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The Big Biz of Spying On Little Kids

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the tracked-from-the-womb dept.

Privacy 111

theodp writes: "'The NSA,' writes POLITICO's Stephanie Simon in her eye-opening Data Mining Your Children, 'has nothing on the ed tech startup known as Knewton. The data analytics firm has peered into the brains of more than 4 million students across the country. By monitoring every mouse click, every keystroke, every split-second hesitation as children work through digital textbooks, Knewton is able to find out not just what individual kids know, but how they think. It can tell who has trouble focusing on science before lunch — and who will struggle with fractions next Thursday.' Simon adds, 'Even as Congress moves to rein in the National Security Agency, private-sector data mining has galloped forward — perhaps nowhere faster than in education. Both Republicans and Democrats have embraced the practice. And the Obama administration has encouraged it, even relaxing federal privacy law to allow school districts to share student data more widely.'"

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Why is this not wiretapping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47025209)

It should be.

Re:Why is this not wiretapping? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47025319)

It should be.

Because one of the main messages kids learn in school is this: everything we taught you about the Constitution is surrendered at the door once you enter the school building. We call it in loco parentes and with this magical phrase we place ourselves above the highest law of the land and you WILL submit to our authority.

How else will they grow up to embrace Big Brother?

Re:Why is this not wiretapping? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47025463)

"parentis", dipshit. If you're going to try to impress us, at least spell it right.

Re:Why is this not wiretapping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47025733)

Yes, clearly the other AC had no point or message and therefore attempting to impress you was the entire purpose of that post. Therefore a single typo renders said AC a complete and total dipshit while your own post remains meaningful and enlightening.

Re:Why is this not wiretapping? (1, Funny)

Old Fatty Baldman (3630557) | about 3 months ago | (#47025911)

You forgot to capitalize "parentis" and "dipshit".

Re:Why is this not wiretapping? (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 3 months ago | (#47028519)

Add to that that kids are still treated as the property of their parents until they are an adult.

Unless they do something wrong, then everything is their fault.

Re:Why is this not wiretapping? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47025869)

Because helicopter parents thinks it's horrible if government spy on them but it's good parenting if they do it on their kids.

Because Children != Adults (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 3 months ago | (#47027431)

Seriously. They're not. They don't have the same rights as adults, nor should they. They're not fully developed human beings. We don't let them drive, for instance. It's not just because they're too short to reach the petals, you know? It's also because they're ability to make complex judgements isn't as fully formed.

Sure, we have to draw the line somewhere, but it's a complex topic of where to draw the line. And a knee jerk reaction of "Because Freedom!" isn't the way to make that decision. See here [youtube.com] for reasons why data mining kids is a _good_ thing.

Re:Because Children != Adults (1)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | about 3 months ago | (#47028007)

Endlessly referring to the complexity of the problem and refusing all proposed solutions in search of an absolutely perfect one is just a way to stall the debate while making yourself feel less like an obstructionist.

Re: Because Children != Adults (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47028075)

I think its sick to spy on kids. What next , spy on them in there bedroom . Sicko!

Re: Because Children != Adults (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 3 months ago | (#47029255)

Schools have already been caught doing this, and no one went to jail.

Re:Because Children != Adults (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 3 months ago | (#47028541)

While you are right, treating children as either adults or slaves is not the answer. But does "Won't somebody think of the children?" trump "Because Freedom"?

I am glad you can just throw your hands up and say "the problem is too hard, I give up." That means you probably don't have children. As a society we need to some up with some solutions to the question of.. "What rights should children have?"

big data,,, (3, Funny)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 3 months ago | (#47025275)

...is the new 42.

Re:big data,,, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47026417)

DataBase them when they're young, before they're aware, before they know of big brother. Indoctrinate them into the world of subservient sheep culture complete with silent mind control overlords optimizing their way into partnership with your lives so they can make you a happy little worker and fleece you without knowing.

FUCK THAT, that's why I've taken my kids out of school to home school.

Re:big data,,, (1)

Jack Griffin (3459907) | about 3 months ago | (#47028379)

Big Data seems to have taken centre stage lately, but are there any cases where it has been shown to produce results? By that I mean, there is a metric shit tonne of money being thrown around and what are we getting in return? If Google targeted ads or TSA watchlists are anything to go I'd say it's a dismal failure. Is there any analysis that shows the rewards of big data are not meeting the risk (ie dismantling the intrinsic built-in trust of a civilised society and the govts we elect to serve us)?

Re:big data,,, (2)

ultranova (717540) | about 3 months ago | (#47028569)

Is there any analysis that shows the rewards of big data are not meeting the risk (ie dismantling the intrinsic built-in trust of a civilised society and the govts we elect to serve us)?

A more cynical person might suggest that dismantling the trust is the reward some people seek. Divide and conquer is an old, venerable tactic used by both current and would-be tyrants everywhere.

Re:big data,,, (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 3 months ago | (#47029493)

Is there any analysis that shows the rewards of big data are not meeting the risk (ie dismantling the intrinsic built-in trust of a civilised society and the govts we elect to serve us)?

A more cynical person might suggest that dismantling the trust is the reward some people seek. Divide and conquer is an old, venerable tactic used by both current and would-be tyrants everywhere.

And yet strangely, the technique and how to recognize it is not taught as a regular part of every school's history or civics class.

In a less dysfunctional society where at least a few important things are not run by sociopaths, "Divide and Conquer" (perhaps taught by reading some Julius Caesar), "Propaganda Techniques", and "Logical Fallacies" would be mandatory courses for every human being.

Re:big data,,, (1)

alexborges (313924) | about 3 months ago | (#47033141)

Some more than a hundred billion dollars beg to disagree with your statement there, sir. As for your final question, I propose as an answer "Who cares?". Nobody cares about intrinsic built-in trust of a civilised society. All they want is profit to have as many bitches sucking on their dicks and their kids dicks. Human lifespan is short and the rich are accutely aware of this. This is why they take what they can when they can.

You seem to believe someone out there in industryland cares even a little bit about the rest of society and their future: good luck with that.

Team up with the Navy and you're on to something (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47025279)

I hear the navy wants intelligent robots. Poor kids.

Re:Team up with the Navy and you're on to somethin (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47025881)

I'd say it's a step up from the dumb humans they got now.

Home schooling (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47025289)

That's why I home school.

Re:Home schooling (3, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 3 months ago | (#47025493)

That's like using "Do not track", and about as effective.

Re:Home schooling (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47025855)

Actually, when it comes to being able to avoid nonsense like this, keeping your kids out of such an environment is quite effective.

And they won't have to suffer through the horrible 'education' system.

Re:Home schooling (5, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | about 3 months ago | (#47025691)

That's why I home school.

Home-schoolers are one of the biggest markets for "e-learning" products. I don't think the average home-schooling parent is aware of the privacy-violation potential.

Re:Home schooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47027395)

yawn

Re:Home schooling (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 3 months ago | (#47025751)

I wonder if this kind of datamining is on MR Smiths radar??

this message was brought to you by the letters H S L D the number 7 and the color Blue

Re: Home schooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47026183)

Even if you home school you have to send them to school from 9th grade on (at least according to NYS law).

Re: Home schooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47026657)

Not you don't. K - 12 homeschooling is legal in every state. There are testing req etc in NY.

Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (3, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 3 months ago | (#47025337)

This is fine if the parents agree to it. (Do they?) And as long as it is anonymized and not sold to Coke.

Finally, applying science to learning at a more detailed level. What works, what is crap, what is overkill.

Re:Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (2)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about 3 months ago | (#47025365)

The bigger bonus to this is that it teaches children that constant surveillance is OK and expected.

Re:Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (3, Interesting)

ccguy (1116865) | about 3 months ago | (#47025443)

The bigger bonus to this is that it teaches children that constant surveillance is OK and expected.

To be honest I think doing this to children is a lot better than doing it to adults. I mean, adults are doing nothing about it, but children will quickly learn that they are under surveillance at all times and will take extreme measures to counter it. I don't know of any child who isn't an expert on defeating their parents control techniques, whatever they are.

Re:Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47025621)

I mean, adults are doing nothing about it, but children will quickly learn that they are under surveillance at all times and will take extreme measures to counter it.

No, it sounds like this is the kind of surveillance that is building a secret "permanent record", with data sold to marketing or coming into play many years later when those children start thinking about politics.

Re:Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47025659)

Just like it happened in North Korea, Eastern Germany and the Soviet Union.

Re:Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47025743)

Interesting, as 2/3s of those have fallen...

Re:Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47025897)

Odd that we learn from the losers.

Re:Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47027247)

Yeah, because children all over the world naturally resists brainwashing and grow up to be perfectly resourceful and independent individuals.

Nice fiction you got there..

Re:Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47028227)

children will quickly learn that they are under surveillance at all times and will take extreme measures to counter it.

No, they will get used to the idea that always being under Big Brother's watchful eyes is normal. You think all this fascist stuff would have worked had they tried it half a century ago? Massive surveillance, monitoring everyone's conversations without an warrant, secret courts, imprisoning innocent men for years without a judgement, spying on kids for fucks sake... not even Stalinist USSR was that bad. People would've been really pissed off and heads would roll, possibly literally. Instead, the way they do it is by baby steps. They push it just a little further every day. A few years down the road they have the perfect (for them, anyway) surveillance state and nobody bats an eye.

Be seeing you.

Re:Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47025735)

I see your point, but I doubt that the children are as aware of the surveillance, if they've even been told about it at all, as their adult parents; I don't think that they have the presence of mind about these issues to have their view of "privacy rights" impacted, any more than having every aspect of their lives controlled by an unelected ruler makes them all warm and snugly about autocracies.

Re:Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47025887)

They'll find out eventually, and like it or not, their perception of surveillance like this will be affected by how normalized it is in our culture.

There's also another problem: Children won't have any choice. Unlike in other cases, children don't really have a choice of which school to attend, so this surveillance is even more intolerable.

Re:Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47025895)

My hope is that it teaches kids that they're being spied on, that kids don't like that and that they develop strategies to subvert and nullify it. Just like they did with their parents' attempts to keep them from sneaking out to go to that concert for decades.

Re:Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47025931)

That's.... a really long concert.

Re:Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47025937)

Some people say if you were at Woodstock, you never really returned from it... dude...

Re:Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (2)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 3 months ago | (#47025987)

Some people say if you were at Woodstock, you never really returned from it... dude...

On the other hand if you remember being at Woodstock you probably weren't there.

Re:Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (1)

Jiro (131519) | about 3 months ago | (#47026319)

I doubt that. Kids learn to escape their parents to go to a concert is that the concert is right there. Escaping their parents has an immediate, obviously visible, effect.

The type of surveillance described above is a lot more insidious, with respect to children. They're being surveilled for data mining. The kids aren't going to notice any obvious effects of the surveillance--it's not as if being surveilled means that the teacher will catch them saying naughty words and punish them. Any effect on them they either won't recognize (like buying more of some toy because marketing can target them better) or will be so far in the future and about such different things that they won't know about it (such as 20 years later someone deanonymizing the data and refusing to hire the guy because people who use lots of adjectives in childhood are statistically more likely to steal).

Re:Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (1)

Jack Griffin (3459907) | about 3 months ago | (#47028435)

It's worse than that, because relationships are built on trust. When I grew up, my parents let me out, and I did bad things, but I learnt from those experiences and now considered myself a valued member of society. I knew that I was being trusted to make the right choices (even though I didn't most of the time), but by going down the path of failure making mistakes I learnt more than I could ever from reading a text book. I'm wondering if kids never have that chance to make mistakes then their development will suffer, as will the whole of society's around them. This new era of surveillance is creating an environment where developing minds don't have the freedom to experiment and fail. Which is one of the most important steps in development.

Re:Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47025787)

This is fine if the parents agree to it. (Do they?)

I would bet real money that the parents were never told about it. Just like the parents were never told about school administration perverts watching their daughters through their school issued notebook's webcam. [[http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/02/21/2010213/pa-school-defends-web-cam-spying-as-security-measure-denies-misuse]].

Re:Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (2)

StillAnonymous (595680) | about 3 months ago | (#47026419)

No, even if it is anonymized, this is a big "do not want". You must assume that this data will make its way into the hands of Coke, Apple, the banks, and government entities.

These guys are quickly figuring out how the human brain works through methods like this, and they aren't using it for your benefit. It's being used to figure out how to sell you more crap, how to convince you to get others to buy more crap, and how to adjust your thinking patterns.

I find it amazing how well people are programmed through today's media. Even here on slashdot you have so many "individuals" who parrot media talking points to a tee, that it's unlikely they came to those conclusions on their own.

The human mind is simply another machine. Once they figure out what thought categories you fall into, they know what code path to feed you to influence you in their direction. This idea won't sit well with most folks, because they think they're too smart to fall for that, but I see it time and again with otherwise brilliant people who are suckered in by the agendas of others. I see it happen to myself as well, and it's scary.

There is no way I want my kids to be providing data for the enemy.

Re:Is this a big deal? Don't we want it? (1)

ron_ivi (607351) | about 3 months ago | (#47029791)

and not sold to Coke.

Wouldn't education be even better if Coke subsidized it and passed the savings on to me?

Wow! (4, Insightful)

DaMattster (977781) | about 3 months ago | (#47025427)

We really need a third party - I'm sick of both of the Republicans and Democrats. They both suck!!

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47025563)

I agree w/ your sentiment, but it's not the parties. They've both been taken over by progressives. We need to take them back and kick the "hidden" third party back out on their own.

Re:Wow! (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 3 months ago | (#47025625)

The Republicans, progressives? Only in America can this be said without bursting out laughing midway.

Re:Wow! (1)

rk (6314) | about 3 months ago | (#47026955)

It's progress, but with very different metrics.

Re:Wow! (4, Insightful)

Zenin (266666) | about 3 months ago | (#47025953)

That's interesting. Especially given that the right have been driving the entire political landscape in the US for the last 30+ years. We're at the point now where we have three parties, "Batshit crazy extremist right-wing nuts" (The Tea Party), far right extremists (Republicans) and right-wing (Democrats).

The reality is that Obama is solidly to the right of Reagan on nearly everything. Reagan, if he were alive to run today, would be denounced as a RINO and destroyed in the primaries. Hell, even if he converted to a Democrat he'd get denounced as being too liberal for the mainstream.

America doesn't know what left or progressive is, given they've rarely ever seen a progressive candidate in much of the last century.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47026453)

The Tea Party started a bunch of regular people who just wanted change. They weren't "batshit crazy extremists" by any means.

The party was quickly taken over by the republicans though.

Re:Wow! (1)

Zenin (266666) | about 3 months ago | (#47027967)

The Tea Party started a bunch of regular people who just wanted change.

You've been had. That was a great marketing back story, but it was always a work of pure fiction.

The Tea Party was created from whole cloth by the Citizens for a Sound Economy, itself a creation from whole cloth (and cash) by the Koch Brothers. It has never been "regular people", other than the regular people TTP has been able to con into declaring allegiance.

Although it's true The Tea Party and the Republican Party "joined forces", a product of common goals (takith from the poor and givith to the rich), and common tactics (lie and deceive "regular people" into rising up against their own self-interests), and frankly gullible constitutes (ignorant enough, unintelligent enough, or crazy enough to swallow the bullshit the Parties spoon out to them). The Republicans are political pragmatists however, and know not to feed their sheep too much bullshit at once else they risk it upchucking back in their faces (as it has in recent years). The Koch Brothers aren't so pragmatic however, which is why the two are now at odds: TTP overplayed and overextended the con.

The truth is "The Tea Party" has always existed. It's always been that extreme fringe element of the right that proper society never took seriously. What made TTP finally take root in the national conversation was a combination of great marketing powered by massive funding by the likes of the Koch Brothers. And that's it. This "grassroots" back story is no less bullshit than the rest of TTP propaganda.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47026551)

Especially given that the right have been driving the entire political landscape in the US for the last 30+ years.

I suppose if you think Stalin was a centrist you could think Carter, Clinton, Obama, and Pelosi are right of center. But regardless of where your line in the sand is - have you stopped to consider why most people in this country want a relatively conservative government and reject your preferred alternative?

Re:Wow! (2)

Zenin (266666) | about 3 months ago | (#47028063)

Ya know, it's kinda funny.

When you ask the American people, "Do you want more government or less", they answer less on the whole.

When you ask them about specifics however, ask them about actual issues. On healthcare, safety standards, environmental protection, education, labor rights, military, taxes, etc, etc, etc, etc... They come out overwhelmingly progressive.

The right can't win on the issues, and they know it. Their playbook has remained unchanged for decades if not centuries: Obscure, reframe, redirect, deceive. They rarely if ever speak out their motives or ideology in plain language, because when they do they get absolutely flayed by the regular public and abandoned by their cohorts.

Re:Wow! (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 3 months ago | (#47029239)

That's interesting. Especially given that the right have been driving the entire political landscape in the US for the last 30+ years.

Spoken by a person who truly believes in the idiotic one-dimensional political metaphor, and who likely identifies with one of the two groups that keeps that metaphor afloat (probably the one opposite the one being discussed).

The reality is that Obama is solidly to the right of Reagan on nearly everything. Reagan, if he were alive to run today, would be denounced as a RINO and destroyed in the primaries.

Let me say this clearly: THERE IS NO "RIGHT." THERE IS NO "LEFT." There are numerous different orientations on different issues -- leftists want more "freedom" on certain issues that righties; righties want more "freedom" on other issues that lefties. On some issues, the left wants more governmental regulation; on other issues, the right wants more governmental regulation. On some issues, the left wants to dictate rules for private behavior; on other issues, the right wants to dictate rules for private behavior. On some issues, the left wants to direct the economy in specified ways; other on issues the right wants to direct the economy is similar ways. Etc. Etc.

Obama is certainly more progressive than Reagan was on various social issues: gay rights, women's rights (e.g., access to birth control, abortion, workplace equality), etc. Obama is probably tied with Reagan in terms of militaristic interventions around the world. Obama is more willing than Reagan in using law enforcement and government forces to invade basic Constitutional rights, arguably what is traditionally a conservative "tough on crime" perspective.

Government spending? Prior to Reagan, there was some diversity of opinion. Nowadays, while the Republicans claim to want to rein things in, their record shows they really don't -- they'll just spend the money elsewhere. Both parties are more beholden to business interests and lobbyists than in decades past. On the other hand, we are moving toward more "socialist" approaches to healthcare (though in baby steps) -- one can argue that Obama ended up with plan similar to what Nixon's administration might have wanted, but I doubt Reagan would have tried it.

All in all, it's a mixed bag. There's no consistent "move" toward any particular direction. Claiming that the "Right" has driven the political landscape for 30+ years involves a huge denial or ignorance of the kinds of social progress we've made in areas of race, women's equality and rights, gay rights, etc. in the past few decades. Republicans, even of the Reagan era, would absolutely not have fought for such things.

There are many different political "spectra." Acting like there is only "one left" and "one right" and that one moves between them is just using a terrible and inaccurate metaphor. In some ways, the U.S. is now much more like what Democrats of the 1970s/1980s would have liked; in other ways, the U.S. is now much more like what Republicans of the 70s/80s would have liked.

And in still other ways -- and often the most profoundly disturbing changes -- are the ones where the U.S. is now going against what both parties would have objected to decades ago. And those changes are NOT all going toward the "right" (whatever that means). For example, the 4th Amendment is close to meaningless today. Is that an example of an extreme police state designed to maintain law and order (arguably a "conservative" mandate) or is it an example of an extreme socialist impulse to "do whatever it takes" to provide maximum benefits and protection to the populace at large (i.e., the government "knows best" and will take care of you, a liberal viewpoint). Remember that many socialist movements which originated in liberal causes "for the people" turned into totalitarian regimes.

In any case, what's happening now is certainly extreme -- and arguable in many ways "off the map" of what was even thought possible in the 1970s or 80s for either side of the political spectrum. Could you imagine Democrats in Congress from the Reagan administration speaking in favor of gay marriage? Could you imagine Republicans of that era arguing that we just need MORE guns in schools and public places?

The movements in general have been rather extreme and rather quick. But claiming that it's only in "one direction" is just ridiculous as an idea, since it's nonsensical to even come up with a single set of principles that could explain most of the changes in political policy in the past few decades.

Re:Wow! (2)

Zenin (266666) | about 3 months ago | (#47029969)

Thank you for bringing up issues like healthcare: Today's "socialist" ObamaCare plan was yesterday's fringe extremist right-wing health plan when it was proposed as an alternative to (center-left) HillaryCare. It's a fantastic example of just how far the "center line" of politics in the US has been pushed far, FAR to the right.

On the whole your essay either oversimplifies the (lack of) distinctions to the point of being invalid, or just gets the points wrong on all counts.

With a few notable social issue exceptions (that honestly don't really matter, but have been great for riling up "the base" on both sides), the debate has marched fast and steadily to the right for decades. Largely not by arguing for right-wing ideas and winning, but rather by cunningly moving the center line allowing them to argue what had been solidly "center" for the better part of a century was now "left wing extremism". The reframe was clever, undeniable, and incredibly effective. It's even snowed you.

Re:Wow! (2)

LongearedBat (1665481) | about 3 months ago | (#47029885)

So in the US being liberal means being on the left?!?

In Australia the Liberal Party is a relatively right wing party.

Re:Wow! (1)

Zenin (266666) | about 3 months ago | (#47029913)

It's...not easy to follow.

"Liberal" is a pejorative in the US, typically thrown at folks who are anywhere slightly left of the far right-wing that drives much of US politics. In reality what is "left" or "liberal" in the US would be center-right or even hard-right anywhere else on the globe. In the US the "center line" between left and right isn't anywhere near where you'd expect it to logically be.

That said... "Libertarian" in the US is the polar opposite of "Liberal" and generally means the far right fringe of the batshit crazy extremist right wing. All the policies of pure anarchy, yet refuse to accept the title.

ALL debate in the US spans a range that the rest of the world would consider center-right (Democrats) through far right (Republicans) and extremist right-wing separatists (Tea Party, Libertarians). There are left-wing groups in the US (the Green Party, Socialists, etc), but they get absolutely zero air time and are effectively a non-entity in our politics (although they get a nod in San Francisco every once in a while).

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47030355)

So in the US being liberal means being on the left?!?

Well, "liberal" means "not us" and, to the "right makes might" right-wing crowd, "not us" is code for
"bad" or "our enemy" -- see "you're with us or against us"

You have to understand not only are things divisive in the U.S. when advantageous, but divisiveness is always seen as advantageous.

The truth is people always on the attack are desperately afraid. There is lots of fear of the unknown.

When the right wing (see Fox) is engaged in non-stop scare mongering, anyone with half a clue sees
right through it.

However, the uneducated and gullible get very angry, and they declare war on those they
have been brainwashed into believing are the cause of all the world's problems.

Things never get as far as "means."

Again, might makes right. My imaginary God says I am right and you are wrong, otherwise you would have stopped me.

You give us too much credit, if you think we care what anything "means."

If we are still around (as in existing -- what we have devolved into has no bearing on anything) and yet, some puny little weak country got blown to smithereens because we needed their resources...

Then that means we were right and they were wrong. Our system is sustainable, and their system was not.

Endless dislogic, an entirely self-perpetuating myth, and nothing more than an excuse to bully the world?

Doesn't matter. We need things NOW!

I hope you get a feel what life in the U.S. is like. Mostly BS, mostly lies, mostly wild animals foaming at the mouth.

There are pockets and patches of sanity, but most of them are either on their way out, or will readily
admit they have given up on anything besides their own self-interest.

It is depressing, but educating people, knowing what things "mean" ... is just not profitable (or as profitable).

In the U.S. that means that knowledge is generally bad. Unless you can find a way to charge someone for educating them, it is just chatter.

The truth is whatever sells highest this week. This is the system that is enforced in the U.S.

Do not assume we have any consistency and morals beyond making a buck, and you will see things much clearer for what they are.

You will no longer wonder at apparent contradictions and the inane, senseless view that people in the U.S. hold, but instead you will see us for what we are.

There never was any intention of being consistent or making sense, there never were any morals involved, honesty was not the enemy, it just never was the goal. It was entirely about money the whole time.

Does this help?

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47030375)

So in the US being liberal means being on the left?!?

Put another way:

"liberal" is code for "someone who wants my money [1]"

"conservative" means "fellow, respectable thief [2]"

[1] that I stole, but that is besides the point
[2] easy target

You may think I am joking, but in all truth, "liberal" in the U.S. means "whatever it is most profitable for it to mean today."

That is the truth. Do not look any further, lest ye be driven to despair.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47030405)

You may think I am joking, but in all truth, "liberal" in the U.S. means "whatever it is most profitable for it to mean today."

You need to realize what plutocracy entails. Truth, does not matter.

Branding, is the only thing.

Re:Wow! (3, Informative)

Presto Vivace (882157) | about 3 months ago | (#47025647)

There are plenty of emergent parties. There is Socialist Alernative in Seattle, Mountain Party of West Virginia [mtparty.org] , Vermont Progressive Party [progressiveparty.org] , Independent Party of Connecticut [independentpartyofct.com] , the DC Statehod/Green Party [yolasite.com] , and most states have a chapter of the Green Party. Vote for one of their candidates.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47025951)

There are plenty of emergent parties. There is Socialist Alernative in Seattle, Mountain Party of West Virginia [mtparty.org] , Vermont Progressive Party [progressiveparty.org] , Independent Party of Connecticut [independentpartyofct.com] , the DC Statehod/Green Party [yolasite.com] , and most states have a chapter of the Green Party. Vote for one of their candidates.

Unlike those parties I don't want to quibble about how to use the huge government. I want less government. Liberterian Party for me. They're the only ones serious about returning to federalism.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47025711)

Just vote for anything. It might seem pointless but if one of the major parties lost to the other with a 1% difference in votes they are going to take notice if some 2% of the votes went to some minor party.

Re:Wow! (1)

antdude (79039) | about 3 months ago | (#47026085)

They all suck because they are humans. :(

Re:Wow! (1)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | about 3 months ago | (#47026619)

The problem is, the system is now optimized to narrow it down to two. Sort of like the game of Risk. You start with several players, and as soon as one of them starts to get big all the othere gang up and whittle the upstart down to size. Any time there's a third party, it only undermines one of the "two" in favor of the other. And neither of the two will allow anyone else in the debates so they can frame it like there are only two sides to each question and you never hear about the issues where they agree which is usually where the problems are.

How the hell can Obama "relax privacy law"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47025495)

And the Obama administration has encouraged it, even relaxing federal privacy law to allow school districts to share student data more widely.

What. The. Hell?!?!

How can the President unilaterally change laws?

I thought LAWS were passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate, then signed by the President.

Silly me.

Re:How the hell can Obama "relax privacy law"? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47025909)

Folks, please don't tell him about "due process" and what happened to it, it might break his heart.

Re:How the hell can Obama "relax privacy law"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47026195)

Don't get your panties into a bunch. That is very vague phrasing and could mean several different things. It could mean that Obama asked Democrats in the House and Senate to draft and pass new legislation, which they did. It could mean that the law was written (as most laws are) with some leeway for interpretation and Obama is opting to use a different interpretation than his predecessors. It could also mean that Obama decided to allocate less DoJ funding to prosecuting crimes under this law. (The DoJ doesn't have the resources to try every case.)

Enough of the conspiracy theories. If Obama was really unilaterally enacting new legislation, you could be sure that Republicans would be all over him.

when they grow up (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 3 months ago | (#47025501)

When these kids grow up, most of them will be totally used to it and many more will accept government paternalism without complaint "for their own good". Many will likely even feel lost without "father" or "big brother" watching them and telling them what they are doing wrong.

Re:when they grow up (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47025921)

Well, my hope is that more will be very fed up with it and resist any and all attempts to monitor them. Both is very possible, actually an extreme level of surveillance is likely to breed either extreme, total acceptance or total resistance.

Re:when they grow up (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 3 months ago | (#47027653)

Well, having seen a couple of generations grow up, unfortunately it's not a guess. Current generations are much less independent and much more supervised than past generations, and they consider it "normal".

Re:when they grow up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47027173)

How do you get from corporate spying to "government paternalism"?

I dont understand the mental gymnastics.

Re:when they grow up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47030421)

How do you get from corporate spying to "government paternalism"? I dont understand the mental gymnastics.

It's not hard to jump half a foot. Hell, you can do it blindfolded, backwards, standing on your head.

There is no difference. Corporations are the government. They are one and the same.

Profit at all cost, ever-expanding, always about the "greater good" and never about what is best for individuals or in the people's bets interest...vehemently anti-democratic and always willing to sacrifice others (but never themselves) ... whatever makes a buck, regardless of who or what is destroyed in the process...engaging in war whenever more resources or human capital are needed...they are entirely the same.

The vultures in Nevada, are not that different from those in the Sahara.

The corporations constantly onslaught us with a fiction that they provide for the helpless, defenseless, innocent citizens, who could not exist without them.

It is the same lie that Big Brother is selling.

In both cases, they promise the world, but nothing is free, and the taxpayer pays for it and is forced to fund their own chains.

Please, share with us how government and corporations differ.

Overreacting, maybe? (3, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about 3 months ago | (#47025513)

First, when a kid is in the roll of the student, there is not much expectation of privacy. There is an limitation to those who are allowed to invade the privacy, but it is not like a 15 year old kid who surfs p0rn can complain to his parents of the school that they violated his privacy by spying on him, even if he bought the phone and pays the bill.

This is obviously an exaggeration, but the point is the same. If a student is working on an assignment, she is always observed to make sure for on task behavior, or to make sure the process is correct. The computer is no different. One problem with computer as a educator is that many students don't really know how to use it as tool. They only know how to use it as game. It is the difference between a pencil as a tool to complete a worksheet, or a pencil as toy to throw or use to play sword fighting. Both are legitimate uses of a pencil, in the proper circumstances, and kids need to be taught to use it as the former for typical educational purposes.

So depending on how the data is used the age of the student, it is perfectly reasonable, even beneficial, for software to be monitoring the students behavior. The act of monitoring, just like in the classroom, can positively effect the students behavior. Likewise, constantly monitoring the use and effectiveness of the material is called formative assessment, which is not only beneficial but also required if you are going to give a student the unique educational experience that everyone seems to be clamoring for.

So this is not necessarily like Disney tracking every move of the six year old children. If this is a legitimate educational service, and they violate the privacy of students, even if the students are over 13 years old(and Disney is free to do whatever they want with 13 year old children), they are in violation of federal laws protecting the privacy of students. This does not mean they cannot collect data, it just means they are limited in how they can use it, and who can see it.

Re:Overreacting, maybe? (2)

iggymanz (596061) | about 3 months ago | (#47025611)

little problem with your observation, traditionally the low amount of privacy was limited to a few people in the school; computers and networks can spread a child's personal information far and wide outside the realm of the local school and a few teachers with a principal.

Re:Overreacting, maybe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47026377)

Where have you been? Everything about a student is on a computer. Districts contract with multiple firm to crunch the data. Often this data is student identifiable. Pearsons, for instance, has every test score on most of the children across the US for the past at least 15 years. In many districts, routine test grading is done by scanning answer documents into a computer, then transmitting the data to non school servers where it is crunched and theoretical visible to the low paid workers who look at that data. The same laws that protect a professor from posting grades in the hallway by name protect the students data when it is transmitted around the world. There is nothing protecting student's privacy except the law.

Re:Overreacting, maybe? (1)

vpness (921181) | about 3 months ago | (#47026359)

fermion makes a decent point. Maybe another way to restate his point is 'what's the difference between a *teacher* monitoring where a student is struggling in a classroom, and a *teacher* monitoring the student struggling online. Also, if in aggregate, and if anonymous, if the cloud can analyze where students struggle, and can improve the content, or *ID the teacher laggards* I'm all in. IMO, what is different is when some remote 3rd party monitors the *student, and can personally ID the student.* *That* I have a problem with. and, sorry fermion, it's 'role' of the student ;)

Re:Overreacting, maybe? (1)

BilI_the_Engineer (3618871) | about 3 months ago | (#47026421)

The problem with your position is that it relies on foolish trust of authority figures. History has shown that that's a bad idea. They'll promise a number of things (such as that the data will be anonymous), but later break those promises either in secret, or at a time when most people just won't care (much like with the NSA surveillance).

I wouldn't subject any child to this sort of abuse.

Re:Overreacting, maybe? (1)

vpness (921181) | about 3 months ago | (#47026483)

good point, and fair enough. My position *would* require the cloud system to have some fairly rigorous controls (e.g. allow only the teacher to have the private key, with NO ADK) which in implementation, wouldn't likely ever get implemented.

Re:Overreacting, maybe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47028465)

Of course, the principal and/or vice-principal would also have to have the key, because what if the teacher suddenly has a heart attack, or gets murdered, or quits without notice? Then the school decides they want to build a new stadium for their favored sports team and a company happily "donates" a couple thousand/million for the principal to look the other way while they copy the key...

Re:Overreacting, maybe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47026465)

You're missing a point, or a few.

Standardized testing is moving to computers. ALL to computers. And it's not the content they're just testing you on. It's whether you can actually use a computer. THAT, is 1/3 of the test now, or as my SO, who is a 2nd and 3rd grade teacher explained it. So we have, 3 things going on for testing:

1) students knowledge of a subject
2) students ability to use a computer
3) students ability to use a computer, when tested against a specific subject

If a student can't use a computer properly, or in a timely manner, since these are time-based tests afaik, your metric for the other 2 becomes highly skewed. If you don't see a problem with this approach, I'm not sure education will help you.

Re:Overreacting, maybe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47026513)

This is not legit, I already said this, in my state they passed a new grade rating. There is the traditional A-F, and a new set next to those. The teachers will mark what subjects students are struggling/need improvement/excelling in, with brief instructions on what parts in particular the student needs to work on. And just like this spying game, it will fall on deaf ears because parents really do not have the time to really help their children. There is no need for a 3rd party to be collecting data on students when it is the teachers jobs to make parents and the student aware of what they need to improve on.

What possible good could come from this? Other then selection of which students could be used in whatever field, any company AKA, MS, FaceBook, Google ect.., or government. There is no reason for this, by your argument a student should be called out in front of the entire class or the entire school for failing, or because the have some physical difficulty, because they have no privacy as students. Or the teachers shouldn't have any expectation of privacy but they'll run and hide behind unions to make sure they have it, despite being public servants. Public Servants shouldn't not expect privacy when they are on the clock, once they are on their own time they should expect to have personal lives. Students aren't paid to go to school, so there should be respect and protection for privacy.

Since I have to pay for teachers retirement, health, and salaries, they better be doing more to help students, and keeping any problems between them the student and the parents, obviously they will have to report this to other admins, but it deals with a subject, not collecting every detail of the student.

Re:Overreacting, maybe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47027023)

The problem is not the monitoring per se, it is that information is never destroyed, ever. You have no "right to be forgotten" and those companies know who you are from your birthday to the day of your death. The more data they have on you, the more they can anticipate your behaviour and send you the appropriate information to influence it (the Google search bubble is an example...).

life-force sucking (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 3 months ago | (#47025581)

This is a disgusting application of this technology, a continuance of the "big data" fallacy.

More data is only helpful if you know how to analyze & factor it into a theory that allows for prediction.

This data only serves to give beuarcrats & incompetent middle managers some "number" abstraction to "hit" so they can justify their existence.

Gates is doing this too...these people should not be allows anywhere **near children**

How high do you want your taxes? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 3 months ago | (#47030659)

You complain about the failing of schools, yet you give them less than 1/2 the dollars per pupil compared to private schools (which still aren't perfect) to accomplish the same task. The reason for all the tracking and testing is to try and optimize the educational system. You want personalized lesson plans so each student can learn at his or her own pace and in a manner which is best suited to him or her, while putting in $1/hour/pupil in human oversight and guidance? Good fucking luck! Put in $20/hr and you're on the right track, but I don't think property taxes of 20% are feasible.

There is no way to optimize learning except by observing how and why a child learns in real time, and adjusting the curriculum to match. Computers can do this now, but they need some sort of basis for their algorithm. That comes from data.

If you want it fixed, you should require anonymization of data (i.e. tokens), forbid the use of data for any fiscal gain outside of the task at hand, and hold every person in the corporate chain personally and criminally liable for breaches. Or do the same and keep the data and programs in-house, but that would mean either every district with it's own custom software (=$$$$) or a nationwide project to create the software - and we know how well the Feds are at that kind of thing.

computers can never do this (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 3 months ago | (#47032463)

hey some interesting info

you said this:

observing how and why a child learns in real time, and adjusting the curriculum to match. Computers can do this now

I have to respectfully beg to differ on this...no, we *dont* have the ability to do this...not even close

computers will never be able to do as you say, it's too complex of behavior

this is but one example (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | about 3 months ago | (#47025587)

of why school board elections are important. don't let this happen in your jurisdiction.

Disconnect (1)

mrflash818 (226638) | about 3 months ago | (#47025645)

Problem solved.

Unplug; or be controlled as a human algorithm... (1)

Atl Rob (3597807) | about 3 months ago | (#47025667)

The only choice you have to avoid it is unplug or counterintelligence, feed the wire-tappers false info! I'm sure that will be illegal at some point too... I guess it's open season for spying on congress and CEOs. Say goodbye to the world as you know it! Hello super-corruption. It's the culmination of all things we shed blood over in the twentieth century, think about it. Like having J. Edgar Hover amplified 6 orders of magnitude mixed with the hell of east-Berlin and corrupted African dictatorships all rolled into one... Yippee!

The indoctrination of a new generation (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about 3 months ago | (#47025967)

That's how I interpret this.
Humans, for all their faults and flaws, have an amazing degree of adaptability, especially when they don't have a baseline for comparison of their circumstances. If you raise a child in a bad situation, and that's all they really know, then they adapt to that situation; it becomes 'normal' to them, and they'll actually become uncomfortable if you try to 'improve' their situation, actually seeking the conditions they're adapted to. That's what these corporations and the government are doing here: They're raising an entire new generation under total surveillance, while at the same time so-called 'social media' is teaching them that 'sharing is right and good, privacy is wrong and only bad people with something to hide want that!'. The result will likely be an entire generation of adults who not only think being watched and monitored everywhere they go and in every thing they do is OK, but will get uncomfortable and even downright insecure if they detect that they're not being watched, surveilled, and monitored 24/7/365. If the current generation of adults in this country, regardless of whether they have school-age children or not, don't protest and fight back against these practices, then I fear greatly for the future of this country.

Re:The indoctrination of a new generation (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 3 months ago | (#47026177)

If you raise a child in a bad situation, and that's all they really know, then they adapt to that situation; it becomes 'normal' to them, and they'll actually become uncomfortable if you try to 'improve' their situation, actually seeking the conditions they're adapted to.

Ah, the social blank slate theory. It's rubbish you know. Just imagine: A kid hit in the head twice every day. Oh, they'll think that's normal, and they'll miss getting the pain to the noggin if you stop! The genetic program that designed their prime cognitive pathways has no effect on the pain reception and aggression circuits? You don't think once that kid's big enough they'll wallop whomever's trying to bash them in the skull? What kind of idiot are you? Tell me: Why don't we have to teach babies to suckle right out of the womb? I mean, we could give them cups to drink out of then, eh? No. Instincts exist. Even in humans. Some shit isn't overridable. The kids that get spied on will have an aversion to being spied on.

Hell, I used to stay up all night writing code in middle school. I'd have already done my mathematics class work and homework days or weeks before -- the knowledge having been needed in years prior to write a bit of software, I'd blaze through the assignments once I figured out the teacher's curriculum. Then I'd doodle or sleep in class. Sometimes I'd be have awake and let out snore just to catch the teacher's eye. From my actions she predicted that I didn't know what was going on in class. So at first she was always very surprised when I perfectly solved the problems she posed on the blackboard without ever paying attention to her. I'm sure a predictive program would have thought I had problems with mathematics instead of just being bored to tears.

Oh sure, just ignore that every new generation creates their own music and clothing styles despite being "socialized" to accept their parents dress and cultural tastes. Just ignore that strong independence impulse that curiously strikes right around breeding age when hormones are going wild. Yes, just assume that kids will just accept their programming and become good little drones.

No, that's not how it works. People can adapt to COPE with situations, but that doesn't mean they FEEL (a primal intuition) that their experience is normal. Humans are tool using creatures. They'll adopt new technologies that are useful even if you embed undesired features into it. However, as history hath shewn, the children will grow up and try to change the things they think are fucked up in society. Whether the entrenched establishment overpowers the counter cultures is an altogether different matter, but what we do know is that enough of said friction destroys empires.

Re:The indoctrination of a new generation (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about 3 months ago | (#47026543)

If you're going to create extreme examples then of course you'll find a way to poke holes in what I'm saying, but that's not what this news story is about now is it? Nobody is hitting school kids in the head every day and telling them it's normal and right, they're monitoring them and surveilling them and if they ever wondered, they'd be told it's 'for their own safety' and 'we just care about you and don't want anything bad to happen to you' or whatever plausible phrases they need to tell them to make them comfortable again. Also if I had to describe every single individual child and their theoretical reactions to what this story is talking about I'd have to write a multi-volume novel about it and I still wouldn't be done, so of course I speak in generalities to one extent or another just like everyone else including yourself does so what of it?

Re:The indoctrination of a new generation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47030483)

Just imagine: A kid hit in the head twice every day.

You don't think once that kid's big enough they'll wallop whomever's trying to bash them in the skull?

Now you see, that nothing ever changes. Who do you think was hitting the kid in the head twice every day? The former kid who got hit. You are proving their point, spectacularly.

However, as history hath shewn, the children will grow up and try to change the things they think are fucked up in society. Whether the entrenched establishment overpowers the counter cultures is an altogether different matter, but what we do know is that enough of said friction destroys empires.

The children do not want to destroy empires, anymore than they truly care for their counter cultures.

They want their own empires.

The entrenched establishment does not need to overpower the counter cultures, they merely need to co-opt them, and replace the leaders and big names with friendlier "candidates."

The children will sell out wholeheartedly, once they have children to feed and mortgages to pay.

Are they really going to rise up against the hands that feed them? No.

They have student debt, you think they have the time to destroy empires? HAHAHA.

History has shown that people always want "safety."

The safe thing to do, is for the establishment to destroy the counter cultures from within.

How many kids do you think will even notice the difference? As they get older, they will forget all about changing things.

You see all the old bitter fucks, stuck in a cubicle 9-5?

That was your "change" 20 years ago.

"Destroys empires?" HAHAHAHAHA.

It is more like "you have the freedom to work for the empire or starve"

There is a small minority of people who care, but ever few who are all of: 1) in any position to change anything 2) willing to work hard and long enough to get to that position 3) will still want to change anything once they have reached that position.

By the time they make it to 3) they are old and dying.

Just ignore that strong independence impulse that curiously strikes right around breeding age when hormones are going wild. Yes, just assume that kids will just accept their programming and become good little drones.

Kids being slaves to their hormones. What astounding "change", what impressive "progress", what endless "creativity", what limitless "independence" ..... sounds like drones to me.

Noone gives a crap about kids. Tell me what they will do when they are adults.

Your story sounds more like, they will be "kids" when it is safe and the proper time, and then they will sell out like everyone else.

That way they won't cause you any problems, and you can get your nap, without having to worry about your empire crumbling.

Your grandchildren can have their "independence" and you won't have to worry about anyone your age with any real power coming to take yours away.

Sorry gramps, it looks like you are starting to get senile.

Heaven forbid the parents get involved. (2)

Chas (5144) | about 3 months ago | (#47026673)

Actually at least one has tried. A guy down in Nevada tried to find out what kind of info they're collecting on his kid.

The silly bastards want to charge him $10,000 for the info. Supposedly it'll take 3 weeks of programming time to get the data out.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/... [thenewamerican.com]

Education is only a means to an end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47026757)

Big brother wants their souls.

Utilitarian, functional drones versus citizens (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47027175)

The trend in education seems to be to create utilitarian, functional drones who are technically able to perform tasks (even complex ones like software development) but are devoid of any ability to think or create. The fact that society sees this as a good thing is frightening. The idea of a liberal education which causes growth and ability to think seems to be something of the past. It's like we're in a new industrial revolution. Schools used to turn out clock-disciplined people for factories, who had basic functional literacy and math skills. Now schools turn out drones who can functionally perform tasks, even higher-level ones, but are devoid of any spark of life.

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