A Singapore government scheme to ensure children have access to computers for home learning has raised privacy concerns over monitoring software installed on the devices.
The scheme, accelerated by the closure of schools last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, offers subsidies to ensure all secondary school students will have access to computers by the end of 2021.
The government said in December that the computers must be fitted with device management applications, while students using their own computers will also need to have these installed onto their devices.
The software allows teachers to view and control students’ screens remotely, the vendor has said, sparking an online petition against the plan and criticism from international NGO, Human Rights Watch.
The education ministry told Singapore broadcaster CNA this month that the software would capture data such as students’ search history to restrict “objectionable material” but would not track personal data such as location or passwords.