing to comment on some of the points below.


Hi Lisa, I want to push back on the idea that new teachers should jump into using Periscope. Yes, it’s important to share and get feedback and it can be a great way to do that. But jumping right in and sharing student images and student information without at least mentioning the Terms of Use and Privacy Statements is, in my opinion, dangerous.

From the Periscope Privacy Statement (my emphasis added):

We use and store information about your location to provide features of our Services, such as broadcasting with your location, and to improve and customize the Services. We may infer your location based on information from your device. If you have turned on location services for Periscope, we may share your precise location.

There is no limitation on how long they store that information. If a new teacher is broadcasting and a student with limitations from their parents is included in that broadcast, that can lead to serious issues. Broadcasting specific location data is never a wise idea, especially when minors are involved.

From the TOS:

You agree that this license includes the right for Twitter, Inc. to provide, promote, and improve Periscope and to make Content submitted to or through Periscope available to other companies, organizations or individuals who partner with Twitter, Inc. for the syndication, broadcast, distribution or publication of such Content on other media and services, subject to our terms and conditions for such Content use.

Often, this licensing is so Periscope can rebroadcast your content, much like other services ask for the same permission to share materials you create on a wide basis and not case by case. But, this can also include use in advertisements, promotional materials, etc. Again, broadcasting the images of students and having a company with their own profit in mind with no control over how or why those images are stored perpetually can lead to liability problems at some point.

You are responsible for your use of Periscope, for any Content you provide, and for any consequences thereof, including the use of your Content by other users and our third party partners.

In other words, “If someone misuses your content, it’s your fault for posting it.”

The teacher is responsible in loco parentis. We are representatives of the school district. Any liability the teacher takes on using any application can come back to the district. This is an express agreement that is glossed over in most cases. Periscope, because of its public nature, brings a unique challenge.

All I’m saying is that twice now you have implored new teachers to jump into a service with no mention of repercussions that could come from tacit use. You have a great amount of influence and a lot of people look to you for guidance. Please consider taking explicit steps with these recommendations to outline Privacy and Terms of Use considerations for apps and programs. Especially for new teachers. They have enough to worry about already.


As always, comments are open.

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