“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 12

Privacy, online and offline, is a foundational human right. It is central to the protection of free speech, freedom of association and assembly, and access to other economic and social rights. Infringement on privacy oftentimes disproportionately impacts specific groups or individuals (e.g. the tracking of LGBTQ+ community members), furthering inequality, and discrimination. As technology grows increasingly present in our lives, privacy in the digital world must be protected as it is in the real world.

(Click to watch, 0:58)

Privacy is a
Human Right.

Digital Privacy is a Human Right.

During Covid-19, students’ digital privacy was violated.

Many countries and communities switched to online learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. Students were required to attend school online using Zoom, Google Classrooms, or other educational technology (EdTech). But in the rush to connect students to virtual classrooms, many governments failed to check that their EdTech recommendations were safe for their use. Many EdTech products surveilled students and harvested their personal data (age, location, some even collected fingerprints). They sent this data to advertising tech companies (AdTech). These AdTech companies could then analyze and sell the information to governments, private companies, or law enforcement.

HRW investigated serious EdTech privacy violations.

#StudentsNotProducts was created.

When HRW investigated more than 150 EdTech products recommended by 49 countries, more than 140 engaged in data practices that may have risked or infringed on children’s rights to education and privacy.

The rapid increase in technology used in education has not been followed up with adequate legal framework to prevent corporations from taking advantage of students’ vulnerability as minors, using our data as products to be sold. Students’ human rights were not taken seriously. Children should not have to give up our right of privacy to learn. Join the #StudentsNotProducts movement and stand up for your right to privacy and education.

Take Action: If You Only Have…

60 seconds

5 minutes

30 minutes

Learn different ways to take advocacy action in this campaign.

Advocacy Opportunities: Get Started Today!

Students must speak up and spread awareness about how your data is being used in violation of our fundamental human rights.

Teach your peers about data privacy by hosting a simulation event in class or on campus. Show your community how EdTech and AdTech companies violate students’ privacy by collecting, buying, and selling students’ data. Use this facilitator’s guide and slideshow to run the simulation (PDF version with script).

Ask your school or school districts’ decision makers what they are doing to protect students’ privacy in online classrooms and have them conduct a privacy audit. This slideshow will walk you through exactly how to approach those conversations (PDF Version with Script).

Tell your lawmakers to act now. Use the #StudentsNotProducts resources to email or call your lawmakers to advocate for changes to data privacy laws.

Post on social media about #StudentsNotProducts to educate your community about HRW’s report and data privacy. Use these online platforms to encourage lawmakers and your community to make change.

Educator’s Portal – Lesson Plans

For educators interested in teaching students about the #StudentsNotProducts (#SNP), please explore the resources below.

What is Digital Privacy?

This collection of ten lesson plans created by the NY6 Information Literacy Blended Learning group, address a variety of digital privacy topics. Its main goal is to bring awareness to students and encourage them to think about their own digital privacy and what it means to them.

Subjects: STEM, Social Studies, English Language Arts

Grades: 9-12

Debate About Privacy

Data can benefit both individuals and the government, but who can be trusted with the responsibility of having all this data? This lesson plan leads students to critically think about data policy and practice. Students will be able to identify and describe concerns about their digital privacy and government access to data.

Subjects: STEM, Social Studies, English Language Arts

Grades: 12

Digging Into Details

Many of us know we are being tracked online, but how much information are companies actually collecting? What are they doing with it? How do our favorite websites and apps know exactly what content to share with us? This lesson examines how we can make smart decisions about online privacy and how to protect it.

Subjects: STEM, Social Studies, English Language Arts

Grades: 9

Permanent link to this article: https://www.hrwstf.org/wordpress/studentsnotproducts/