Common Core Computers Pearson Privacy and Privacy Rights Technology Testing

Stephanie Simon: Who Is Spying on Your Children?

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Ever wonder who does the fun job of reading your children’s tweets, Facebook pages, and Instagrams? Stephanie Simon has done the investigative work, on behalf of, but really on behalf of parents and children across America.

In the new age of Common Core and online testing, student privacy is dead.

Simon visits companies that do the “monitoring.” She calls them “Common Core’s cyber-spies.”

She writes:

“Pearson is hardly the only company keeping a watchful eye on students.

“School districts and colleges across the nation are hiring private companies to monitor students’ online activity, down to individual keystrokes, to scan their emails for objectionable content and to scrutinize their public posts on Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Instagram and other popular sites. The surveillance services will send principals text-message alerts if a student types a suspicious phrase or surfs to a web site that raises red flags.

“A dozen states have tried to limit cyber snooping by banning either colleges or K-12 schools, or both, from requesting student user names and passwords, which could be used to pry open social media accounts protected by privacy settings. Among those taking action: California, Illinois, Michigan and Utah.

“At least five other states, among them New York and Maryland, are considering similar laws this session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“But such laws protect only accounts marked as private. Many kids post publicly to build up their online followings.

“And when they do, companies with names like Social Sentinel, Geo Listening, Varsity Monitor and UDiligence are there to read them.
The rise of online student monitoring comes at a time of rising parent protests against other forms of digital surveillance — namely, the vast quantities of data that technology companies collect on kids as they click through online textbooks, games and homework. Companies providing those online resources can collect millions of unique data points on a child in a single day. Much of that information is not protected by federal privacy law.”

Think of it: these companies “can collect millions of unique data points on a child in a single day.”

And that’s not all:

“Some of the monitoring software on the market can track and log every keystroke a student makes while using a school computer in any location, including at home…..

“Sometimes the monitoring is covert: One company advertises that its surveillance software, known as CompuGuardian, can run on “stealth mode.” At the other extreme, some high schools and colleges explicitly warn students that they are being watched and advise them not to cling to “a false sense of security about your rights to freedom of speech.”

Privacy is dead. Privacy is dead. Yes, your children are being watched. Companies you never heard of have collected vast amounts of information about them.

As the CEO of Sun Microsystems famously said in 1999, “you have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.”

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