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New Article by Richard Stallman: Many Governments Encourage Schools to Let Companies Snoop on Students

Human Rights Watch studied 164 software programs and web sites recommended by various governments for schools to make students use. It found that 146 of them gave data to advertising and tracking companies.



The researchers were thorough and checked for various snooping methods, including fingerprinting of devices to identify users. The targets of the investigation were not limited to programs and sites specifically “for education;” they included, for instance, Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

I expect that each program collected personal data for its developer. I'm not sure whether the results counted that, but they should. Once the developer company gets personal data, it can provide that data to advertising profilers, as well as to other companies and governments, and it can engage directly in manipulation of students and teachers.

The recommendations Human Rights Watch makes follow the usual approach of regulating the use of data once collected. This is fundamentally inadequate; personal data, once collected, will surely be misused.

The only approach that makes it possible to end massive surveillance starts with demanding that the software be free. Then users will be able to modify the software to avoid giving real data to companies.

The original here.

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