Internet Society Foundation grant strengthens Internet Safety Lab’s efforts to uncover potentially harmful data collection/sharing practices of apps used in classrooms
May 1, 2021 09:00 ET | Source: Internet Safety Labs
SAN DIEGO, May 01, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Internet Safety Labs, a non-profit organization dedicated to independent software product safety testing, today announced that it has been awarded a $499,378 grant by the Internet Society Foundation. The Foundation funds initiatives that strengthen the Internet in function and reach so that it can effectively serve all people. This is the second grant received by Internet Safety Labs (ISL) from the Internet Society Foundation.
The grant will allow ISL to continue its research into the safety of K-12 EdTech in the U.S. This project is a direct extension of ISL’s “2022 K12 Edtech Safety Benchmark – Part 1.” The report made headlines for its findings that nearly all school apps (96%) share children’s personal information with third parties, 78% of the time with advertising or monetization entities. Through the analysis of data collected from 663 schools, covering more than 455,000 students across all 50 states, ISL determined that these technologies recommended and used by U.S. educational institutions pose substantial privacy and safety risks to children and families.
The new deliverables will make the full scope of the data available to the public in two ways. First, ISL will publish interactive charts and graphs that will provide an in-depth look at the school apps’ scores and EdTech practices. This will include state-by-state and school-by-school breakdowns of the previously collected EdTech safety data, compared to the national average. ISL will also assign “safety labels” to all 1,700+ EdTech apps included in its research. This will allow the public to see the privacy and data collection risks in the apps.
“Our mission is to objectively measure and publish the safety of connected, software-driven technologies so that people and communities are safe from unreasonable harm,” said Lisa LeVasseur, executive director of Internet Safety Labs. “This is currently a missing discipline in the world. With the ISOC Foundation’s support, we strive to publish research that simultaneously educates all people on the potential risks of technology, and be a change agent, stimulating technology developers to produce safer software.”
Internet Safety Labs endeavors to answer a number of new research questions through validation testing, in addition to its ongoing analysis of the K12 EdTech Safety Benchmark data.
- From the perspective of consumers, is software being tested for safety before being made commercially available? If so, by whom?
- Is the ISL product safety label useful to consumers? How would they use it?
- From the perspective of technology producers, is safety testing being performed on their software?
- Do these technology producers think their software can harm people? Do they believe safety testing should be performed on their software?
“We’re excited to support Internet Safety Lab’s second phase of this project to further examine the safety of K-12 EdTech in the U.S., which directly aligns with our mission to ensure that the Internet is open, connected, secure and trustworthy for all,” said Maiko Nakagaki, Program Officer from the Internet Society Foundation.
Internet Safety Labs invites experts, business leaders and individuals interested in advancing standards for software product safety and ethical Internet practices to visit its website to learn more about how to work with ISL.
About Internet Safety Labs
Internet Safety Labs is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, independent software product safety testing organization, unrelentingly on the side of consumers and their safety. Through standards development, product research, product audits and policy advocacy, we work to ensure software product safety. We believe it’s time for software and software-driven products to be tested with the same safety rigor we apply to all the physical products in our lives. For more information, please visit https://internetsafetylabs.org/.
About The Internet Society Foundation:
The Internet Society Foundation was established in 2019 to support the positive difference the Internet can make to people everywhere. Guided by our vision of an Internet for Everyone, the Foundation champions ideas and enables communities to unlock the Internet’s potential to tackle the world’s evolving challenges. Focusing in five core program areas, Foundation awards grants to Internet Society Chapters as well as non-profit organizations and individuals dedicated to providing meaningful access to an open, globally-connected, secure and trustworthy Internet for everyone.
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