The Great American Privacy Scandal

As posted by my NACDL colleague and brother, Roger Nell

Are we ready for the massive breach of privacy? Are we prepared for the truly unprecedented (since the media loves that word of late) intrusion of government into our living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms? It's happening. Right now. Every State, every community. And it's all voluntary!! We've invited them into our homes. It's called online, virtual school.

Kids across the country are heading back to school, kindergarten through graduate school. A whole bunch of them are online, live, some or all of the time: online, live, with active cameras and microphones on the students' end of the computer, peering, watchfully, listening into everyone's home.

Stories so far:

One was a horrible event. The audio captured a domestic murder while the child was online.

Another, kid zooming in his room. The teacher saw a "gun" in the background. Called the "authorities." They showed up, of course, searched the house and this kid's room, to find a BB gun.

The irony of it is this: they (the teachers, administration) don't want it to go the other way.

One school system is asking parents to sign a confidentiality statement so the other parents don't disclose what they might see/hear from other students. But the teachers and school administrators are free to report whatever.

Another story reports the concern of a teacher – parents will hear what the teacher actually says and teaches. Her concern is that the parents may actually learn her political, social, moral, or other bent and report her.

Based on individual teacher sensibilities, childrens' services and law enforcement across this country are about to get thousands of calls and the government invasion of homes and families will ensue. Law enforcement is going to figure out that they can monitor their targets via the kids' online schooling. Are we ready for this?

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