As many students know, school districts across the U.S. have started to implement technology into the classroom. A majority of students are given school Chromebook computers and required to use school emails during class to view assignments and homework, but few people stop to question why this is happening and how it is impacting students.
Currently, on the Internet, everyone is giving up rights when signing up for free applications like social media and email. The privacy that we once assumed was ensured no longer is because so many individuals are trusting corporations like Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. with their private information. Our personal information no longer belongs to us when we have these accounts. Major corporations own our data and use it to make money for themselves therefore not keeping customers safe or protecting our rights. These companies use our private history and personal data to make money from advertisers. This is happening to all users, and very few of them know about it.
School emails and Google Classroom like the other applications above jeopardize our right to privacy. More than half of K-12 laptops/tablets purchased by schools are Chromebooks, and 50 million students and counting around the world use Google programs.“The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects students’ “educational records,” including personally identifiable information. The data that students often use to log into a Chromebook or Google Apps for Education — like name, student number, and birthday — is covered by FERPA. Under FERPA, this data generally can’t be shared with third parties — including Google — without written parental consent,” but no parents are being asked for their consent which is frankly disquieting. Parents know nothing about the data being collected about their kids from Google in the classroom.
With this law in mind, it would be normal to assume that student data is protected from Google. Google, however, is able to create profiles on students when they use other Google services that are not for educational purposes. The advocacy group EFF states that “a feature automatically turned on in Chromebooks — including those sold to schools — runs afoul of Google’s privacy pledge.” Students using Chromebooks are constantly being monitored if they don’t own any other device and are not aware of how to turn this feature off.
The link below shows students how to prevent the feature on Chromebooks. Check it out!
We students need to protect our right of privacy and defend ourselves as best we can.
As Edward Snowden said, “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things… I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”
If you are concerned about this feature and the actions being done by Google, as I am, look at the link above to disable the privacy feature on your Chromebook and follow this blog for more info about how to move forward.