5 years ago: Digital Feudalism and How to Avoid It

vimeo.com/77257232

I learned a lot in those five years and we’re still working for the same goals. Surveillance Capitalism is worse than it ever was but we also have new hopes: @Purism, Mastodon, @gnome, DAT, …

The one thing I’d change is to replace “open source” with “ethical technology” and “free (as in freedom)” in my words.

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@aral @Purism @gnome today I was told that google G Suite for education has 70m+ customers and that in the USA, two schools in three are using it. I haven't checked this figure, but if it is even close to being true we are placing the data of millions of children into the hands of the largest dealer in data on earth - before we even give them a choice.

A whole generation sold into data serfdom.

We have to get the technology you are talking about into the hands of educators.

How?

@StuC @Purism @gnome If the first thought people have when they hear Google is “Philip Morris” – we have a chance. Who’d support cigarettes in schools? No one. The problem is that they’re still socially acceptable. And it doesn’t help that the likes of Mozilla go around handing them out and getting paid billions for it.

@aral @StuC @Purism @gnome

Is this an analogy or is Phillip Morris literally involved (because nothing would surprise me at this point)?

@jjg @StuC @Purism @gnome Analogy. Given the state of things, you’re not wrong to ask :)

@StuC @aral @Purism @gnome

Has anyone written or analyzed this risk? When you put it in these terms it sounds terrifying to someone who knows about these things but I’m curious if there is some media that explains it well that I could share with laymen.

@jjg sorry, I am still at the flabbergasted stage.

G Suite for Education is the latest rebranding. Back in 2014 Google ran afoul of FERPA, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act...

edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/03

For doing what they now claim not to do.

BTW FERPA is 44 years old - it was passed in a time when everything wasn't connected. It might be time for a revamp.

Figures from the Süddeutsche Zeitung put the figures at 30m US children for mid 2017.

sz@aral@mastodon.ar.al

@jjg sorry, I am still at the flabbergasted stage.

G Suite for Education is the latest rebranding. Back in 2014 Google ran afoul of FERPA, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act...

edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/03

For doing what they now claim not to do.

BTW FERPA is 44 years old - it was passed in a time when everything wasn't connected. It might be time for a revamp.

Figures from the Süddeutsche Zeitung put the figures at 30m US children for mid 2017.

sz@aral@mastodon.ar.al

@jjg

Sorry, I am still at the flabbergasted stage.

G Suite for Education is the latest rebranding. Back in 2014 Google ran afoul of FERPA, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act...

edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/03

For doing what they now claim not to do.

BTW FERPA is 44 years old - it was passed in a time when everything wasn't connected. It might be time for a revamp.

Figures from the Süddeutsche Zeitung put the figures at 30m US children for mid 2017.

sz@aral@mastodon.ar.al

@aral

@jjg

Sorry, I am still at the flabbergasted stage.

G Suite for Education is the latest rebranding. Back in 2014 Google ran afoul of FERPA, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act...

edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/03

For doing what they now claim not to do.

BTW FERPA is 44 years old - it was passed in a time when everything wasn't connected. It might be time for a revamp.

Figures from the Süddeutsche Zeitung put the figures at 30m US children for mid 2017.

@aral

@StuC @aral @Purism @gnome I'm fairly sure the G Suite set don't do anything too nasty with the data compared with the free consumer stuff; the problem competing is cost & integration. Cost per user is tiny and no one has to worry about their data centre dieing or maintaing hardware or software or security installations. The integration stuff is also tough - you get the mail, live document editing, chat, calendar etc all in one - all works as one; and once you have the mail the rest is free.

@penguin42 @aral @Purism @gnome the best answer I can give is to suggest that you watch Arals talk, if you haven't already.

@StuC @aral @Purism @gnome

I was interviewed by New York Times on topic of Google’s reach into classrooms. I tried to give critical voice from teacher perspective, worried about Google grooming students as users ... Ease of use/low cost is why so many schools default to it ... I realize I am part of GAFE problem, so I work to find balance, alternatives, info to kids about Google biz model (hook ‘em young)

nytimes.com/2018/10/23/busines

@dogtrax @StuC @aral @Purism @gnome ironic how Google wants to be in the middle of even this. It wanted to auto-download the vimeo app on my phone.

(Now why I'm not using a de-googled phone? Because my old one was stolen and I didn't get around to degoogle the new one yet...)

@StuC @aral @Purism There is also a matter of digital exclusion when you give companies like Google a free pass to educational system.

What happens with students that don't accept the Terms of Use required for using G-Suite or Chromebook?

studies, university, tech exclusion Show more

re: studies, university, tech exclusion Show more

@StuC @aral @Purism @comzeradd

#MARCO

ex is grandson of "Son of Sam"

did the 1997 Dali Murders in Brussels, Belgium.

Worth the #respect

@comzeradd @StuC @aral @Purism Those students generally get lower grades and are bullied by their teachers and school administrators into accepting the Terms of Use.

Generally, the ToU for Windows/Mac machines at schools are much worse than that of G-Suite for Education, eg: playing any games would be a CFAA violation. I've seen this as a mandatory click through before logging on in a number of Seattle area school districts.

@StuC
@aral @Purism @gnome

In case you wanted to know what their COPPA compliance looks like: cloud.google.com/security/comp

Consent is mandatory, i.e. there is no opt-out of data collection with G Suite accounts. No parent/guardian consent = no G Suite.

This is the template they offer to schools: support.google.com/a/answer/73

They claim not to use collected data for advertising. They mention sharing data for policing, but not limited to law enforcement, or legal policing.

@rook @aral @Purism @gnome well COPPA was passed in 1998 (I think) but as late as 2014 the previous incarnation of this product was the subject of a number of law suites involving an even older law FERPA. Why because Google were doing exactly what they say they now do not do. Profiling for advertising.

Google's business model is monetising your digital online self. It's like putting a fox amongst chickens and telling it to "Stay".

@StuC @rook @aral @Purism @gnome

a forum I help moderate which was very popular with teens and young adults in 2000s had COPPA compliance built in to the software; ISTR it was fairly toothless and more to keep younger users in order and make it easy for a private org owning the online resource to deal with disputes amongst them.

We ignored it and instead voluntarily complied with accepted practice for social networks in the UK and EU as these were fairer and more effective..

@StuC @aral @Purism @gnome you need to make a compelling argument to school superintendents. They set district mandates, generally speaking.

@StuC @aral @Purism @gnome See also the comments in the right corner above: nytimes.com/2017/05/13/technol
Google is creating customers, users of Google products by offering products ‘for free’.

@KeaW

Thank you for the article, I read and enjoyed both it and many of the comments.

This kind of corporate grooming seems to me to be of far more consequence than the poor decisions of adults to store their stuff with Google, because the the children and parents are being divested of choice.

As Aral rightly pointed out - privacy is not about not sharing your data, it is about having the choice of who get's to share your data.

@aral

@StuC @aral @Purism @gnome The rise of G Suite for Education has been lead by $200 Chromebooks that are always up to date, instantly interchangeable between users, and are easily managed centrally.

While the Pinebook ($100 laptop of similar spec to a $200 chromebook) has the hardware nailed, the software stack to put on it in an educational environment isn't advertised, nor are most school district IT departments even aware other offerings exist outside G Suite for Education, Microsoft & Mac.

@bikecurious I wasn't criticising the user experience. I am sure Google work hard to provide a good one.

As to the price, well, the obvious question must be "why is it so inexpensive?" .

Because Google see's it as a loss leader?
Because they are betting on getting your data in the end?
Because they are denying their competition market share?

Another question I ask myself is...
"Is there something Google could do to remove all doubts? "

and I think there is - Zero Knowledge Storage.

@StuC The price is so cheap due to Google being able to cut almost every corner with Chrome OS. No need for an i5 CPU, or sizable storage/ram is a recipe for a cheap bill of materials. Google isn't doing contra-revenue for most Chromebooks AFAIK.

There is no incentive for Google to remove all doubts about Chromebooks either, the decision to use Chromebooks is made by school administrations and enforced against the students by teachers and peer pressure to conform.

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