Will Privacy Pushback Slow The Spread Of Ed Tech?

Politico posts Doug Sosnik’s latest political memo – they’re known for a smart and elevated take on various trends.  Some discussion of education as it relates to social mobility in this one but Sosnik also sees as a major issue:

Pushing back on the violation of the public’s privacy by the government and big businesses. The United States lags far behind most of Europe—Germany in particular—when it comes to protecting individuals’ rights to privacy. Throughout Europe there are many more limits on the ability of government and private industry to gain access and use of personal data for their own purposes. The privacy issue will gain more attention as technology continues to improve and becomes more invasive. The issue isn’t a partisan one. It is hard to distinguish between the policies of the Bush and Obama administrations when it comes to placing limits on gathering and using people’s personal information for what they perceive to be in the national interest. Moving forward, we are likely to see the curbs and restrictions throughout Europe become more of the norm in our country as the public begins to voice its outrage at what they view as intrusions into their personal lives.

In the education sector the restrictions themselves seem like less of a disruptive issue than the politics – regulation is not incompatible with data-driven solutions. But, when InBloom was booted out of a suburban Colorado county it signaled something that is worth watching. In the wake of some of the troubling NSA disclosures about corporate and government privacy issues (which to some extent have been obscured by faux outrage about the U.S. spying on other governments, the scandal would be if our intelligence services weren’t doing that) people are understandably on edge and concerned about these issues.  Most in the ed tech world don’t see the politics as creating a big issue for most education businesses and see a limited impact. I’m not so sure. This is an issue with a lot of left-right convergence, a genuine issue at its core, and an issue that touches people directly. Those are always potent issues.  DQC took a look at some privacy issues in a brief recently (pdf).

One Reply to “Will Privacy Pushback Slow The Spread Of Ed Tech?”

  1. Aaron Swartz was right.

    Data is power. And that is why private sector companies will fight to the death to get their hands on FREE STUDENT DATA.

    There is a simple solution. A market price would allow for the efficient allocation of student data.

    Parents should be allowed to sell that data and SUE FOR ITS THEFT.

    In giving student data a market price, the entire edu-reform movement DIES.

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