COVID-19 lockdowns forced schools around the world to shut, and children moved online to continue with their learning. This may have compromised the data privacy of millions of children, according to a new analysis.
Non-profit Human Rights Watch analyzed 164 online education platforms across 49 countries, including the US, UK, India, and China. It found that 89% of these either monitored or could monitor kids’ online habits and usage, sometimes without parental knowledge or consent.
The platforms were all endorsed by various governments to help kids move to online learning during the pandemic. However, the apps harvested information on kids’ identities, the identities of their friends and family, where they’re located, what they’re learning in the classroom, and what kinds of devices they’re using, informing online profiles that could then be used to target ads at them.