EdTech Week 2023-Digital Dystopia: The Civil Liberties Implications of Surveillance Tech in Schools





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Event graphic, for the conference EdTechWeek. Panel entitled "Digital Dystopia The Civil Liberties Implications of Surveillance Tech in Schools."

EdTech Week 2023

Welcome to EdTech Week 2023, where the brightest minds and the boldest innovators gather in a technological playground dedicated to transforming education. This premier education innovation festival unites all stakeholders driven by a shared mission to: inclusively tackle the most pressing challenges confronting education and workforce sectors today.

Panel – Digital Dystopia: The Civil Liberties Implications of Surveillance Tech in Schools

Date: Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Time: 3 pm ET

From internet activity monitoring to facial recognition technology, school districts are rapidly adopting a huge array of surveillance technologies to surveil students with few safeguards and even less oversight. The principal drivers of this growth over the last decade have been student safety concerns (shootings, suicides, bullying) and remote learning needs, which COVID-19 only exacerbated. The edtech surveillance industry saw this opportunity to maximize their profits by leveraging the very real fears for student safety and the new challenges of remote learning, shared by school districts, parents, educators, and students alike.

Education officials and school administrators have an incredibly important role in determining how best to keep students safe. But, despite what the EdTech Surveillance Industry wants schools to believe, there is little to no evidence that using surveillance technology in schools keeps kids safe. There is, however, evidence indicating that, by and large, surveillance technology may cause more harm than good –both in direct damage and in the opportunity costs of forgoing other, more effective methods of creating safe schools and supporting student wellbeing. While student surveillance harms all students, there are unique and dire consequences for already vulnerable groups of students, including student of color, students with disabilities, LGBTQ+ students, low-income students, and immigrant students. ACLU, CDT, Encode Justice, and other civil society organizations hope to use this session to equip decision-makers with the information they need to protect all their students and keep them safe from invasive — and often useless — surveillance products.

  • Chad Marlow, Senior Policy Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union
  • Shreya Sampath, U.S. Chapter Projects Director, Encode Justice
  • Dhanaraj Thakur, Research Director, Center for Democracy & Technology