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Data privacy literacy as a subversive instrument to datafication

Updated: Mar 23, 2022

To learn about the risks from their data privacy loss, children need look no further. Digitalized education has propelled constant data extraction and—hypocritically—a privacy standard that contrasts with data privacy literacy efforts that policy and academics promote. If School allows data extraction from its ubiquitous digitalization, what do children learn about their privacy? Moreover, is edtech’s commercial project for School a form of hidden pedagogy for oppression creating and reinforcing this hypocrisy? These questions emerge as I critically examine data privacy conceptually and observe School’s data privacy practices in contrast with proposals for teaching data privacy literacy. For such teachings to succeed, School must unveil the hypocrisy of data practices that are enabled as every educational process becomes digitalized and, through copartnership with students, commit to recreating privacy preservation independent of corporate influence reality.

The full paper was first published in and can be retrieved from The International Journal of Communication. It explores the increasing 'legitimate' role of education technologies (edtech) in School and its subsequent oppressive imposition over children's rights and freedoms with regards to how, what, why and for how long they should study.

Giving a rather pessimistic view of the climate of a datafied School, the paper has two objectives. First, it calls on School, in any shape and form that invests in and uses edtech products, educators, and policy makers, to reflect on the loss of privacy to which digitalized educational processes are leading and the subsequent complications for children’s rights, freedoms, and futures.

Unconsciousness toward edtech’s growing legitimate power in School, while there is a lack of standard of edtech market regulation, allows for their naturalization and challenges the efforts to understand and mitigate the subsequent risks to children’s education and futures.
Second, for any data privacy literacy pedagogies to succeed, School should deploy a praxis of honesty through awareness, reflection, action, and resistance over data privacy practices and, equally, copartner with students in transforming the environment of hypocrisy and unconsciousness toward privacy loss to an honest one that is preserving it and maintaining independence.

Copyright © 2022 (Velislava Hillman). Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd). Available at

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