Pennsylvania spy cam violates human dignity
FRONTLINE: digital nation: learning: schools: how google saved a school PBS
There are two problems with the spy cams in laptops sent home with students of Herriton Senior High School in Pennsylvania. First, the Lower Marion School District didn't bother to tell the students they had the capability of remote viewing, much less viewing at all. Second, even with disclosure, the cameras can be activated unilaterally, that is, by the school staff without the student knowing it.
You can bet when the school administor excitedly gave the news to the students about being one of the first schools to send laptops home with them he was grinning ear to ear like a chesire cat! He must have known the spy technology was there and the school planned to use it yet he said nothing. Laptop page here!
"Every high school student will have their own person laptop enabling an authentic movile 21st century learning environment"Presumably, only two people were allowed to screen images taken without the student's permission. That is a stretch of the truth, as we know the assistand vice principal of Herriton Senior High School Lindy Matsko presented Blake Robbins with a picture the school took of him while he feasted on Mike and Ikes candies in the privacy of his home. Are there two photo people, one for each sex? Or is looking at pics on the internet only a guy's thing?
This represents a major breach of trust between Herriton faculty and the student population. How can a young girl or a young boy know the smile on an administrator's face is based solely on good tidings towards the student? Could there be something more to the smile? Does the person know something maybe they should not? Did the teacher or disciplinarian get a first hand peep at private parts or sexual activity?
What if one of those students got caught in homosexual activity and the administrator knows? Not all administrators are liberal thinking, while others might try to pry when they should not. We know that did not happen at Herriton Senior High School, but it will eventually happen somewhere if this trend continues.
Actually, do we know it didn't happen at Herriton High?
That is the problem. We don't know.
Presumably, the school staff is telling the truth about who had access to the videos. However, when the staff violated, as in raped, the trust of the students by using this secret technology, all trust went out the window. Trust is something earned, not bought or demanded. It will take a long time for trust to grow, and for the smile on administrator's faces and likely for some, the thoughts behind the smiles to be taken seriously.
If we are going put the task of constant vigilence upon the student body then it seems only fair to reciprocate. Let's let the students drop in on teacher and administrator lap tops whenever they wish. It would be interesting to see what really goes on in the teacher's lounge! Violation of any kind always seem better to the person who violates than to the person violated. Put the shoe on the other foot, tell us how it feels!
"Hey Mindy, yeah, Ms. Matsko, Uhh you might want to turn your computer off...or at least turn it the other direction. There are people watching!"
The school in the public service Front Line video implies the ability to watch students saved the school. Such an interpretation is a stretch. What may have saved the schools was an introduction of modern day technology. Use of the cams is another matter.
At least the students understood the cams could be activated. In addition, the computers didn't leave the school as far as I can tell. That keeps the computers on the desk and not in bedrooms and private places. Activation is still an invasion of privacy, but at least the chances of catching an under age boy or girl in states of undress, or while he or she explores kissing and intimacy, are highly reduced when the computer stays in the school.
My vote, vote for Blake Robbins and the family that has the guts to stand up against unlawful instrusion. Protect your privacy rights now. If you don't, tomorrow will be too late!