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Internet Safety Labs Advances Mobile App Safety for K-12 Students, Families and Educators with New App Microscope


SAN DIEGO (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —  Internet Safety Labs, a non-profit organization dedicated to independent software product safety testing, today announced a big leap forward to help ensure mobile app safety for K-12 students, families and educators with the introduction of the App Microscope.

Funded with support from the  Internet Society Foundation, the new web-based resource is designed to help school technology decision-makers and other interested parties pierce the technology fog and take a good hard look at what is really going on with children’s private and personal data inside the EdTech mobile applications they are using.

The extensive research presented in the ISL’s  2022 K12 Edtech Safety Benchmark Findings Report Part 1 makes it clear the technology recommended and used by U.S. educational institutions poses substantial privacy and safety risks to children and families. The report shows that 96% of educational apps share children’s personal information with third parties — 78% of the time with advertising and data analytics entities – and typically without the knowledge or consent of the users or the schools.

App Microscope is a tool for app developers, school technology decision-makers, journalists, privacy advocates, regulators and any other interested parties who want to better understand risky behaviors of mobile apps. Through a simple search bar, users can mine information about the 1,722 mobile apps contained in the ISL 2022 K-12 EdTech safety benchmark, which analyzed data collected from 663 schools, covering more than 455,000 students across all 50 states.

Once queried, App Microscope displays the Internet Safety Labs Safety Label for mobile applications, rating them from Some Risk to Very High Risk, and summarizes the risky behaviors in a very clear and easy-to-understand single page.

Try Out the App Microscope, It’s Free!

Visit the  App Microscope web page and enter the name of a school mobile app you are using, or just enter a broader search term such as Google, Microsoft or school for a list of some popular apps used in schools. The tool will present you with the risk score and supporting data for that app. That’s it! The  help page provides details that explain the risks and how the risk scores are calculated.

“When people want to know what is in something, from cars to clothes to food, they look at the label. We think it is rather shocking that there are no independent safety labels for the technology we all use every day, and we are working to change that,” said Lisa LeVasseur, executive director of Internet Safety Labs. “We are all about radical transparency, and our research and new App Microscope demonstrate our aim to blow the lid off the deep dark secrets in our every-day technology. We all deserve to know what’s inside.”

Internet Safety Labs invites experts, business leaders and individuals interested in advancing standards for software product safety and ethical Internet practices to visit its website to learn more about  how to work with ISL.

About Internet Safety Labs
Internet Safety Labs is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, independent software product safety testing organization, unrelentingly on the side of consumers and their safety. Through standards development, product research, product audits and policy advocacy, we work to ensure software product safety. We believe it’s time for software and software-driven products to be tested with the same safety rigor we apply to all the physical products in our lives. For more information, please visit  https://internetsafetylabs.org/.

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