Newspaper Decries Fearmongering of the ‘Student Surveillance Industry’

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    Iowa City’s school board heard presentations from “two companies pitching digital surveillance services,” complains a columnist for the Cedar Rapids Gazette, expressing concerns about their offers to “track students’ digital lives and flag potential threats for in-house analysts and school officials to review.” The student surveillance industry is overrun with buzz words, misinformation and fearmongering. Digital citizenship. Crowd-sourcing. Machine-learning algorithm. Those are warm and fuzzy phrases meant to make us feel secure in the arms of corporate tech. Discussing an out-of-state case where a student allegedly sought to join ISIS, a Securly company representative at the school board meeting said, “There are plenty of kids like (him) walking around every school in every district in this country who need help.” Kids in every school district who are trying to join international terrorist networks? I doubt that…. A parent testimonial from Gaggle aptly sums up the student surveillance philosophy: “If it’s going to protect my child or save my child, I don’t care how you get the information, just get it.” I worry young people will heed that message — safety at any cost, privacy be damned. They will grow up to accept constant government surveillance in a world where everything they do is recorded. It’s all they’ve ever known, and they won’t think to question it. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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