PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lori Sitler/Janice Fitzsimons
Phone: (302) 577-8314
Pager: (302) 247-1132
Date: January 13, 2004
Delaware Settles with Student Data Collection Company that Shared Information with Commercial Firms
(Wilmington, DE): Attorney General Jane Brady announced today that Delaware and 41 other states have entered into a consumer protection settlement with National Research Center for College and University Admissions ("NRCCUA") concerning NRCCUA's collection of personal information through high school student surveys by selling the information to commercial entities that used the information to solicit the students for the sale of educational and non-educational commercial products or services.
Brady said "It is fundamental that any business which collects personal information from individuals either disclose the potential sharing or use of that information, or protect it from further release. This office will work vigorously to assure that personal information of Delawareans is properly protected."
The settlement, through an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance ("AVC") requires NRCCUA not to misrepresent how personally-identifiable information will be collected, used or disclosed, or how the collection of the information is funded; to disclose clearly and conspicuously why it collects personal information of students and the types of entities to which it is disclosed; to make such disclosures in all of its privacy statements and in all questionnaires, survey instruments, and other documents; to cease all future use of survey data collected from a student if a parent (in the case of a minor) or an adult high school student requests that the student be opted-out of completing the survey or that NRCCUA cease using previously collected information; and if NRCCUA changes its current practice and, once again, chooses to use or permits others to use its survey data for non-educational-related marketing purposes, then NRCCUA must supply schools with a notice form to be given to parents telling them the survey may be administered and how to opt their student-children out of completing the survey.
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NRCCUA did not admit any violations in settling the matter but agreed to change its practices as required by the AVC. In the AVC, NRCCUA stated that it had ceased permitting use of the student data for non-educational-related marketing purposes in 2002.
As part of the settlement, NRCCUA will make a payment of $300,000 to the states to be used for attorneys' fees and investigative costs, consumer education, litigation, or for public protection or local consumer aid funds. Delaware's portion of the settlement will be $10,000.