Stephen Downes

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Gaggle Surveils Millions of Kids in the Name of Safety. Targeted Families Argue it’s ‘Not That Smart’, The 74, Oct 12, 2021

This post continues rfecent investigations on the use of a product called Gaggle to spy on students. The sales picth is that it helps prevent suicide, but examples show it also flagging students for using profanity, being gay, and other unrelated purposes. Critics argue that inappropriate messages are flagged, that the algorithm is inconsistent, and that it opens students to discrimination on the base of race, gender and other factors. It's also worth ading (for the people who always say &#... [Direct Link]

Exclusive Data: An Inside Look at the Spy Tech That Followed Kids Home for Remote Learning — and Now Won’t Leave, Mark Keierleber, The 74, Sept 19, 2021

The story is essentially in the headline, though it's hardly an exclusive (though this particular study may be). "Through artificial intelligence and a team of content moderators, Gaggle tracks the online behaviors of millions of students across the U.S. every day." The intentions are (in some cases) noble: trying to identify student mental health issues leading to suicide and self-harm, But flagging a student for reading a story that included the word 'underwear' isn'... [Direct Link]

‘Don’t Get Gaggled’: Minneapolis School District Spends Big on Student Surveillance Tool, Raising Ire After Terminating Its Police Contract, Mark Keierleber, The 74, Oct 19, 2020

This article describes concerns being raised about Gaggle, "currently used in hundreds of districts across the U.S., relying on artificial intelligence and a team of moderators paid as little as $10 an hour to scan billions of student emails, chat messages and files each year." The author does note that Gaggle says it "cannot guarantee security and confidentiality through its services” and “may choose to turn over” student messages to the police. Critic Marika ... [Direct Link]

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Oct 12, 2021 3:02 p.m.