Parents of students at Canadian International School of Hong Kong (CDNIS) are worried information on their children might be shared and misused. This is after the school had their primary and junior secondary students test electronic safety wristbands.
The South China Morning Post reported this week that the six-week trial period began on May 9. Two hundred students from Grade Four to Grade Eight are to wear the Fitbit-like bands which give information about when students enter and leave the school campus in Aberdeen, as well as when they get on and off their school bus.
The wristband can also count the wearer’s steps and keep track of their heart rate. The bands were made by Shenzhen-based tech giant Tencent.
According to David Baird, the head of the school, the trial was part of the school’s mission to improve the safety of its 2,100 students. He said there is no GPS system in the device, and that all data is stored on campus in computers owned by the school. “No third party can have access to any data in the system,” said Baird.
Some parents are worried the company that created the band might be able to get information on the students and misuse the data, while others say they have complete trust in the school.
“Whatever agreement there may be on paper, the data often finds its way into other hands, whether by accident or not,” said one parent.
“This data is gold dust for a firm like Tencent.”
“Our school has a strong IT team … ” said another. “I can’t see why we should be more worried about our data at school than at other organisations. I trust the school.”
“Some parents want us to continue the way we are, but if it was their child lost, guess how many issues and complaints we would face,” said Baird.
Young Post contacted the school about student safety there in the past, and whether they will continue to use the bands, but the school has not responded.