EdTech firms collect biometric data about children’s educational, social and emotional skills, and use the data to train and improve their artificial intelligence (AI) software.
The COVID-19 outbreak has led to more than 90% of the world’s students not physically attending schools. As a result, schools worldwide are turning to online learning service providers, or education technology commonly known as EdTech.
Market analysts expect the emerging “smart education” market to be worth about $680 billion by 2027. But the EdTech industry’s ability to collect massive amounts of data on students and its potential to transform curricula has groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) concerned.
In March, the ACLU warned:
“Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented opportunity for EdTech companies to make the use of their privacy-violating educational products nearly universal, there is a real risk that these companies, under the guise of a generous act, will use this opportunity to create personal information dossiers on an entire generation of young Americans.”
There is a real risk that EdTech companies will use the COVID-19 pandemic to create personal information dossiers on an entire generation of young Americans.https://t.co/RIndTYwT1o— ACLU 🗳 (@ACLU) April 5, 2020