Australian Universities are Tracking You
Jessica Williams | Last Updated:
It’s almost impossible to stay off your school or university WiFi network while you’re in class, whether it be for studying, watching videos or doing basically anything. Though, this article might be the motivation you need to get off the school network and listen to your teacher – or install a VPN.
A few of the things a typical Australian university network will collect from you and your devices include data like biometrics, login attempts, online activity as well as your location. That means whoever has eyes on this data will be able to determine you are, what you’re doing and where you are.
The Data Universities Can Track
There are countless pieces of data Australian universities are lawfully able to collect about students on their wifi, though we’ve listed just a few main pieces below.
All Online Activities
Regardless of what you’re doing online, your university is able to see exactly what you’re doing and which websites you’ve accessed. On top of this, if you’re accessing websites that aren’t secured with HTTPS your university can even see what you did whilst on those sites.
Various studies have shown that across Australia almost every university has some sort of monitoring policy in place that allows them to watch what everyone does on their WiFI network. That means even if you think you’re not being tracked and believe that your messages and communications are secure, they’re not.
All Physical Movements and Locations
On top of recording all of the websites and online movements you make, your university is very likely tracking your physical movements too. In Australia, a majority of universities track their student’s movements on and off campus for safety reasons. The monitoring extends from simple geolocation to room location, too. That means that your university could very likely have records of your movements as well as CCTV imagery of what you’re doing and where you are at all times.
This data collection isn’t too concerning when considering that it might be used for safety and attendance, but if highly sensitive data like this got into the hands of someone with malicious intent, it could become a massive problem.
Preventing Data and Location Tracking
There is one clear way to block your university from tracking your online activities and that’s to use a VPN or an add-on like ExpressVPN’s HTTPS Everywhere extension. This extension works by encrypting all communion too and from your browser – preventing it from being accessed by your university.
A second way to prevent this data collection is to install a device-wide VPN. This way you’ll be able to ensure that no matter what you’re doing, on any app, your university won’t be able to see it. This includes your messages and other communication.