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FTC to crack down on companies that illegally surveil children learning online

  • 200 points
  • 13 days ago

  • @mooreds
  • Created a post

FTC to crack down on companies that illegally surveil children learning online


@NetBeck 12 days

Replying to @mooreds 🎙

The FTC signaled this move and others earlier this month.[1]

>“During the pandemic reliance on these technologies really dramatically increased and Americans are now often dependent on these key digital tools and services to navigate their day to day lives,”

>“Children should not be required to sign up for surveillance in order to sign up to do their schoolwork,” Khan said Wednesday.

[1] https://thehill.com/policy/technology/3516884-ftc-chair-khan...

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@nimbius 12 days

Replying to @mooreds 🎙

eh, i guess a whole twenty years into remote learning, and restricted solely to minors, is certainly a step for the FTC to champion.

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@verisimi 12 days

Replying to @mooreds 🎙

But it's fine for google, m$?

I'm more concerned with the huge corporations. I think they are the worst.

Legislation like this actually creates a bar to smaller companies. The big corps are already in, aren't they just passing legislation to prevent competition?

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@ro_bit 12 days

Replying to @mooreds 🎙

Is it just me or has the US Government been doing a lot of actions recently. Just today I saw two other articles about how the gov is cracking down on Juul, some anti right to repair company, etc. Is it just all getting published now?

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@Kim_Bruning 12 days

Replying to @mooreds 🎙

EU officials have been noticing this kind of thing already. It's great that officials in the USA are starting to take notice too.

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@kornhole 12 days

Replying to @mooreds 🎙

What about those of us over 18?

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@SamuelAdams 12 days

Replying to @mooreds 🎙

Why stop at children? College students have been increasingly surveilled during the pandemic and the shift to online education.

The popular tool Lock Down Browser is more or less spyware that takes over your device, monitors every click, and watches every movement. And yet most colleges and universities can’t reliably detect cheating even with this tool.

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@aluminaient 12 days

Replying to @mooreds 🎙

Nonprofit FairPlay [1] lobbies specifically for this kind of stuff. Consider donating!

[1] https://fairplayforkids.org/

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@aluminaient 12 days

Replying to @mooreds 🎙

Nonprofit FairPlay [1] lobbies specifically for this kind of stuff. Consider donating!

[1] https://fairplayforkids.org/

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@awinter-py 12 days

Replying to @mooreds 🎙

the actual guidelines in the linked pdf are not useful. it does seem to allow, for example, using the content of stuff kids write to train stats models. (writing content = 'reasonably necessary to participate in the service', guideline 1, and training a model isn't 'unrelated to provision of school requested service', guideline 2). and the trained model is no longer PII, but can definitely be used to advertise to kids on youtube. (via awareness of topics they like, for example).

there are no strong anonymity requirements. no discussion of merging student's profile with their google ad profile in N years when they're out of school, or defaulting to being logged in in the browser.

this reads like the ftc has no idea what the harms here are and is unwilling to come down on schools for requesting things that are dystopian, like eye tracking in exams.

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@encryptluks2 12 days

Replying to @mooreds 🎙

This is partly the fault of school systems. During the pandemic with online learning they had my kids bring their Chromebooks home to do online classes. Their solution for every issue was to install more and more Chrome extensions and services connected to their Google Account mostly which also synced with their email.

Half of them clearly stated that they were collecting data and yet that school didn't have the kids sign any release from the parents. These are kids under 13 years old BTW. Essentially, the school decided for parents it was okay for random Chinese and other apps to spy on students without the parents permission.

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@dr_dshiv 12 days

Replying to @mooreds 🎙

What are the ethical implications of NOT using student learning data to support student learning? How will this ruling affect the development of adaptive or personalized learning systems? How will it, for instance, affect the ability to identify learning gaps at scale based on race or gender?

A kid’s world is overloaded with advertising optimization in their games, videos and online experiences. It happens whenever kids don’t announce themselves as kids. I’m worried that this ruling won’t do anything about hyper optimized advertisements but will create meaningful barriers to the data-driven improvement of educational software.

Keep in mind that most edtech companies are decades behind other technology companies in their use of user data. That’s because the kids don’t pay, so optimizing their experiences or learning outcomes don’t meaningfully affect the bottom line. In this context, framing the use of student learning data as “surveillance” is very cynical.

To give an example, this ruling appears to forbid the use of formative assessment data (patterns of what students know or don’t know) to build adaptive learning systems. If so, that would significantly impair edtech innovation.

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@noasaservice 12 days

Replying to @mooreds 🎙

Will this also hit that disgusting Proctorio garbage as well?

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