Opinions on Khan Academy

Many of you probably know Khan Academy, the non profit orgnaization that makes excellent educational content. I’ve researched into their privacy aspect a bit. It turns out that although some of their components are FOSS, the entire project is not. Neither is their android app.

Furthermore, the webapp has Facebook trackers (evident from the network tab of browser devtools). This applies to the android application too (when used with a transparent proxy or wireshark). I had to make an account there for preparing for the SAT.

Since their content is so good, what could be the most private way of continuing its use? You may also suggest privacy respecting alternatives.

I don’t think the fact that Khan Academy uses proprietary components is an issue.

Privacy should not be your only priority in life (partially blame privacy community for making it such).

While you’re at Khan Academy, consider making a donation to help their effort of providing free education to everyone.

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I’m all for sacrificing convenience for the sake of privacy, but I think this might be one of the few times where it’s really hard to support that decision. Out of all the areas to relax your threat model, I think preparing for a test that could decide your future is as good as a reason as any.

Nevertheless, there are some things you can do to make the situation better. I personally would choose to use the website over the Android app. You can use a privacy respecting browser and even couple that with DNS ad blocking if you want to go further. You could only use the site within Tor, but some sites break within Tor and even prohibit registration. Neither of these options are perfect, but it’s a privacy improvement from the vanilla use.

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There are dozens of SAT prep courses available. A privacy oriented alternative would be doing it old-school with a paper book.
However, assuming that your school is requiring you to use a specific Preparatory course through Khan Academy, will they allow you to open an account under a pseudonym with a burner email address?
That could be a simple mitigation.
Other options may be to simply block the Facebook trackers, and/or only access the course through a VM used for that single purpose.

1 Like

So I ended up keeping my account. It’s one of those accounts that are worth creating. I’ve DNS blocked Meta domains. I’m fine using it in my browser for the most part, my UBO rules take care of any trackers. For the app, I’m keeping it in a separate user profile on my phone with related apps (like notes, maybe?).