Monday, September 16, 2013

California school district hires firm to monitor students' social media

Is the school looking for reasons to penalize students? 

Next time a school district complains about not having money, don't believe them.
In fact, no student has yet to be disciplined under the monitoring, but it's not out of the question if analysts find a message warranting action, such as a threat of a campus shooting, Sheehan said this week.

"I can see turning it over to police. That would be a situation in which discipline would follow," he said.

Frydrych's firm scours the social media postings of Glendale students aged 13 and older -- the age at which parental permission isn't required for the school's contracted monitoring -- and sends a daily report to principals on which students' comments could be causes for concern, Frydrych said.
As far as I'm concerned, outside the classroom, the school should just BUTT OUT.

"This is the government essentially hiring a contractor to stalk the social media of the kids," said Lee Tien, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit that defends privacy, free speech and consumer rights.

"When the government -- and public schools are part of the government -- engages in any kind of line-crossing and to actually go and gather information about people away from school, that crosses a line," Tien said.

He disagreed with school officials who say they are monitoring only public postings.

"People say that's not private: It's public on Facebook. I say that's just semantics. The question is what is the school doing? It's not stumbling into students -- like a teacher running across a student on the street. This is the school sending someone to watch them," Tien said.
So, when does the eavesdropping on phone calls start? After all, IT'S FOR THE CHILDREN.
"Honestly, we're not spying on kids. Can we focus back on the problem: The problem is we're not listening effectively," Frydrych said. "And we're shifting that."  

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