A trial involving the use of head-mounted devices to monitor the attention spans of primary school pupils in Xiaoshun Central Primary School, Jinhua City, Zhejiang Province, China, has been halted amid growing privacy concerns. The u-shaped device, developed by US-based company BrainCo in partnership with Zhejiang BrainCo Technology Co. Ltd., tracks brainwaves and transfers data to the school’s computer system. Some information was also reportedly shared with parents. The trial, in operation for a year, aimed to assist students in concentration training courses.
Parents expressed apprehensions about potential privacy breaches and fears that the technology could be used to control their children. Yang Zhangpeng, Director of Zhejiang BrainCo Technology Public Relations, suggested that media pressure may have influenced the government’s decision to suspend the trial. The Chinese government has recently implemented regulations, effective October 1, to protect children’s online information. These regulations emphasize encryption, parental consent for data collection, transfer, or usage, and the establishment of user agreements.
While BrainCo representatives have not provided a statement, Zhang, a teacher involved in the experiment, claimed that students reported no side effects from the device. However, concerns about data security and privacy are mounting in China, especially with the increasing use of smartwatches, mobile phones, and other devices that track personal information. The suspension of the trial reflects broader societal anxieties about the handling of sensitive data.