Remember how net neutrality made waves just last month? Well, going forward the online security issue seems to only deepen as news about data collection, monitoring and surveillance practice go far beyond just access.
Since it’s only weeks before the start of the new school year, we figured it’s only relevant we address a very interesting report, conducted in schools in England and Whales by privacy advocates Big Brother Watch. The said report found more than a thousand of them to be using surveillance software to monitor students in class and while on campuses.
The very first paragraph of the report reads: “Unless you are a teacher or have a child in school, it is likely you are not familiar with a modern classroom. Your memories of school may be of chalk boards and scribbling down lessons in a workbook. Answering a question meant putting your hand up, whilst talking to a friend, or enemy, was done by scrawling on scraps of paper. Information came from books and encyclopedias not the internet, in fact the only time you may have used a computer was in a specific information technology lesson and even then there weren’t enough computers for every student to have a go. That vision of school is already out of date and will soon be obsolete. The analogue classroom of old has been replaced with smartboards, internet connected devices and communication via instant message. And rightly so. Learning in the 21st century must revolve around technology in order to teach children the skills required for a digital life in a digital society. The challenges of the modern classroom have changed. “
A pretty accurate description of how the internet changed the classroom environment wouldn’t you agree?
Whether this monitoring software (amounting an extra £2.5 million in school expenses as per the whole specimen included in the study) is used in aid of keeping students focused on educational goals or whether we are talking about a real privacy intrusion and possibly pecuniary driven data collection, is the real underlying matter in question here. Looking at the key findings of the report the results don’t offer much comfort in setting the bottom line privacy issue straight. Before raising concerns, let’s go through a few of these numbers as revealed in the study:
70% of responding secondary schools in England and Wales were found to use a Classroom Management Software package. Out of 1000 schools, only 149 (15%) provided Use Policies, of those 149 schools: 26 (17%) gave detailed information about the type of Classroom Management Software and how it was used, while 123 (83%) failed to give any information beyond the fact that students may be monitored when using computers.
This is of course not just a case for UK, Australia also, has a few universities tracking students to the point of telling the exact room a certain student is in, at a certain time. There is no telling as to how these data catalogues influence the grade systems if at all, but the very fact that these institutions are storing this data could be revelatory of them analyzing patterns and behaviors for a so far undisclosed purpose.
Getting around this panopticon system your educational institution might have in place too, is actually a pretty simple task at hand. The most practical way to avoid being monitored by your school or university is simply to get a VPN service.
SET YOURSELF WITH A VPN CONNECTION AND ROCK ON:
No longer an exotic tool, VPNs are now entering the mainstream and given the context it’s easy to understand why.
Simply put, when you’re using a VPN, all your data travels through a tunnel encrypted from end to end. In other words, your school or university will not be able to block access or make sense of your data, since you’ll have all your online data happen elsewhere, not going through your ISP servers and encrypted all the while.
But it’s not just your school that might be keeping track of your browsing data, your cell phone provider too, most apps, operating systems, and other services do the same.
Smartphones with preinstalled tracking software, secretly bundled with tracking files are sold everyday, while some companies try to leverage the very problem they created by charging extra for privacy.
So, having a VPN in place is the smart approach to getting around all this. Think at a VPN as the middleman between you and the internet, where your ISP (that can be your school, while on campus) can only see a bunch of encrypted traffic. And since your VPN knows as much as your ISP would, it’s very important to choose a reliable one with a zero log policy and a strong encryption.
Services like MyIP.io will offer you a self-managed VPN network platform, delivering fast, secure and reliable VPN service , The platform caters to a wide demographic through three channeled directions:Personal,Dedicated andBusiness, so it makes for a wonderful choice for corporate or personal use at the same time.