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Wired has published an article on how apps intended to track students' activities continue to monitor them after school hours.
During the coronavirus pandemic in the US, pupils were given devices to conduct remote classes with pre-installed apps. They allow teachers to view and manage students' desktops live and use artificial intelligence to scan text from student emails and cloud documents, and to send alerts about potential threats of violence or mental health issues to educators and local law enforcement agencies after school hours.
Despite students' transition to the traditional method of education, the devices remain, as does the software pre-installed on it. In March 2022, Senators Warren and Markey initiated an investigation that found that companies selling student monitoring services raised “significant privacy and equity concerns.” The investigation found that low-income students are subject to more surveillance because they use school devices more, and the programs share data collected during non-school hours with third parties - such as police or immigration.
For example, Gaggle, a developer of student monitoring software, has been sending email warnings to students for innocuous content such as profanity in fiction submitted to the school literary magazine.
Although some students were not using school-issued computers after school hours, "questionable content" notices about pornographic pictures and profanities from students’ text messages reached one associate principal. It emerged that pupils had been charging their phones by connecting them to laptops via USB cables, and the software was downloading and analysing all the information on the devices.
As a result, 13 per cent of pupils knew someone who had been outed as a result of using the monitoring software.
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