The sideshow of Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to the Senate regarding his company’s role in the Cambridge Analytica debacle is a stark reminder of how little we know about what happens with the information we post online. How much are these new Internet-based platforms and data-crunching services impacting our society? Where does our data really go and what do “they” do with it?
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has been a stalwart champion defending the digital rights of citizens since the Internet was called The Information Highway. A big part of that mission has always focused on student rights. Just a few weeks ago, their researchers posted an update to their efforts (“It’s Time to Make Student Privacy a Priority,”). The short form is not pretty: The FTC has ignored the EFF’s student privacy complaint against Google, which was filed in 2015; EFF claims there is a consistent lack of transparency in edtech privacy policies and practices in districts; the investigative burden too often falls on students and parents; and edtech vendors treat existing privacy law as if it doesn’t apply to them. The list goes on.
There are no concrete answers to these issues and concerns. To be honest, I’m not quite sure there is anything we as citizens can do about it except to remain aware and educated. In the meantime, don’t answer any Facebook quizzes!
— Kevin Hogan