Report: Tech Companies Are Spying on Children Through Devices and Software Used in Classroom
By Richard Chang 04/17/17
according to a new report from the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), “Spying on Students: School-Issued Devices and Student Privacy”
shows that state and federal laws, as well as industry self-regulation, have failed to keep up with a growing education technology industry.
One-third of all K–12 students in the United States use school-issued devices running software and apps that collect far more information on kids than is necessary.
Resource-poor school districts can receive these tools at deeply discounted prices or for free, as tech companies seek a slice of the $8 billion ed tech industry. But there’s a real, devastating cost — the tracking, cataloging and exploitation of data about children as young as 5 years old.
Our report shows that the surveillance culture begins in grade school, which threatens to normalize the next generation to a digital world in which users hand over data without question in return for free services
EFF surveyed more than 1,000 stakeholders across the country, including students, parents, teachers and school administrators, and reviewed 152 ed tech privacy policies.
“Spying on Students” provides comprehensive recommendations for parents, teachers, school administrators and tech companies to improve the protection of student privacy. Asking the right questions, negotiating for contracts that limit or ban data collection, offering families the right to opt out, and making digital literacy and privacy part of the school curriculum are just a few of the 70-plus recommendations for protecting student privacy contained in the report.
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