By Benjamin Herold
April 15, 2014
Growing public concern about student-data privacy is prompting fresh scrutiny of the ways technology vendors handle children's educational information—and opening the gates for a flood of new questions and worries from advocates and school officials.
Take prominent ed-tech players Edmodo, Khan Academy, and Pearson.
Each already has access to the information of tens of millions of U.S. schoolchildren.
But a review of each group's privacy policies by two leading experts, conducted at the request of Education Week, yielded concerns about the use of tracking and surveillance technologies that allow third parties to gather information on students; questions about the collection, use, and sharing of massive amounts of student "metadata"; and criticism of the growing burden on students and families, who experts maintain are being forced to navigate an ever-shifting maze of dense vendor policies on their own.
Story Package: Student-Data Privacy
- Prominent Ed-Tech Players' Data-Privacy Policies Attract Scrutiny
- Ed. Industry Groups Outline Steps to Protect Privacy of Student Data
- Student-Data Privacy Guidelines: An Overview
- State Lawmakers Ramp Up Attention to Data Privacy
"We're just scratching the surface with our understanding of how the education sector is gathering and looking to monetize student information," said Joel R. Reidenberg, a law professor at Fordham University, in New York, and Princeton University. "We as a society need to have a very clear discussion about how we want to protect the privacy of our children in this environment."
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