Apple really wants you to know it values students' privacy

At its Chicago event on Tuesday, the company makes a point of emphasizing data privacy in regard to its new educational app Schoolwork.

Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins
Apple says its new Schoolwork app has privacy at its heart.

Apple says its new Schoolwork app has privacy at its heart.

James Martin/CNET

Apple introduced a new way for teachers to hand out assignments and monitor student progress through an app called Schoolwork at its education event in Chicago on Tuesday.

The Schoolwork app stores student data in the cloud, but the company really wants you to know that keeping this data safe from prying eyes is its No. 1 priority.

"It's really important to us that you understand this data stays private," Susan Prescott, Apple's vice president of marketing, said on stage at the event. "Privacy is integral to everything we do at Apple ... It's something we are very passionate about."

Privacy is at the forefront of the tech world's agenda at the moment, following a week of revelations about Facebook user data being harvested without people's full understanding and therefore consent. Data belonging to children is an even more sensitive topic for many, and a number of toy companies have come under fire in the past for collecting children's data without permission, or even just not taking security seriously enough.

Apple promises it won't make the same mistakes.

"While teachers see each students' progress information," said Prescott, "we don't, and neither can anybody else."

CNET Magazine: Check out a sample of the stories in CNET's newsstand edition.

Rebooting the Reef: CNET dives deep into how tech can help save Australia's Great Barrier Reef.