ThingLink GDPR Compliance


The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is now in full effect as of May 25th, 2018. We at ThingLink have clarified our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service to let you know about your rights under this new regulation. Please read and familiarize yourself with them, as you will need to accept them before you continue to use ThingLink.

Note that we won’t be sending you an email asking you to stay on our mailing lists, because we already asked about that when you first signed up. If you chose to opt-out at that point, we’re not going to bother you unless it’s about invoices or technical problems. Remember that you can always change your preferences in your account settings. Our monthly email is a good source of information about product updates and inspiration from our community.

The biggest visible change to you that GDPR brings is this: Your images and videos that contain third party embedded content will be showing a popup detailing all the domains that the viewers information may be sent to so that the user can give informed consent. This lets you continue embedding Thinglink content with confidence that your own customers have their privacy protected.

A note to Pro and Premium users: If you have your own GDPR consent scheme in place on your own site, you can turn off the Thinglink GDPR notification in your account settings under Advanced Media Settings.

Implementing GDPR is quite an ordeal for a small company. Luckily, because Thinglink is a Finnish company and has already been subject to EU legislation for quite some time, the necessary changes that we had to do were mostly just about going through our practices, legal documents, and writing everything up. Among the things that we have done are:

1. We internalized all of the Javascript and CSS that we were previously using third party CDNs for (jsdlivr, Google, MaxCDN, etc.) and are now serving all of them from our own infrastructure. This means that your IP address isn’t being leaked all over the place as your browse Thinglink images.

2. We reviewed all the data we were sending to different analytics services and deleted anything that we didn’t absolutely need, and pseudonymized the rest. Pseudonymization is done also on a per-service basis, so even if two services combined, they wouldn’t be able to figure out who is who.

3. We looked our internal data gathering and dropped some data collection points that weren’t simply used anymore.

4. We checked all external services for GDPR compliance and removed the ones that we weren’t actively using anymore or could be replaced with GDPR-compliant ones.

5. We went through our codebase and added tests to check that when you delete an account, we really do go delete your data from external services as well (where applicable). The good thing is that GDPR compliance means that companies offering services do have to provide an API for this as well, so it’s now actually possible to do that.

6. We reviewed our security practices and added checks and processes with improved documentation.

7. We brought our password and signup handling in compliance to NIST 800-63-3 Authenticator Assurance Level (AAL) 1 -standard. This means e.g. that the minimum password length is now 8 characters and we do check on people trying to use “12345678” as their password.

8. We rewrote our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Service to be GDPR -compliant. Now they address the terms for underage users a lot better than before.

9. We added a new section about our Privacy Architecture to our Terms of Service-page to describe more exactly what kind of data we collect and where, and how we store and treat your data.

10. The topic of third-party embeds on images was the most interesting: The main issue with embedding content in a Thinglinked image is that upon viewing the image, your data is shared with the embedded site – if you embed a YouTube video, YouTube sees when the video opens without you getting a say on the matter. So after looking at different options, we decided to add a new consent screen on images and videos: if, the act of viewing and exploring the image would cause data to be shared with another site, we let you know before you proceed. We store the consent for some time, so you don’t have to keep clicking “Accept” every time you watch the image.

11. Finally, we trained the sales, support and developer staff about GDPR.

All in all, GDPR is a good thing, even though for the past few months it’s been a bit laborious. It enforces common, good practices and makes the Internet hopefully a bit better place for people.

If you have any questions about ThingLink’s compliance with GDPR, please reach out to support@thinglink.com!

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Sign Up for the 5th Annual ThingLink Teacher Summer Challenge!

We invite educators to take the 5th Annual ThingLink Summer Teacher Challenge. This highly popular, self-paced professional development opportunity provides educators with the tools and support needed to create engaging, interactive 360/VR lessons and student projects.  Learn to shift student learning from consumption to creation this summer by joining the ThingLink Teacher Challenge.

We will officially launch the learning on June 11th with a webinar. Then participants can take their time and progress through the activities at your own pace.

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May 17th celebration: A Virtual Field Trip to Norway

To celebrate the Norwegian Constitution Day, we decided to send a special greeting to our dear Scandinavian neighbors who are almost as happy as the Finns.  With love, we put together this virtual 360 degree tour to the stunningly beautiful land of fjords and fells. The tour starts from Laedal, goes through the longest road tunnel to Bergen, then takes a ferry to North, and ends up at a Constitution Day celebration party after a quick visit to Oslo.

Now, the only thing missing from this tour are the people! Do you have a story or memory from Norway? Here is what you can do:

a) Open the voice recorder on your phone and record an audio clip telling a special memory or story from Norway 

b) Open the ThingLink editor, clone any image from this tour to your own account, and make your own version of the trip! Add audio clips, notes, music, photos, videos, or anything you like –and share it onwards!

If you don’t have a ThingLink account yet, check out our new Premium Teacher plan!

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New Deals on ThingLink & Ricoh Theta


We are happy to share that ThingLink users can now purchase Ricoh Theta cameras with a partner discount code that gives 15% off any new purchase on the Ricoh US website. This means $30 off on the Ricoh Theta SC, and $60 off on the new Ricoh Theta V.  

Individual teachers and schools can use ThingLink and Ricoh Theta 360 camera to:

  • Take 360 images with students during field trips
  • Upload 360 images from computer hard drive or tablet directly to ThingLink editor
  • Easily add notes, audio, closeup photos or videos to 360 images
  • Copy and edit thousands of 360 presentations and tours created by other teachers
  • Embed interactive 360 images on any website
  • Directly record narration to 360 images on iPads

Planning for the new school year? ThingLink’s new starter account for schools ($500) lets teachers try 360 photo editing at $1/user. Sign up your school today and get started with immersive storytelling on thinglink.com/edu!

 

 

 

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Introducing our $35 Premium Teacher Plan for New Users

A new Premium Teacher plan: all features for one classroom

The new individual teacher plan includes all features, such as 360 editing, for one classroom (35 students) at $35 per year. The plan is available for new signups. Read more about who should sign up or transition to the new plan. 

UPGRADE TODAY

 

 

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Use ThingLink 360/VR to Make Connections in Your Community

by Tai Preuninger

ThingLink’s 360/VR media editor has allowed us to create virtual tours around our community. Students in grades K-3 learn about different jobs and roles of people in the community, like police and firemen. Local firemen gave us the grand tour of their station and gave us expert information to include in our tags that we embedded in the images. In this ThingLink, students can take a 360° ride in a fire engine, see actual training videos and visit places like the gear room and inside of an ambulance.

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Upcoming: Five Major Product Updates

We have very exiting news: in the next couple of weeks ThingLink is launching:

  • a new Premium teacher plan
  • a new school package
  • a new student management interface
  • a new version of the image editor, and
  • a new mobile creation experience.

Here are the main highlights for each:

A new Premium Teacher plan: all features for one classroom

The new individual teacher plan includes all features such as 360 editing for one classroom (35 students) at $35 per year. The plan will be available for new signups already this week! Read more about who should sign up or transition to the new plan. 

 

A new school package

Our new school starter package at $500 includes 500 accounts for use by teachers or students. This means new teachers in a school can now try ThingLink at much lower price ($1 per user). The school plan is designed to grow throughout the adoption phase, with the option to purchase additional accounts in increments of 250, or professional development on demand.

A new student management interface

The new interface offers more flexible ways to manage students and groups for individual teacher and school accounts. For example, teachers and school admins can now easily add more students to their account and see how many students have signed up. The new interface is available for teachers on Wednesday, May 2nd. 

New ThingLink editor

This new streamlined editor supports flat and 360 images with the same feature set. It features a new selection of layout templates for different types of content, which makes the creation flow faster and easier. The new editor will be available to our beta users users in May and all users in June.

 

New mobile creation experience

In addition to a new look and feel, the mobile editor supports direct audio recording to camera images. The iPad version that will be in the App Store in May, will support  audio recording to 360 images as well!

 

This is a lot to digest, but we believe these new features, packages and improvements will make ThingLink the most flexible and affordable immersive storytelling tool to improve digital literacy skills.

In the next weeks we will be writing about each feature in more detail based on the questions we get. We would like to invite you to join the discussion about new features on the ThingLink Education group on Facebook!

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Immersive learning for higher education

The challenges and opportunities for new technology integration at a large college or university are different than at an elementary school. Schools are bigger, shared facilities are crowded, students are quick to learn new technologies on their own, and research plays a bigger role. After my recent visit to Clemson University, I started putting together a list of use cases and applications for immersive learning for higher education. This list is work in progress, so feel free to email comments or additional suggestions!

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An Immersive Approach to Learning About Medieval Allegories with ThingLink 360/VR

by Licia Landi

Italian ThingLink Certified Educator Licia Landi has created a ThingLink 360 tour to help her 10th-grade students develop a new approach to Medieval allegories by actively engaging them in the learning process through immersive storytelling. Explore this interactive 360 image and be sure to click the book icon to learn more about the learning goals for this project.

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360/VR Tour of Colorado Life Zones using ThingLink

by Michelle Eckstein

Through project-based learning, students used 360 cameras, ThingLink 360/VR and a variety of multimedia tools to create virtual reality tours of Colorado. Students built knowledge by actively exploring actual ecosystems and discovering the landforms, animals, and plants that live in the -ecosystem. They then used ThingLink 360/VR to show what they had learned. ThingLink 360/VR was the perfect tool for both delivering content and having students show what they had learned.

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