Big Data, Privacy and Education Applications

Posted: 1 Dec 2019

See all articles by Priscilla Regan

Priscilla Regan


Jane Bailey

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Date Written: November 15, 2019


Big data applications pose some of the most profound new media challenges to human rights, with particularly serious social, cultural and political implications for privacy. Increasingly aggressive marketing of these applications in K-12 education now exposes young people to new forms of privacy intrusions and escalates the risk of discrimination in schools. Nonetheless, schools are adopting educational technology (“edtech”) globally, often in reliance on promises of yet-to-be-proven benefits. Meanwhile, it is unclear whether educators are well advised of edtech’s related privacy and equality implications. Articles in professional education magazines, in which edtech is frequently marketed, represent one potential source of such information. This paper discusses the findings from our study of the developing discourse about edtech and big data in selected American and Canadian professional education magazines from 2013-2017. While these magazines reported on a wide range of risks and benefits of edtech, they incorporated disturbingly little coverage of its privacy implications.

Keywords: privacy, big data, education, teachers

JEL Classification: I20, I24, A39, K19

Suggested Citation

Regan, Priscilla and Bailey, Jane, Big Data, Privacy and Education Applications (November 15, 2019). Available at SSRN:

Priscilla Regan


Jane Bailey (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
613-562-5800 ext. 2364 (Phone)
613-562-5124 (Fax)

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