[PRIVACY] Is Google Spying On Students?
Educational technology, or “ed tech,” has taken over American classrooms as thoroughly as Burmese pythons have taken over the Florida Everglades. With the overwhelming invasion of laptops, Chromebooks, cloud-based and desktop apps has come a host of new concerns about student privacy and just what early exposure to technology does to kids.
Data Collection Is Expanding in Schools
In public and private schools, ed tech companies are collecting personal data such as kids’ names, birth dates, browsing histories, location data, and more, often without the knowledge and consent of parents, or even of school administrators, according to a new report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
EFF’s report, “Spying on Students: School-Issued Devices and Student Privacy,” comes from online surveys and face-to-face interviews with over 1,000 parents, teachers, school IT managers, and other stakeholders. It reveals a disturbing lack of meaningful privacy protections for students, and schools’ resistance to letting students opt out of school-provided ed tech.
EFF identified 152 different ed tech apps through its surveys. Only 118 had published privacy policies. Very few of those privacy policies went into important details such as data retention, encryption, de-identification, and aggregation.
Perhaps most disturbing, ed tech is teaching children as young as five to hand over their personal information on demand. It’s not uncommon for a student to have multiple ed tech online accounts, each including a “teachable moment” when it requires personal information.
Google seems to dominate the classrooms of EFF’s survey sample, although ed tech firms Pearson and McGraw-Hill are also mentioned by participants. “One-third of all K-12 students in U.S. schools use school-issued devices. Google Chromebooks account for about half of those machines. Across the U.S., more than 30 million students, teachers, and administrators use Google’s G Suite for Education (formerly known as Google Apps for Education), and that number is rapidly growing.”
"You Can Check Out Any Time You Like..."
Parents expressed great frustration to EFF surveyors when discussing efforts to get information from schools. Several parents said their students were issued devices and signed up for online accounts without their knowledge or consent.
On the other hand, EFF gives the example of a rural, heavily Amish school district in Indiana. “The schools provide students and their parents with a “menu” of options for opting out. In addition to FERPA-compliant options for whether or not students’ names and pictures can appear in the school directory, yearbook, website, etc., families can separately choose whether or not they want their student to use technology in the classroom.”
We haven't even touched on the issue of how much screen time is too much for younger kids, how early access to computers affects learning and cognitive abilities, or the health effects of smartphones, tablets and laptops on children. Do a little searching on your own, and let me know what you think.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 20 Apr 2017
|For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.|
Geekly Update - 19 April 2017
The Top Twenty
The Best Mobile Network For You?
Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions
Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter
Copyright © 2005
- Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Article information: AskBobRankin -- [PRIVACY] Is Google Spying On Students? (Posted: 20 Apr 2017)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved