Iceland’s Data Protection Authority is examining the use of Google Chromebooks in Icelandic schools, mbl.is reports. The devices, similar to laptops, were recently banned in Danish schools due to data transfer risks. Vigdís Eva Líndal, the Data Protection Authority’s director, says children should be able to learn using digital devices without giving personal information away to US tech giants.
Iceland’s investigation into the devices is part of a pan-European assessment of cloud solutions in public institutions. The Icelandic audit is being carried out in five municipalities, and the results are expected this fall. Iceland’s Data Protection Authority banned use of the Seesaw educational system in Iceland last winter due to data transfer concerns.
“Legislation on privacy is very limited in the United States,” Vigdís told RÚV reporters. “There is no federal legislation that addresses these issues.” Vigdís adds that the broad access that monitoring institutions have to data in the US does not conform to the values regarding personal privacy on which European laws are based.
How much data should children have to give?
Magnús Þór Jónsson, chairman of the Icelandic Teachers’ Association, has stated that digital solutions like Chromebooks and Google Workplace (which was also banned in Danish schools) are a big part of the educational system in Iceland, and that it is important to ensure that children learn about the digital world in school.
Vigdís agrees: “But the question is, how much personal information do children need to provide in order to learn? Can’t we work in such a way that they have the freedom to learn to use technology without giving their information to US corporations?”
“That is the fundamental question in this,” says Vigdís. “Can we find a way to ensure children’s privacy while still teaching them to use technology?”