Under digital surveillance: how American schools spy on millions of kids

We’ve had discussions about tech surveillance on (US) schools in the past, and their pros and cons. These focused mostly on the privacy aspects. The following article details the extent to which such monitoring technologies are being adopted, with the aim of ‘protecting the children’. Maybe modern society necessitates this use of tech, but I for one am very glad this didn’t exist when I was still at school.

Curious about your opinions…

Edit: Hacker News discussion on the article at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21324133

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2007 someone sued the school for mandating laptops the kids do homework at home with and used the laptop cam to spy on the kids. Judge sided with the state (shocked face!) citing that when the parents who must have their children in school or face truency law and were brow beaten into accepting laptop into their childs bedroom, when they signed the release from the school to take the laptop they didn’t want home, it contained an arbitration clause and they all waive their right to sue or do class action by signing (which they were forced.)

School is not a place for smart people that is nothing new. (ask Einstein about his math grades)

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Thanks for this information. It is very useful


Link below has been helpful to the group of parents who have organized here in a midwest suburb. We opt out of things like the “social emotional” surveys that several large districts have welcomed in our area. The survey is provided by Panorama Education and no big surprise that one of its early funders was Zuckerberg-Chan. Playing on parent vulnerabilities. Once again well intended tech solutions that only exacerbate problems.


It is good to see awareness amongst parents and recommendations for improvements flowing forth from that, @tomatogirl! The EFF is doing good work in that regard.

In terms of awareness I find Hacker News - the social network of Silicon Valley - to be a great source. Despite much of the bad tech stemming from SV, I find that many techies have truly come to realize how bad the situation is, and that it is only getting worse if no radical action is taken. You’ll often find Hacker News discussions to be at the forefront of thinking.

E.g. wrt schools this article was trending on HN yesterday:

And this was the HN discussion about it: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21423019

I am not a parent not married only reason I am aware of it is my mom told me a high school girl who works for her said the school issued her a chrome book where everything is Saas and you have to be logged in and the girl never booted it up because she has a retail windows laptop and is used to it and it belongs to her.

So at the end of school when she was graduating senior year, they gave her and her family lots of grief for never using the laptop and doing her homework on a non school computer. Her parents said that she does her work has all A’s we signed for the laptop and took it home as ordered we do not work for the school grade the paper graduate our daughter or the datamining contract she didn’t come through on for you will pale in comparison to me suing you for not letting her graduate on time.

Then the whole thing was dropped but they were sending all these letters hiome with threats and their evidence (we can see the metadata on her homework this doesn’t come from chromebook blablabla).

When I was in high school we didn’t even have a TV singular not one there were 4000 students, now they have to take home expensive spy gear and be liable for it. It’s like we lost a war.

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