(VICE) – As vaccination rates rise and schools prepare to reopen, surveillance companies have trained their sights on the billions of dollars in federal COVID-19 relief funds being provided to schools across the US, hoping to make a profit by introducing a bevy of new snooping devices.
“$82 BILLION,” reads the huge front-page font on one Motorola Solutions brochure distributed to K-12 schools after the passage of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. “Consider COVID-19 technology from Motorola Solutions for your Education Stabilization Fund dollars.”
Other vendors are using similar language and marketing tactics that attempt to latch on to the amount of money Congress set aside for K-12 schools, colleges, and universities in the COVID-19 stimulus packages.
School administrators are used to receiving constant sales pitches from ed tech vendors. But many of the pricey products now being offered have previously been reserved for cops, or have been spun up over the last year to be marketed as solutions for reopening schools during the pandemic. Privacy experts fear that, if deployed, many of these technologies will remain in schools long after classrooms return to normal.