IMS Global Learning Consortium Announces App Vetting and Privacy Alliance

New Alliance Offers Collaborative Approach to Evaluating Data Privacy Policies of Educational Technology Applications


LAKE MARY, Florida, 13 November 2018 — IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS Global/IMS), the world-leading non-profit collaborative advancing edtech interoperability, innovation, and learning impact announced the launch of its education community-driven process to examine and share information about the data privacy supported by educational applications.
The IMS App Vetting and Privacy Alliance provides a unique and much-needed service through which IMS higher education and K-12 institutional, state, and supplier members can understand and address privacy concerns in a cooperative manner. Educating members about privacy requirements, promoting active communication among all participants, and evolving an effective privacy rubric standard as a result of the findings are distinctive elements of the IMS App Vetting service. IMS Global’s organizational membership of nearly 500 educational sector participants provides the critical mass, trust, and commitment for all parties to provide the transparency and protections that schools, parents, and students desire.
“The IMS App Vetting program will provide tremendous value to both institutions and vendors. Institutions of any size will now be able to leverage the expertise of IMS Global to better understand potential privacy issues of the apps they use, and to adopt apps that support their learning objectives more quickly and more confidently,” said Brian Lukoff, Ph.D., Co-founder and CEO, Perusall. “Vendors will benefit by having a trusted partner in IMS Global to communicate privacy compliance to customers without the overhead of managing separate review processes with each customer.”
"We recognize that the privacy of individuals and organizations is a primary concern to those who use our content authoring products,” said Sue Evans, CEO and Co-Founder, SoftChalk LLC. “Through efforts such as IMS App Vetting, we are able to more clearly and concisely communicate how we address those concerns, and institutions are able to more easily understand our processes and policies."
IMS provides an independent review of applications for data collected, third-party sharing, advertising and basic security features using a rubric based on years of sector experience and review by IMS members. IMS then establishes an open line of communication with the application provider, including advice on how to improve their privacy policy. Vetting and comments from IMS member institutions are added on an ongoing basis, can be viewed by IMS members in the IMS Certified Product Directory at, and provide further communication for all parties to understand and improve. To extend access to the App Vetting program beyond current members, IMS has created a low-cost Alliance membership that is open to both suppliers and end-user organizations that want to take advantage of this service.
Note that the security review aspect of the IMS service is a very high-level guide for practitioners and does not substitute for a detailed security audit. IMS institutional leadership continues to work with IMS partner organizations to recommend more detailed security audit frameworks such as EDUCAUSE HEISC.
“IMS believes that information sharing and open, constructive dialog between edtech suppliers and institutions will result in more accurate reviews of an organization’s products, better transparency into data usage and privacy considerations, and measurable improvements to the student data privacy in edtech applications,” said Dr. Rob Abel, CEO, IMS Global Learning Consortium. “IMS is actively working with our institutional members to evolve the process and the service to ensure it is the trusted resource that they need. The cooperative community approach will not only be more reliable than the current situation but will also save institutions many hours of valuable time in having to figure all of this out on their own.”
“With the proliferation of cloud-based instructional tools, data privacy is a new and complex responsibility for K-12 school and higher ed staff,” said Mark A. Walls, Executive Director, Information Systems and Solutions, Gwinnett County Public Schools. “The IMS Global App Vetting profiles, which are based on an initial matrix with more criteria to be added in the future, are incredibly valuable for staff to quickly learn about providers' data protection policies and practices. The App Vetting profiles give instructional and technical staff critical data privacy information that is key to instructional resource adoptions.”
“IMS App Vetting will help streamline our ability to thoroughly vet and evaluate the edtech apps we are using, or thinking of using, without having to perform the required tasks separately and on our own in isolation,” said Nick Thompson, Assistant Director, Common Collaborative Learning Environment, UCLA. “As more organizations participate in the process by submitting reviews the more valuable IMS App Vetting results will be for everyone.”
IMS App Vetting is one component of recent IMS member-led work to enable better privacy and ensure the responsible use of data in IMS Certified applications. In May 2018, IMS released a new security model with Learning Tools Interoperability® (LTI®) version 1.3, which is currently available for member adoption. LTI v1.3 provides a built-in set of features for administrative management of privacy data exchange as well as verification of the data that is exchanged via LTI Insights.
For more information on IMS Global's App Vetting go to
To view the benefits of the App Vetting & Privacy Alliance and become an IMS member go to
About IMS Global Learning Consortium
IMS Global is a nonprofit organization that advances technology to affordably scale and improve educational participation and attainment. IMS Global members are leading suppliers, institutions, and government organizations that are enabling the future of education by collaborating on interoperability and adoption initiatives. IMS Global sponsors the Learning Impact Leadership Institute, a global program focused on recognizing the impact of innovative technology on educational access, affordability, and quality while developing the people and ideas to help shape the future of educational technology.