Online learning presents privacy issues

Many schools and other institutions have made plans to change to online learning and teaching in light of recent developments. There has been an increase in the number of people using conference platforms such as Zoom. Zoom?, and Google meet.

For the already blooming online conference platforms, currently witnessing a skyrocketing trend of increasing downloads, usage and share price, more concerns ought to be raised on privacy issues, learning security and possible private data breach which have made some universities abroad and in Nigeria try to create their own platforms for the purpose of protecting their student’s data.

This article is intended to help students and teachers using online conference platforms to learn how to protect their data.

Data breach at an increasing risk

2020 was no doubt a turbulent year that forced people into new situations and required them to adapt to those circumstances. This led to remote learning and remote meeting. And as people spent more time in front of their screens, so did the amount and quality of personal data online. This was especially true for young students and other pupils of different ages.

This fact is so important that it makes sense to ask how we can protect the data of young people and introduce them to online security. The question then becomes “how to secure personal data and privacy in online learning’?

How can online data be leaked?

It is important to understand how online personal data works so that you can see how it can be stolen or manipulated. Search engines, platforms, apps, and websites all collect different types of data.

While some websites only collect information from sites that have been visited previously and may even do a local cookie deposit analysis of cookies, others might also collect data about what we type out, which elements our photos and videos contain, and, although it is highly unlikely, biometrics on voice and facial features after the camera is turned on. This should be enough to alarm any parent.

Although these data left online might not be attributed to a real person, sometimes, even, the sheer amount of such data makes it difficult to analyze, still, it doesn’t rule out the fact that although the identity of users might be protected initially, it gradually becomes unnecessary for it to be breached.

How to protect personal data

With the inception and working of algorithms that now hold the power to predict behaviours and suggest personalized content based on interests and interactions “clothed in logos and like buttons”, one is currently at its mercy, hence, what are the steps one can take to secure personal data and establish learning security?

These are just a few examples of data protection electronic-learning that you can implement.

Make sure to check with the school and the university

Schools are required to protect student and pupil privacy to a certain extent. Online security evolves at a rapid pace that regulations may not be able keep up. Even the simplest changes can take several months.

It is important to discuss with school representatives the level of security and data that the server stores.

Get to know yourself and your computer

Clearing cookies regularly isn’t something that most people do. However, it is possible to remove large amounts of personal data from your device in a few clicks. This will make future attacks on your data more difficult. For learning security online, it is essential to have a working antivirus program that includes a privacy plug-in. A firewall must also be enabled at all times.

It is also important to review the terms of usage of apps used for learning and accessing online. These can be found online or in the app. This document is quite long so take your time. You can always contact the school to report any suspicious behavior. It can save you many headaches later on by being able to quickly react.

Get to know your web pages

Not only is it easy to ensure that your pages are secure, but it can also save you lots of headaches later. Always look for the padlock sign in your browser’s address bar. If the padlock is green or locked, it means that the connection has been established. A free plagiarism checker can be used to verify if another website is similar. Copy-paste the page to see the results.

Have two emails

It isn’t a new idea to use multiple email addresses. This old trick works well if you want to separate areas of your online existence. Many students are very busy and use email outside of the university-issued email. You can find reliable paper writing services, but leaving any trace at your university email can cause a lot of problems. Even if this is a service that you only use to make notes on your studies, it is better to protect your privacy.

Security is a priority in the new age of e-learning. It should be taken seriously. App developers around the world must educate their users, particularly students, about data protection.

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