Notes from the Electronic Cottage 9/5/19: School Data Update & Dark Patterns

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

On the Electronic Cottage, we have recently noted the upsurge in student surveillance and data collection going on in many schools. These huge troves of data offer very attractive attacks for hackers of all types, including, as it turns out, a 16 year old curious about the software his school and thousands of others use. What he found and the ease with which he found it is very disturbing.

Also very disturbing is the prevalence of Dark Patterns on shopping and other web sites. A group of Princeton researchers recently analyzed the 11,000 biggest shopping sites on the web looking for Dark Patterns that are meant to cajole or deceive us into making purchases we might otherwise not make, or offering personal information we might not otherwise share online. They found thousands of these Dark Patterns, and the odds are pretty good we have all come across them without knowing it.