The Scary Truth on Why Data Mining of Students is a Human Rights Issue Your Information Should Not be for Sale and Tracked.
Question: Do you believe school administrators and third parties when they assure parents/taxpayers that personally identifiable student data is safe? Are you one of “those people” who don’t want federal/state agencies and third parties to use personally identifiable student information for compliance to non-governmental written policies? Are you concerned about how this data is being used? Compiling data can create stalking opportunities under the guise of “personalized instruction”. The gathering of student data creates data sets to determine whether or not your child fits the parameters of what the workforce needs…one assessment at a time.
An example of how personalized data can be unknowingly shared with others is illustrated in an article from a woman using a running app which tracks her progress. The author contends it is imperative that privacy settings are used to protect her (and other wormen) from those not invited by her to view her data. She used basic privacy settings while training but didn’t know about all the steps necessary to mask her data from unknown users. At least there is that option for this fitness app. Students don’t have that right while they are being datamined in schools.
As a lifelong runner, I’ve become adept at predicting the best times, routes, and strategies to jog in cities while avoiding street harassers. From circumventing stops at traffic lights to steadfastly avoiding eye contact with passersby, I’ve adopted behaviors that are unfortunately standard practice for a lot of urban women. But recently, when using the social fitness tracking app Strava, I noticed a different kind of potential threat—one I wasn’t prepared for.
After I’d completed my usual 5-kilometer loop near my London flat, a stranger I didn’t know “liked” my workout—even though I had enabled stricter privacy settings, which I thought would shield my workouts from public view. This happened several more times while I jogged the same route, and then again when I was on vacation in Barcelona. Alarmed at the idea of that strangers could see the routes I run on two or three times a week, I embarked on an investigation into the privacy settings of Strava. What I learned wasn’t reassuring for an urban woman—or anyone concerned about location-based privacy.
It should be said that for many Strava users, the whole point of the app is to receive “kudos”—Strava’s equivalent of an Instagram like—from strangers. Indeed, for the (mostly male) users who dominate Strava’s feature discussion forum, the public and granular nature of Strava’s user data is what allows them to compare, compete, and quantify their performance with rigorous attention to detail. Tracking everything from speed and elevation to calories burned and personal records, Strava’s users can see how they are progressing against their past performance, and compared to users who run or cycle the same routes.
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The writer has the option to disable settings and not use the app at all. Students are discouraged from opting out of computerized assessments and there is no “no sharing” button on school computers. There is no accountability to students/parents on where that data is going and for what purpose. That sure sounds like stalking….doesn’t it?
Meet Bobby, the newest member of the eScholar myTrack team. We think that educators have a lot of students like Bobby, students who have things that they want to do, but aren’t always sure how to get there. Check out the video to see how Bobby and his team of supporters use myTrack to help him reach his goals. What do you think? Do you have any students like Bobby?
Like Strava’s data, “Bobby’s” data allows third party researchers/federal & state agencies to compare, compete, and quantify their performance with rigorous attention to detail. Tracking everything from assessment scores and social emotional data, unknown federal/state agencies and third parties can see how students are progressing against their past performance, and compared to users who are tested on the same assessments.