Your search history, email, and online shopping list are all things you would expect to be somewhat private, away from the prying eyes of authority or hackers. You might be surprised to discover that students hold little to none of those same rights that a private adult would have. What was once a debatable topic on independent internet privacy, is now just normal for students across Texas and the world.
It is no secret that companies utilize dodgy legal loopholes and 100-page terms of service to use your information. Consumer marketing is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and many citizens are already on their toes with what personal information companies are taking. Likewise, students and schools are no strangers to data collection.
Students are monitored by third-party programs that review data from messaging, the internet, and writing applications on school computers. The third-party monitoring software GoGuardian reports they have been monitoring “at least 5 million students as of 2018.” Unlike regular consumers, these monitoring companies don’t steal or sell private data from the monitored students. Students are accustomed to seeing the icons of applications such as GoGuardian or Classroom Spy on their computers. These applications allow teachers to view student’s screens remotely and block search results or websites deemed as inappropriate.
To parents who may be concerned about privacy; students do not have a choice whether they are monitored or not. Mandated by the government since 2000, the Children’s Internet Protection Act forces school districts to control what students can and cannot use the internet for. For instance, schools in the Dallas ISD take pride in their monitoring of students and hope it can help curb cheating, threats, and self-harm. Dallas ISD handbook has a section detailing the privacy students can expect when using the provided technology.