Online education as a source of infringement of children’s privacy

The report, signed by Hai Jung Han, a researcher and lawyer specializing in children’s rights at Human Rights Watch, reports on the impact of educational technology known as EdTech on children’s personal lives. The global survey examined technical assistance from 49 countries, including France, which children used during captivity and epidemics.

Human Rights Watch worked with four children in India, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey: they took part in an in-depth investigation to find out how an EdTech app recommended by their government managed their privacy. The NGO also interviewed children and their parents from 17 countries.

These platforms – applications, websites – have made it possible to track the presence of children in the classroom and even from a distance. Many of them come from private companies, even those created by a number of public services, such as the National Center for Distance Education (CNED), which has made free “My Virtual Classes” available to all teachers and their students. Instruments.

Practice dark privacy

The term “EdTech” refers to an integrated set of companies (basically) Startup) Which is rich in innovative technological knowledge, especially knowledge, dedicated to its learning as well as its transmission. For example, according to a report by Human Rights Watch, families of children who had access to the Internet and connected devices, or who made great sacrifices to do so, faced the privacy practices of the EdTech products they were asked to use during Covid. -19 School closed.

The analysis conducted between March and August 2021 reached the following conclusions: Of the 164 EdTech products reviewed, 49 were reviewed and recommended by the government, and 146 (89%) appear to be involved in the practice of processing “dangerous” personal data. Of these, 91 are websites, 39 are applications, and 34 are available in both formats

The study noted, Privacy is a human right “However, companies directed by the company use identification numbers to identify children, among other things; increased surveillance by school Wi-Fi modems; tracking by geographical location. Worse, tracking and recording of children’s fingerprints. Problem: Consent does not apply here, Since a child, by definition, cannot enter into a contract.

There is no doubt that used platforms and tools can be dangerous. This question was not asked. The mother of two schoolchildren in Russia’s Izhevsk has mourned.

France is doing better: The report regularly states that while countries have collected little information, their privacy protection policies are considered satisfactory. 3 learning platforms are also mentioned: Jules, My Class at Home and MaSpéMaths.

Necessary audit

Following these analyzes, Human Rights Watch, which condemns the significant lack of data protection for the younger generation, provides a series of recommendations aimed at governments, ministries and companies in the 49 countries studied.

Since the privacy of EdTech data has been widely abused during the epidemic, HRW has called on the government to conduct audits on the said privacy and to remove from its catalogs companies that fail this audit – immediately alerting parents, children and teachers whose data is being collected. By offensive platform.

The Ministry of Education also has a role to play: they must demand, now, that all educational institutions identify, prevent and mitigate the negative effects on children’s rights, including the context of their business relations and their global activities. Concluding written agreements with these suppliers will reduce the underlying risk of personal information.

Finally, third party companies, for advertising, or otherwise – contacting EdTech companies, should, until now, inventory and identify all child-related data obtained through EdTech companies and take immediate action to ensure that this data is deleted and processed, shared or Not used.

Complete studies are available at this address.

Credit: Unsplash / Emily Wade

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