Everyone seems to be worried about the federal government monitoring phone calls, e-mails, texts, etc., but what are local governments doing? Before we go into this, no one seems to be upset when supermarkets, clothing stores, jewelers, and online retailers use your information to track purchases, buying habits, and almost every aspect of our financial lives. This data is a gold mine and can be more useful to someone who is really trying to spy on you than a few texts or e-mail conversations. On the local level, of course, with a warrant and the right technology, law enforcement officials can tap a “bad guys” phone line and get as much good info as possible. No matter what, the government needs a good reason to check into your information while retailers, it seems, do not except to increase their bottom line.
A California school district hired a firm to monitor its students social media posts in order to keep an eye on at risk teens who may be in trouble. The school superintendent states it is all about student safety. The company, Geo Listening, has been contracted to monitor the posts of over 13,000 students at eight Glendale Unified School District middle and high schools. With the increase in the amount of cyber-bullying, sexting, and other online behavior most parents would think was abhorrent, this district wants to take a stand and try to curb instances of violence and suicide within their student population. Geo Listening states it will “process, analyze, and report the adverse social media from publicly available student posts.” It provides a daily report to the school district and gives critical information to staff as quickly as possible to deter negative incidents. Although this is viewed as a safety measure, and most parents would agree to it because it keeps them from having to personally spy on their children, it still begs the question: where will it end? So much of our information is online that there really is no privacy. With the information we make readily available, there is no reason to get upset over anyone doing a little snooping on our private lives.