Did you know that the Comunidad Valenciana is the ONLY EUROPEAN REGION that protects their student’s privacy in public schools through OpenSource tools and platforms?
But, why should we be worried about student’s privacy? Every word your child writes, every video he watches, or music he listens to, how he writes with the keyboard, where he is physically at every moment, is captured by the tech giants’ tools.
For what? To gather all this information and prepare what are called profiles. What can they infer from all data they collect from students in schools that are using Google or Microsoft?
That your child is experiencing an anxiety episode, that is dyslexic, if his parents have problems at home, where he lives, if he has learning difficulties, what religion he practice, or his race, if he lives in a high or low socio-economic neighborhood.
If she has suicidal tendencies, or is being harassed, if she is suffering a emotional imbalance, or a depression, if she is a gifted person, or a leader (positive or negative).
And, what about those parents that don’t care about privacy because “they have nothing to hide.” In the future, when your son starts to make a successful political career and has a lot of possibilities of become the leader of his party, or even Prime Minister, some information about him can be disclosed, like: You’ll never be Prime Minister, or CEO of this company, or have a responsibility position because you suffer from dyslexia, carry on a child’s trauma due to your parent’s separation, raised in a poor socio-economic neighborhood, and rubbed shoulders with the worst.
Turns out that YES, WE HAVE THINGS TO HIDE.
Parents from Comunidad Valenciana, did you know that your regional government is protecting your son so in his future he will never suffer the consequences of being profiled by an unethical tech giant?
Because they have invested huge efforts writing Instructions and Resolutions that prevent, under any circumstance, that the your children’s data are in the cloud, in servers of technological giants who don’t care your children privacy. They only care about their data.
But, let’s be more concrete. Let’s analyze what is happening in the rest of Europe, and of Spain, but that does not happen in Comunidad Valenciana.
There is nothing like proving scientific evidence. I’ve been researching about what are the consequences, for students, that in their schools GSuite is allowed, and what is the impact on their students.
Research source: “Teachers In The Cloud: Teachers’ Feelings Of Comfort Integrating Google Suite For Education“. Major concerns and problems are those derived from Privacy. Named 54 times in the paper.
More research sources: “Infrastructure, economics and information policy: or case of google suite for education“.
Now, let’s talk about what is going on in the classrooms. It turns out that schools that sign an agreement with GSuite allows a double surveillance of their students.
FACT. The data on Google’s servers is stored in an encrypted format so that they cannot be read. UNLESS SOMEONE WITH THE RIGHT ACCESS NEEDED, CAN READ IT.
FACT. G Suite can be configured to comply with dozens of standards for storing sensitive data, these protections do not promise end-to-end encryption. Data is still stored in a format legible to the company.
FACT. Students must censor themselves.
Self-censorship – they cannot write personal experiences, or information such as the divorce of their parents or the religious belief of the brother in Google Drive.
“Instead of investing in secure and surveillance-free technologies, schools rely on cost-effective comprehensive solutions such as” G Suite for Education “and transfer responsibility for privacy to teachers and students.”
“Data Protection Authority (Norwegian) is investigating whether it is legal to use Google at school. THIS DEBATE HAS GONE UNSEEN“, says director Bjørn Erik Thon.”
Parents, in schools where they use G Suite, cannot deny their consent because if they do it, the school will discriminate their children by excluding them from all activities because they cannot be recorded or photographed and then posted on Google tools.
Given the pressure and discrimination of their children, parents have no choice but to give their consent, and give away their children’s privacy.
Therefore, children end up having a customer relationship with a large commercial company. And there is an enormous uncertainty about what happens with children’s profiles when they leave school.
More reactions in Europe: The “Switzerland first” agreement will soon apply to Google.
World premiere: Switzerland enforces Swiss data protection rules to Google in the classroom.
In other words, Switzerland has imposed G Suite to comply with the Swiss data protection law. The jurisdiction are the Swiss Courts, and Google will assume the responsibility for any security problem.
But, there is still an unsolved issue: With the “Cloud Law”, the US authorities can access to confidential student’s data stored in the tech giants servers, based in US.
More reactions in Europe: The Dutch authorities and the Hesse data protection group resisted to transfer personal data to US: they don’t comply with GDPR.
The article “Newsrooms, let’s talk about G Suite” written by a former Google employee has been one of the most revealing pieces.
The article says that students are “spied on” in two ways:
1. Students’ personal data are stored in servers that ARE NOT ENCRYPTED END-TO-END. As I said before, they are not read, until they are read.
2. AND THIS A VERY SERIOUS FACT: Administrators can READ THE CONTENTS OF EMAILS and Google Drive, as well as metadata (like dates, subject lines, recipients).
Students and teachers can delete unwanted data, but depending on the organization’s retention settings, it’s not necessarily gone.
The Enterprise account is the one that offers the highest levels of monitoring.
This makes people divide into good and bad, according to the administrator’s criteria. Without forgetting the harassment to which someone can be subjected, and the phobias that can be unleashed.
The different solutions that this former Google employee gives are:
1. An end-to-end encrypted alternative, or
2. Local storage, or
3. Out of computers completely.
Option number two is the one given by the Comunidad Valenciana.
And yet, we have unanswered questions:
- How many people on Google have access to student data?
- How is that access determined?
- What kind of user data do they have access to and under what circumstances?
- What do you want this data for?
- How many people can extract data from users who respond to a legal request?
WE DO NOT KNOW.
And, what is going on in public schools in Comunidad Valenciana?
- Use of free software.
- Open Source Programs.
Article 13.3.1. RESOLUTION of June 28, 2018.
PROHIBITED to transmit or host information of the Generalitat Valenciana in external information systems, such as the cloud, except with the express authorization of the Conselleria, and prior risk analysis.
Publication of student data in Social Networks:
Unambiguous consent of the people involved.
- Data to be published
- In which social networks
- Who has access the data
- How to exercise the rights of access, rectification, cancellation and opposition
The Conselleria of Education, Culture and Sports makes available to schools:
ITACA-Web Family 2.0. Platform for contact with family managers.
Teaching Module 2.0.
(OPEN SOURCE OWNED PLATFORMS OF THE CONSELLERÍA).
Article 13.3.a) Resolution July 5:
“The use of social networks that include any type of advertising or that can be used for a different purpose of communication is expressly unauthorized.”
The use of Telegram is allowed as a channel for communication with parents, BUT NO PERSONAL DATA CAN BE INCLUDED.
In addition, they have an enormous awareness of the danger of using applications in the educational field, expressing this concern, in the same article 13 the Resolution of July 5:
“…The apps that contain more personal data of the students are teacher’s notebooks, which maintain their progress and their qualifications. Therefore, any application that include the identification of the student can lead to the elaboration of profiles according to the functionalities and the typology of the data collected. With browsing habits, together with data of other users with whom you contact and their educational behavior, you can create user profiles that can be treated without the user’s consent, under the excuse of improving the operation of the service.”
And they add something really revealing in a Public Administration: the claim that the devices given by tech giants SPY THEIR STUDENTS:
“…It should be borne in mind that non-assisted installation applications on smartphones access to a large amount of personal data stored in the device itself, such as the terminal identification number, contact book, images or videos. In addition, these applications can access the device’s sensors, and obtain geographic location, capture photos, video or sound through them.
For all these reasons, platforms and applications (known as ‘apps’), other than those provided, or authorized, by the Conselleria responsible for education, are forbidden, which have the purpose of:
a) Both communication with families and with students.
b) The follow-up of the students through notebooks of progress notes and their qualification.”
The main goal of public administration is THE COMMON GOOD, and protect citizens, and even more, children and minors.
The Comunidad Valenciana sets an example for Spain and Europe.
In Spain, Secretary of State Carme Artigas in an interview in one of the main newspapers in Spain, El País, proposes to lead in Europe the debate of technological humanism.
It is nothing other than acquiring the ethical mentality of the GVA, ahead of its time.