Report: 96% of K-12 Apps Share Student Data With Third Parties

20 Dec 2022 11:22 #1 by ScienceChic
In the first decade of having a smart phone, I downloaded anything that looked fun (games, fish aquariums, etc) and didn't think anything of it. Now, I pause long and hard before adding any new app to my phone and review all the privacy/data sharing it tries to setup right away. I haven't been doing this with my teenager's phone and any school apps they were told to get; thankfully, when I asked, I was informed everything is done in Google Classroom and no apps are used. Be sure you are checking your kids' phones as well. And delete TikTok while you're at it.

Report: 96% of K-12 Apps Share Student Data With Third Parties
According to the nonprofit Internet Safety Labs, most ed-tech software tools share student data with third parties, in many cases without user consent, and schools should treat data privacy as an enterprise IT problem.
Giovanni Albanese, GovTech | December 13, 2022

The nine-person ISL team, funded by the Internet Society Foundation, looked into 13 schools in each state as well as Washington, D.C., viewing information from 663 schools in all — 12 public and one private per state, in urban and rural areas, and evenly divided by grade, covering an estimated 455,882 students.

The study found the schools collectively recommended 1,722 different apps, and ISL tested 1,357 of those. All told, the researchers collected 88,000 data points on the apps and more than 29,000 data points on the schools, the release said.

The ISL report said that while schools are trying to be helpful by providing more technology — an average of 125 technologies per school, or an average of 172 among schools that had some kind of vetting process — more is not better, given the poor scores of the apps in their research. Of the 96 percent of the apps that share data with third parties, 78 percent of the time it was with advertising and data analytics entities, and often without user consent, the release said. LeVasseur said most of the time, it was when schools used custom apps.

"Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.” -King T'Challa, Black Panther

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