Universities force students to install location tracking apps to check if they attend classes or not

Technology has multiple applications in the field of education, which allows improving learning processes, although it cannot force students to assist to their classes, at least not until now. According to data protection experts, the University of Missouri has asked its students-athletes to participate in a program that involves using location tracking software to verify whether these future professional athletes are attending to their classrooms.

Facing the criticism related to student privacy, university officials defended this strategy, arguing that it has been implemented for the benefit of the student community. The application, called SpotterEDU, must be used by student athletes of the university, in addition the rest of the students have been invited to willingly participate in the pilot program.

According to data protection specialists, the app was planned by a former basketball coach concerned about the poor academic performance of some members of his team. As for its developers, the app provides the universities “continuous, reliable, non-invasive information about the presence of students within classrooms.” University of Missouri officials say students are only monitored inside classroom or labs.

Unsurprisingly, this technology has multiple detractors, mainly student-athletes who have been forced to install this software on their smartphones so as not to lose their scholarships or face other kinds of sanctions. Academics and researchers at various universities have also expressed concerns about the use of this tool.

On the other hand, a representative of SpotterEDU says that developers are already working with more than 40 schools across the US, mainly in areas such as Florida, Indiana and Missouri; Although the idea arose to track the activities of athletes-students, many data protection experts fear that this technology will be used in a standardized way in the future.

The primary question regarding the use of surveillance and monitoring technology is who monitors the vigilantes, mentions the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS), without forgetting a potential abuse of this technology and its level of propensity to computer security incidents.