News & Press

Brazilian Government Struggles to Stop Student Data Harvesting

Press Release
Apr 20, 2023
min read

Human Rights Watch announced a few weeks ago that an extensive investigation had revealed that multiple educational websites designed for Brazil students during the switch to distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic have been surveilling and harvesting personal data on children without consent.

There is a group of websites that have been doing this, including two associated with state education secretariats. This report follows a similar May 2022 report from Human Rights Watch that resulted in a single website being taken down by the Brazilian government.

The current report highlights five websites in particular that have been using highly intrusive methods that were impossible to avoid and tracked children's session recordings and mouse clicks and movements around the page. Such information was then available for third parties to access, another infringement on the students' rights.

“Families in Brazil are being kept in the dark about the data surveillance conducted on children in online classrooms,” said Hye Jung Han, children’s rights and technology researcher and advocate at Human Rights Watch. “Instead of protecting children, state governments have willfully enabled anyone to surveil them and collect their personal information online.”

Brazilian state governments have not yet responded to requests for quotes, but this discovery brings up a serious flaw in the country's coverage of children's data in its comprehensive data privacy law, the LGPD.

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