An apparent data breach of Pearson's AIMsweb assessment platform that reportedly compromised the private information of nearly one million college students is at the center of a proposed class action lawsuit out of Illinois federal court.
A data breach that reportedly compromised the private information of nearly one million college students is at the center of a proposed class action lawsuit out of Illinois federal court.
Filed by the mother of a pseudonymous minor student, the lawsuit claims defendants Pearson plc (doing business as Pearson Clinical Assessments) and NCS Pearson, Inc. failed to properly safeguard the private information stored on their AIMSweb 1.0 platform. According to the suit, the defendants contract with approximately 13,000 schools to provide a digital assessment platform that requires students to enter their names, birthdates, email addresses, and unique student identification numbers before using the platform.
In March 2019, the FBI informed Pearson of a security breach that occurred on its AIMSweb platform and may have compromised students’ private data, the suit says. It wasn’t until late July 2019, however, that the defendants notified affected schools of the breach, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit argues that Pearson failed to maintain adequate security measures on its assessment platform to protect the data entrusted to it and had no system in place that was able to detect the breach. Moreover, the case claims the defendants negligently waited nearly five months to alert students that their information may have been compromised and offered them only one year of free credit monitoring as reparation. According to the suit, this solution is inadequate to repair the damage done to students, who now face a lifetime of heightened risks. From the complaint:
“These students now have to live the rest of their lives knowing that criminals have the ability to compile, build and amass their profiles for decades – exposing them to a never-ending threat of identity theft, extortion, bullying and harassment.”