- Ed tech start-ups do not prioritize student privacy in their products.
In 2017, a team from Carnegie-Mellon surveyed ed tech start -ups to see how the individuals involved in creating these businesses viewed the importance of protecting student privacy in the design of their products. They found that it was a low priority for most of them — primarily because their investors did not appear to have a “meaningful interest” in the issue. The results of the study were covered widely here and here. A summary of the findings are here .
- Most school technology leaders fail to take basic security steps to safeguard their data.
Only 15 percent say they have a cybersecurity plan for their districts, according to a survey by COSN and Ed Week, and only 19% have had their security practices independently audited. Nearly three fourths of IT leaders say they are not “adding security safeguards to vendor negotiations.”
- Districts do not demand research validation before buying ed-tech products.
Researchers from the University of Virginia surveyed district technology decision-makers and found the following: When making purchasing and adoption decisions regarding a new technology-based product, only 11 percent of district leaders said they require a peer-reviewed study showing it is effective. An even smaller number – 3 percent — demand that the research be done independently from the company. Articles about these findings are here and here; the 2017 study is here.
- Many apps targeted at children collect their data for marketing purposes.
A team of U Cal Berkeley professors tested more than 5000 apps targeted to children on the Google Play website. They found that more than half of these apps failed to protect children’s privacy a and were collecting their data for advertising purposes without parent consent — in violation of COPPA. See the article here. One can search Android apps here; apps categorized as “Educational” or “Education” here. Class Dojo, a widely used classroom app used for behavior control, was found to have multiple tracking identifiers including location, android advertising ID, android ID, phone configuration, and more.