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Big Brother, B.Ed.

By Michael J. Smith on Thursday February 25, 2010 08:08 PM

Item in a news roundup from Alternet:

Schools Accused of Spying on Kids Through Webcams

... Lawyers for Harriton High School student Blake Robbins plan to ask a judge Monday to order the retention of all data on 2,300 laptops issued to students by the Lower Merion School District, near Philadelphia, the Associated Press reports.

The Robbins family launched the lawsuit after an assistant principal confronted Robbins with evidence of "improper behavior in his home," and showed him a picture from inside the home, taken by the webcam.

This follows pretty naturally from the idea -- which the culture seems, strangely, to have accepted -- that the schools should be total institutions, charged with forming kids' attitudes and character, as well as teaching them to read. How, after all, can this mission be discharged if kids are allowed to escape the Panoptical eye for sixteen hours out of the 24?

One interesting wrinkle:

Internet privacy lawyer Parry Aftab told ABC that the school district may have crossed the line from education to policing.

"Schools have very limited authority under the Constitution to deal with things that are off-premises after hours and have nothing to do with the school itself, so in this case I think the school was out of bounds, literally," she said. "Schools are schools, police are police, and they never should meet."

So let me get this straight -- snooping on the kid through his computer's webcam would have been OK, if it were the police doing it? And this from a "privacy lawyer"?

Oy veh.

Comments (3)


"Schools have very limited authority under the Constitution to deal with things that are off-premises after hours

Tell that to Bonghitz4Jesus dude.


dewey totalizations

they're calvin decline

CF Oxtrot:

Parry Aftab is an "internet privacy lawyer" like Barack Obama is a "constitutional law professor."

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