In Rhode Island, students and parents must let schools spy on them day and night through their laptops

Originally published at:


Oh my holy God. Didn’t we go over this in Media, PA? If I was a teen in Rhode Island I would absolutely give the laptop a big wank show, and then immediately call the cops and demand they raid the school that’s collecting child pornography. That would be day one.


Ok. And? They also remind students that their chrome books are for school use and educational support. Not for personal use. So they aren’t supposed to be surfing YouTube on them unless it’s in conjunction of research for a school project. Which if it was is relevant data for them to understand how students use them for learning and with their studies.

For the older kids, that history can be used to determine legitimacy of reasearch for a paper or assignment if issues around plagiarism come up.

Parents and students are reminded every three years when they get issued a new chrome book that these are not the property of the parent or student. They are still school property. As such privacy is not an expectation. Using the chrome book at home is akin to using a computer at school.

And before anyone starts in on my opinion. This is my state and all 3 of my kids have these things and it is NOT hard at all to remind them use the chrome book for school work and our home iPad and desktops for personal work. Both my two older kids have iPhones and prefer those to their chrome books and use those.

Edit: no one is allowed to use their own computer in place of the chrome book. In short there is no opt out to use your own device. You have to use this thing. And everything is connected via google classroom. Pre loaded on them and set up for the individual student’s account.

All of this is stated up front and clear as crystal.


I don’t see how we make the leap from “This chomebook is the school’s property, it’s okay for them to look at how it was used”, which is vaguely sensible, to “Remember to tell your kids to close the laptop lid before having a wank so that the school doesn’t send your unwitting, illegal amateur porn into the cloud”, to steal a scenario from @Boundegar above.


It just boggles my mind the idea that of the slippery slope argument.

I work for a corporation that provides me a laptop. It’s not mine. And I can’t and don’t use it for personal info. And no my company is not eaves dropping on conversations to hear of my spouses cancer diagnosis. I don’t even get how that is a relevant thought!


Is there any provision to buy your own device? Is there a built in camera, and if there is, can a student tape over it?

I agree that it is not that hard to keep separate devices. I have a company issued laptop that is used for work only, and a personal laptop that I use for my own use. Our company also supplies work phones, but most mechanics also carry their personal phone. No one I know uses the company Email system for their personal use. It is not against company policy, but why would you if you can just use your own device, and keep it off their servers


You mean like that giant leap that’s never happened and certainly wasn’t mentioned in the article?

Generally speaking my opinion is that if you allow a certain power, it’ll almost certainly be abused at some point, so why are you letting the school spend more to let these devices spy on students? You’re spending a bunch on enforcement against a problem which likely isn’t a problem to begin with.


The cameras work. And they use them. And they can tape over them yes. A Amy daughter stated “it works. But my camera on my phone is way better”.

As for the personal work vs my personal email. My work blocks all the popular personal email carriers. Gmail, yahoo, hotmail, etc you cannot access the log in pages.

You seem to have completely missed the very real world actual scenario in which:

Are you a security professional with the expertise and experience to be able to adequately determine your safety from such eavesdropping? And even if you are, are all your colleagues also?


Get Chromebook? They can’t be that expensive, i’m sure some families with tight budgets might not be able to easily drop $100-200 but it works well for the kind of use a kid would need for school.


Right. So I should assume the worst in my school district. I trust them to educate my children but suspect they possibly will spy on my kids.

My kids put their chrome books away. They don’t shower and dress with them turned on. Because like I said. They are for school work.

seriously. My state. My kids. My school district is a 1-1 school system. So my actual real life every day experience completely refutes all of this.


Many children may not be this cleaver… or comfortable.
And… and… how secure is this information. how long before someone abuses the information gathered, pr0n or not? How long before such information develops it’s own market?


My mother is a teacher. I can guarantee you that she is not in a position to want to or be capable of integrating a student’s browser history into her education plan, nor is the school’s administration in the habit of doing anything more than looking at standardized test score numbers and random room checks to make sure the teachers aren’t beating anyone. Nobody in the school district is thinking “if only we could see what these kids are doing 24 hours a day, we could maybe teach them better”. All of this data is being collected for literally no purpose but to get someone in trouble when they do something that could conceivably be construed as “wrong”, regardless of how innocuous it is (what are the consequences for, say, watching the DuckTales intro on a school-issued Chromebook? Loss of access? Detention? Suspension?).

Or, y’know, they could provide their research notes and explain their work, like I did when I was in school. Defending oneself from plagiarism accusations is not uniquely possible thanks to constant digital surveillance.

Great. What about households that don’t have alternate computing devices, or only have a limited number of them? In your household of 5, if there was only a single family computer, what do you think the chances would be of someone using their Chromebook for something other than school work because their sister was playing Minecraft on the family computer?

Why is that a good thing? It’s wildly inappropriate for the school district to mandate that parents allow such a monitoring device into their house, especially if everything is being routed into Google Classroom in the end anyway and can be accessed from literally any device with an internet connection. How are they even enforcing this requirement that students never use anything but the Chromebook they’ve been issued?



Your personal anecdote here only refutes that potential abuse and exploitation via your kids’ school issued devices is/can happen to your own children, in your exact circumstances; it does not negate the plausibility or possibility that it can or is happening elsewhere, to other people, or that it could happen at some future date.

Just sayin’.


As I work outside of our office, I did not think of that. I remember a few years ago that we were bidding a job for Dick’s Sporting Goods, and our office filters kept flagging the Emails discussing the job. Typing “does anyone know where the Dicks file is” got you a message from IT. We switched to personal Emails for that job


They probably put all the verbage in because of the PA case. So this time, when an administrator takes secret photos of the kids they can say “Hey look it was in the agreement, you can’t sue the school !!!”


Also @quorihunter,

So, students and families who can afford a device of their own can have all the privacy they want, whereas those who lack the means to buy their own devices have to live with no privacy. Why not just say that civil rights are only for those who can afford to buy them and be done with it?


After all, no one the least bit judgemental ever ended up in school administration. /s

If there is a camera and a mic, both can be turned on remotely. It’s not just monitoring what the kids use the computer for but potentially every interaction in the household. Let’s say, for example, that mom’s sister comes over and tells mom she wants a divorce or comes out, or any number of things that don’t harm a kid but someone might disapprove of (I am using people other than the child to whom the laptop was issued for a reason). The potential for abuse is staggering. And once again, poorer people who can’t afford educational options will be the hardest hit.

This is just mass wiretapping made legal through an educational loophole. Don’t think for one second the cops won’t use it to bypass warrants, either. I wonder which segment of the population that will be used against first and foremost.

Okay, wonder is the wrong word.


My question of whether they can purchase a device was a legal question.

But to your statement, my company supplies me with a work truck that I keep at my house. We are allowed to use the truck to get to and from work. We are not allowed to use the truck for any personal use whatsoever. In this case are you saying that if a mechanic does not have the money to buy a personal vehicle, he or she has to be allowed to use the truck as a personal vehicle?

If my child was issued a device for schoolwork I would have it used only for that. The right to tape over the camera would be non negotiable, and I would tell my child to assume that your actions are being recorded.The device would be stored in a school bag when not in use.

Affordable access to the internet for everyone is an issue, but it is not this issue.


How about a laptop without a camera and mic?