EdTech: Surveillance Tracker

Students shouldn’t have to trade their right to privacy in order to access their right to an education.

The use of Education Technology (EdTech) has been expanding rapidly all over the world, accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

That expansion frequently hasn't been accompanied by appropriate safeguards or responsible practices, from data protection to procurement to respect for human rights - too many EdTech solutions and schools that use them are falling short of human rights protections.

We have been tracking the use of EdTech around the world to better understand the trends and shortcomings and strengthen ours and others understanding regarding these issues.

This page will be updated as we find more examples and stories about EdTech from all around the world.

01 Feb 2023
The UK Information Commissioner's Office has reprimanded North Ayrshire council for installing iPayimpact facial recognition technology in nine schools without obtaining adequate consent. The system was intended to speed cashless lunch payments. The council withdrew the system and deleted the data
23 Jan 2023
A security flaw in the mandatory "Diksha" app operated by the Education Ministry, which became an important tool for giving students access to coursework while at home during the pandemic, exposed the data of millions of Indian students and teachers for more than a year when a cloud server hosted on
19 Jan 2023
The Mississippi legislature has introduced a bill that would require public schools and postsecondary institutions to install video surveillance cameras that record audio throughout their campuses, including in classrooms, auditoriums, cafeterias, gyms, hallways, recreational areas, and along each
22 Dec 2022
In a preliminary ruling, the administrative court of Montreuil suspended the use of algorithmic e-proctoring software called TestWe after students at the Institute of Distant Study of the University of Paris 8 brought a legal case, assisted by La Quadrature du Net. The plaintiffs argued that the
20 Dec 2022
The pro-Ukrainian hacker group NLB Team leaked the personal data of more than 17 million children and parents who used Moscow Electronic School, an online learning platform that was built by the Moscow city government in 2016 and was its primary method of delivery online education during the covid
09 Dec 2022
In an unprecedented interim ruling, a student has provided sufficient facts to uphold a complaint that the Free University discriminated against her when its anti-cheating algorithm failed to log her in via face detection, likely due to the darker colour of her skin. The university has ten weeks to
22 Nov 2022
The French minister of national education and youth has advised schools not to use the free versions of Microsoft Office 365 and Google Workspace because French public procurement contracts require payment. Paid versions may be allowed if they do not violate data protection rules, including a 2020
22 Nov 2022
In a report, the Privacy Coimmissioner of Canada has said that online proctoring tools used to conduct remote exams fail to get sufficiently free, clear, and individual consent from students. Besides this overreach, the report identifies factors that may trigger false alerts and errors in the
18 Nov 2022
In a report, the Center for Democracy and Technology finds that student privacy laws are insufficient to protect students in the face of increasing use of remote education technologies and insufficient staff and other resources. CDT examined the practices of 43 local education authorities and their
10 Nov 2022
German data protection authorities have ruled that the use of Microsoft Office 365 in schools is not compliant with GDPR, citing a lack of transparency around how and where Microsoft processes and stores student data as well as the potential for third-party access. German federal and state data
20 Oct 2022
Ohio teenager Aaron Ogletree has won a lawsuit he filed against Cleveland State University after he was required to pan a webcam around his bedroom to eliminate possible cheating before taking a remote exam. The court agreed that Ogletree's Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the scanning
30 Sep 2022
At least 37 US colleges and universities, as well as numerous school district, have repurposed Social Sentinel (recently renamed Navigate360 Detect) to help campus police surveil student protests. The software is marketed as a safety tool that can scan students' social media posts and university
15 Sep 2022
US parents have reported receiving an explicit and deliberately shocking image after hackers attacked the primary school learning app Seesaw. Seesaw has 10 million users, who include teachers, students, and family members. The company said the hackers had not gained administrative access, but had
02 Sep 2022
In September 2022, the UK Department for Education announced that under a £270,000 contract with Suffolk-based Wonde Ltd it would collect data on children's school attendance and potentially share it with other government departments and third parties as part of its drive to raise attendance. A
25 Aug 2022
A US federal judge has ruled in the case Ogiltree v. Cleveland State University that "room scans", the common requirement in remotely proctored exams to provide a 360-degree scan of the area in which students are taking tests, are an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment. Often these areas
13 Aug 2022
During a remotely proctored online exam, a number of students on the Bar Professional Training Course urinated in bottles and buckets and wore adult diapers rather than risk the possibility that their exam would be terminated if they left their screens long enough to go to the toilet. The Bar
03 Aug 2022
The 32-year-old Americans with Disabilities Act is failing to protect neurodivergent students from school monitoring and risk assessment software that treats any divergence from stereotypically "normal" behaviour as a harm to both the students themselves and others. Remote proctoring software
03 Aug 2022
Even though schools are back in session in person, their teachers can still monitor the screens on their school-issued devices via software such as GoGuardian. In a new report from the Center for Democracy and Technology, 89% of teachers say their schools will continue to use student-monitoring
01 Aug 2022
In a report, the UK's Digital Futures Commission warns that the explosion of use of education technology brings risks to children's privacy, especially that the data it collects, much of it personally identifiable, will be entered into the heavily commercial global data ecosystem, with uncertain
28 Jul 2022
The Welsh Local Government Association is collaborating with the Centre for Digital Public Services on an 8-to-12-week discovery project to help local authorities to understand schools' requirements for information management systems and understand the market offerings in order to formulate a needs
08 Jul 2022
Following the US Supreme Court's Dobbs decision that paved the way for states to enact legislation criminalising abortion, health advocates warn that the surveillance software schools use to algorithmically monitor students' messages and search terms could be weaponised against teens looking for
25 May 2022
A report finds that most of the education technology endorsed by 49 governments in the rush to online learning during the covid-19 pandemic puts at risk or directly violates the privacy and rights of children for purposes unrelated to their education. Such platforms track children across the
19 Apr 2022
Intel, in partnership with the software company Classroom Technologies, has developed an AI facial analysis system ("Class") by training an algorithmic model based on labels psychologists applied to the emotions they could detect in videos of students in real-life classrooms. The software is
19 Oct 2021
A new report from the education news site The 74 Million finds that in-school digital surveillance programs are flagging LGBTQ+ content as "pornographic". For example, Gaggle, comprehensive monitoring software implemented in the Minneapolis public school system, has led administrators to notify
12 Oct 2010
In a 2010 case, the Lower Merion school district in suburban Philadelphia school district agreed to pay $610,000 to settle two lawsuits brought by students who had discovered that the webcams attached to their school-issued laptops had secretly taken hundreds of photographs of them in their homes