The Compulsion for Data

Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Dec 19, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

"It’s disheartening to recognize how profiling, tracking, and surveilling students with new technologies fit quite neatly into longstanding practices of the education system," writes Audrey Watters. "Disheartening, but true." In this long post on big data and privacy she explores both edges of the issue: how, on the one hamnd, big data gives us no magical insight into learning, and how, on the other hand, it is used as the premise to enable widespread intrusions into personal privacy. The trend is not favouring students. "You have to put your face up to it and you put your knuckles up to it,” Ms. Chao said recently, explaining how the program uses webcams to scan students’ features and verify their identities before the test." How long before this becomes necessary to rent a car, check in at a hotel, board a flight, buy beer, get a credit card....

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