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Remote learning apps are selling your kids’ data at an alarming rate

Almost every remote learning app is in the business of selling user data.

kid on zoom
Image: Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it a major change in the way children go to school. The prevalence of virtual learning has skyrocketed and, like most online platforms, these virtual learning apps are harvesting tons of data from the kids using them.

A recent report from Human Rights Watch tells how nearly 90 percent of the EdTech products it reviewed have been harvesting children’s data and selling it to third parties. The study spanned 49 different countries.

Researchers studied those platforms and found that they had been selling access to the data they collected to several other companies, mainly ad tech platforms.

“In the process of endorsing and ensuring their wide adoption during COVID-19 school closures, governments offloaded the true costs of providing online education onto children, who were unknowingly forced to pay for their learning with their rights to privacy, access to information, and potentially freedom of thought,” reads a section from the report.

READ MORE: Tim Hortons, a Canadian treasure, has been spying on everyone

Essentially, these educational programs are profiting off of children. And it’s the same data harvesting practice that major companies, like Google and Facebook, have been doing for years.

And governments are unknowingly promoting this kind of activity by pushing certain educational platforms for the purpose of remote learning.

This is yet another example of the dangers that online tracking has become to everyone. The advertising industry pays a premium for harvested data. At the same time, users continue to have less control over the kind of data that websites and apps collect.

While there has been some progress towards protecting privacy online, it’s obviously not enough. Virtual learning has even put children in the crosshairs of major ad tech companies who answer only to the almighty dollar.

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