California school district hires firm to eavesdrop on students' social media activity


#21

Functional societies? Best Korea style.


#22

Why don’t they just contract with the NSA?


#23

Last week they worried some creep stalking their sons and daughters on the internet. This week they are paying someone to do it. Do they realize it is the same guy?


#24

I think you might have that a bit backwards.


#25

Wow, . . yeah, And that site, it’s actually a little creepy.

If I had kids there, I’d move. Either there’s some insane stuff going on there, or there’s going to be soon.


#26

It’s both.


#27

Actually you do have an expectation of privacy when in public - that’s a common misconception.

However technically you’re right in this case - monitoring publicly broadcast social stuff isn’t a breach of ‘privacy’, it’s just an example of a creepy school over stepping their bounds.


#28

I see a whole new underground teen social network arising in the near future, thanks to a combination of “little dictator” school admins and parents who insist on friending their kids online.

Ah, hell, why limit it to teens? Throw in all the employees who have been forced to give out their private login info to their bosses. (Although I’m really hoping to see some massive lawsuits from this last group. “Sure thing, boss! Here, take my house keys, too, so you can snoop around there as well!” Sheesh.)


#29

You need to read Cory Doctorow’s books, dude, or did I miss the sarcasm?

Anyway, the trouble with this is that if a kid gets bullied or groomed or pick your poison, then AFTER the event the media will go through their public postings with a fine tooth comb and ask why nobody did anything. I understand the negative comments, while not necessarily agreeing with them, but it’s easy to shout down an idea while providing no alternative, just business as normal. This may not be perfect, it might even be awful in which case it won’t last, but you’re always closer for not standing still, as someone once sorta said. Who said that? Damn.


#30

Hey! Stop violating their privacy! As we all know it’s only okay if it’s approved by some kind of bureaucratic authority, since we all know from long experience that people with such authorization and oversight would never, ever abuse their powers.


#31

The kids are minors for legal purposes.
Perhaps their parents should just be held responsible for their online behavior. When kids are a-holes online, they need to get schooled and this is a good way to do that. And I type that as a parent who understands that a-hole children are often the product of a-hole parents, so this monitoring serves up a couple of social cupcakes at once.

In any case, maybe this will prevent/intervene in some bullying and maybe prevent a suicide. If it does, then it will have been worth it.
Complaining that this monitoring violates some kind of privacy rights assumes that minor children have these rights without limits – they do not.


#32

No sarcasm was intended. While it is true that many kids suffer bullying by their peers (there was a high-profile suicide caused cyber-bullying in my own area), I also feel that too much intrusion helps nothing and can be counter-productive as the kids just find ways around it.

While the intention may be good, I view this as one more form of intrusion by heavy-handed, frequently clueless officials.

Getting closer is fine, as long as you don’t walk into something unpleasant.


#33

I don’t condone what the district is doing, but I’d like to provide some context for people not familiar with GUSD. In early 2012 a student committed suicide by leaping off a school building into the quad in the middle of lunch. I’m sure that’s what drove the decision to monitor the students.


#34

You do? That’s crazy. Authority must be scaled back BIG.


#35

I’d actually be curious to see how it plays out: K12 has a fair few dubiously-valuable-and-deeply-unproven-by-anything-resembling-actual-evidence ‘experts’, and ‘consultants’, and ‘trainers’, and ‘facilitiators’ and whatnot floating around; overpriced but generally not effectual enough to be overtly harmful except as a drag on the bottom line.

If Chris is one of those, they might as well have set the $40k on fire (as demonstrated, doing a bit of manual googlestalking is trivial, so even a non-tech could pull off a rigged demo of ‘social media intelligence’; but unless he has some actual pet techies, trying to keep pace with an entire district worth of kids across a zillion platforms is going to be futile, and if he does have some pet techies, $40k is peanuts for actually-scary-good ‘social analytics’ types, given their value to creepy marketing firms and similar unless the company has a bunch of other contracts to spread their salaries across.)

If the operation is a bit more involved; but underfunded, the school district has just paid somebody to pit the low-bidder on rentacoder to stalk their children online… That will be interesting.


#36

XD Guess I needed a sarc mark there. Sorry I wasn’t clear. I don’t disagree with anything you said. The US’s legal definition of privacy violation is what I have an issue with. There does seem to be a double standard here. Following someone in public spaces, taking photos, etc. can–if done more than a little–at least theoretically result in harassment or stalking charges. Doing the same online, despite the intimacy often inherent in that setting, may be legally ok.

I don’t think it should be ok though. If this school hired people to tail their students outside of class, I think it would be clear to the legal system that the school had overstepped its bounds. What the school is doing here is, in a sense, far far worse than hiring a PI to follow their students physically.


#37

I’ve been tempted in two different fronts on that point.

Front one: create a sham online identity and get a good number of friends to do the same and have all of the shams friend each other so that all our privacy will remain intact.

Front two: remind them that accessing my social media may expose them to the answers to questions they are legally prohibited from asking. Potentially exposing them to huge liability for any trying-to-get-pregnant, sick, members of religions they may not like, etc. they don’t end up hiring. [quote=“Anton_P_Gully, post:29, topic:8502”]
Anyway, the trouble with this is that if a kid gets bullied or groomed or pick your poison, then AFTER the event the media will go through their public postings with a fine tooth comb and ask why nobody did anything. I understand the negative comments, while not necessarily agreeing with them, but it’s easy to shout down an idea while providing no alternative, just business as normal. This may not be perfect, it might even be awful in which case it won’t last, but you’re always closer for not standing still, as someone once sorta said. Who said that? Damn.
[/quote]

I used to moderate for a site which had ~6 million accounts at the time I was moderating and was marketed toward people in the 16-26 year old age range. This exposed me to a lot of details about school bullying that I wouldn’t otherwise know.

I’ve read heartbreaking user reports from parents who have been fighting their kids’ schools trying to get any action at all for them in relation to bullying both cyber and otherwise. I can tell you right now that schools don’t need to surveille kids’ out of school online activities. They need to be responsive. And they need to do it with QualiaSoup’s commentary kept in mind (tl;dw: protect the bullied not the bullies).


#38

Seems to me, if you have to invoke legal hairsplitting in order to figure out what is morally right…

Houston?

'zat you, Houston?


#39

In what way does surveillance teach anything?


#40

That’s a very very good point. If I was a school administrator, there’s no way I would want to know. Those no-good kids these days are just like us no-good kids of the 20th Century… no damn good!