Large corporations usually have robust market research divisions filled with thinkers and analysts who busy themselves daily trying to figure out how to stay ahead of their competition by anticipating consumer, business, and economic trends.
These folks aren’t reading tea leaves or glaring into crystal balls. They’re gathering and processing hard data so they can produce useful business intelligence for executives and CEOs to employ in a way that keeps the company successful and growing.
Google, on the other hand, does things differently. Instead of crunching numbers and researching market trends, they’d rather just spy on your kids.
As Phil Baker writes at PJ Media, Google is using school devices to spy on grade-school students in a way that would have certainly made Hitler’s Gestapo and Stalin’s KGB smile with glee:
Last week when I wrote about Google’s plans for spying in our homes, many commented how simple it would be to avoid the company’s peering eyes by just not buying Google products. But that’s not possible for millions of students in K-12 who are required to use Google products in their classrooms. And based on recent disclosures, Google is using their position to develop dossiers on students.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) noted further that school-issued devices powered by the search-and-media behemoth are enabling it to spy on kids as they learn.
“Students are using technology in the classroom at an unprecedented rate,” the EFF wrote in an executive summary of a new report on student spying. “One-third of all K-12 students in U.S. schools use school-issued devices. Google Chromebooks account for about half of those machines.”
Nationwide, “more than 30 million students, teachers, and administrators use Google’s G Suite for Education (formerly known as Google Apps for Education), and that number is rapidly growing,” the summary continued.
Over the course of a two-year investigation, EFF’s researchers found that education technology services are collecting lots of information on children that is unnecessary, then indefinitely store it once they’ve got it. No one who understands the gravity and seriousness of this massive privacy invasion can reasonably say the data just sits around and is never used by the tech companies who have stolen it.
What’s more, the data collection is seamless and takes place “automatically.”
“Some programs upload this student data to the cloud automatically and by default. All of this happens without the awareness or consent of students and their families,” the summary continued.
And to further enhance the data theft, educational technology is very often offered to school districts at greatly reduced prices — not because the tech companies like Google really care about education, but because the data eventually collected is, by far, worth much more over the long haul. (Related: Tech giants pull off epic “bait-and-switch” in turning against free speech.)
Conservative columnist and investigative journalist Michelle Malkin notes that Congress and Washington policymakers are co-conspirators in “the kiddie data heist,” which she says is “happening out in the open.”
“The recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act further enshrined government collection of personally identifiable information — including data collected on attitudes, values, beliefs and dispositions — and allows release of the data to third-party contractors thanks to Obama-era loopholes carved into the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act,” she wrote in April.
Malkin says it’s not just Google doing the unauthorized child data collection thing. Apple, Microsoft, Pearson, Knewton, and other companies offering cloud-connected educational technology are doing the same thing.
What’s more, she notes, there is no evidence that hooking students and teachers on whiz-bang electronic platforms and gadgets is improving academic performances.
Privacy in the digital age has vanished. Increasingly, outrage over our loss of privacy seems to have vanished as well.
Read more about the Orwellian loss of privacy at Orwellian.news.