On-line training as a supply of violation of kids’s privateness

This report, signed by Hye Jung Han, a researcher and lawyer specializing in children’s rights at Human Rights Watch, reports on the impact of educational technologies, known as EdTech, on children’s privacy. The global survey examined the technological support of 49 countries, including France, which children used during imprisonment and pandemics.

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

These platforms – applications, websites – have made it possible to indicate the presence of children at the class and at a distance. Many of them come from private companies, although several have been set up by the public administration, such as the National Distance Learning Center (CNED), which has made the “My Virtual Classes” facility available free of charge to all teachers and their students.

Dark privacy practices

The term “EdTech” includes a single set of organizations (essentially startups), which are endowed with innovative technological know-how, specially dedicated knowledge, their learning as well as their transfer. For example, according to the Human Rights Watch report, children whose families had access to the Internet and connected facilities, or who made great sacrifices to do so, were exposed to the privacy practices of the EdTech products they were to use during Covid. -19 school closures.

An analysis conducted between March and August 2021 led to the following conclusions: Of the 164 EdTech products reviewed, recommended by the 49 governments audited, 146 (89%) engage in practices considered “dangerous” personal data processing. 91 of them are websites, 39 applications and 34 available in both formats.

According to the study, privacy is a human right “. However, the companies brought to the attention of the organization use, among other things, identification numbers to track children; increased supervision by school Wi-Fi modems; geographic tracking. It is worse to track and record children’s fingerprints. Problem: consent does not apply here because the child cannot, by definition, conclude a contract.

There was no doubt that the platforms and tools used could be dangerous. This has never been questioned. lamented the mother of two schoolchildren in Izhevsk, Russia.

France, on the other hand, is doing quite well: the report regularly states that among the countries that have collected little data, its privacy policy is considered satisfactory. There are also 3 learning platforms: Jules, My class at home and MaSpéMaths.

Necessary audits

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

As the confidentiality of EdTech data was widely abused during the pandemic, HRW urges governments to conduct audits of that confidentiality and to remove from its catalog companies that fail the audit, immediately alerting parents, children and teachers whose data may have been collected. infringing platforms.

Ministries of education also have a role to play: they must now demand that all educational societies identify, prevent and mitigate the negative effects on children’s rights, including in the context of their business relations and their global operations. The conclusion of written contracts with these suppliers would reduce the dangers associated with personal data.

Finally, third-party companies that are in contact with EdTech – for advertising or otherwise – should now inventory and identify all child data they have received through EdTech, and take steps to immediately erase that data and ensure that does not process, share or use.

The complete study is available at this address.

Credits: Unsplash / Emily Wade

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