#StudentsNotProducts Accomplishments

Just over a year since launch, governments and companies in the United States, India, Brazil, France, Indonesia, and have taken concrete steps to protect millions of children. Several other governments and companies have opened investigations into their EdTech products. Read more below about these successes and HRW’s continued advocacy.

The United States

Photo by: Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

India

Photo by: Ashish Vaishnav/Sipa via AP Images

Brazil

Image by HRW

In May 2022, the US Federal Trade Commission made history by suing Edmodo, an online learning company featured in the #StudentsNotProducts report, for collecting and using children’s data to target them with behavioral advertising. The commission proposed a $6 million fine.

President Joe Biden has called on Congress to pass comprehensive child data protection laws, and the Surgeon General has appealed to policymakers to compel companies to protect children’s privacy. It’s time for the United States to pass strong digital laws protecting all children. (HRW)

A member of India’s parliament called upon the government to protect children in online education. India’s government had exposed the personal data of nearly 600,000 children through its learning app. The exposure has since been fixed. The Indian government announced a third-party security audit of Diksha, the educational app it owns and uses to provide online education to students in grades 1 to 12. The government also committed to better protect the data privacy of children and teachers using its app. (HRW)

The Brazilian state government of Minas Gerais has removed all ad tracking from its website. Media pressure also prompted some Brazilians companies to take prompt action and shield students or lessen the impact from data surveillance. These positive developments demonstrates that it is possible to build and offer educational services to children that do not compromise their data and their privacy.

The São Paulo education secretariat continues to endorse the use of seven educational websites that improperly harvest children’s personal data, including its own. Brazil’s data protection authority should stop these assaults on children’s privacy.

France: The country’s education ministry removed ad tracking from the websites it built to help eight to eleven-year old children learn English and German.

Indonesia: The nation’s education ministry removed ad tracking from the website it built, though not from its app, to provide learning to children during school closures.

EdTech and AdTech Companies: Three EdTech companies (eboard, schoolFox, and Storyline Online)— stopped surveilling their child users and re-engineered their learning products to prevent it from happening again. eboard published a full admission, notified their users, apologized for their past actions, and pledged to do better. Two other EdTech companies, DragonLearn and SABAQ Learning Systems, removed their products from the market. Two advertising technology companies, Data Chemistry and Ve Global, informed Human Rights Watch that they severed ties with education companies that sent them children’s personal information and took steps to prevent these companies from doing so again.

There is still more work to be done at a state, national, and international scale. Learn about the advocacy actions you can take on our Action Plan.

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