Students and parents at Arrowhead High School are pushing back against a new web-filtering service the school is putting in place, calling it an invasion of privacy and an attempt to micromanage students’ lives online.
One of the chief gripes, for the kids at least, is that the parents now can opt to get a weekly accounting of all the websites they visit during the school day. The filters will run not only on all school-owned devices but also student-owned devices if they are connected to the school’s Wi-Fi.
But that, experts suggest, might be the least of their worries.
Security and privacy advocates have raised concerns about the capacity of such providers to collect vast amounts of information about students that may be stored for years and could be hacked or co-opted for unintended purposes if not adequately protected.
“Imagine, if we had the internet search histories of a young George Bush or Barack Obama,” said Bradley Shear, a Maryland attorney who has launched a national campaign urging schools to annually delete reams of student data, including internet browsing histories, all digital communications and the biometric data — finger and palm prints, for example — some schools are now using to manage their lunch lines, libraries and more.
The worries of the opposition are fairly misguided. All of that information is already being tracked, stored, and hacked.