CA School District Announces It's Doing Round-The-Clock Monitoring Of Its 13,000 Students' Social Media Activities

from the incarcerating-13,000-students-would-make-them-'safer' dept

The Glendale School District in California is facing some backlash from the recent news that it has retained the services of Geo Listening to track its students' social media activity. The rationale behind the program is (of course) the students' safety.

After collecting information from students' posts on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter, Geo Listening will provide Glendale school officials with a daily report that categorizes posts by their frequency and how they relate to cyber-bullying, harm, hate, despair, substance abuse, vandalism and truancy.

Glendale Unified, which piloted the service at Hoover, Glendale and Crescenta Valley high schools last year, will pay the company $40,500 to monitor posts made by about 13,000 middle school and high school students at eight Glendale schools.
It would appear that the school district knew there would be some backlash, hence its decision to delay this announcement until the beginning of this school year, rather than "last year," when the program was actually put into place. (The date stated in this article may be incorrect. The founder of Geo Listening's LinkedIn page says the company formed in January -- unless "last year" means "last school year.") Administration officials are already on the defensive.
Glendale Unified Supt. Dick Sheehan said the service gives the district another opportunity to "go above and beyond" when dealing with students' safety.

"People are always looking to see what we're doing to ensure that their kids are safe. This just gives us another opportunity to ensure the kids are safe at all times," he said.
A rather overwrought paragraph on the company's About Us page attempts to sell fear and monitoring system at the same time, much as Superintendent Sheehan did in the above paragraph.
The Facts

Your students are crying for help. We have heard these cries of despair, and for help and attention, loud and clear from students themselves via their public postings on social networks. Many feel as though no one is listening, and they are falling away from societal connections. This trend can be reversed with more timely information that we can provide to the appropriate school staff.​
What Geo Listening appears to do is nothing more than aggregate public social media posts linked to either the students or school district. Geo Listening repeatedly points out that it doesn't "monitor email, SMS, MMS, phone calls, voicemails or unlock any privacy setting of a social network user."

This seems to be true, but not necessarily because Geo Listening is concerned about privacy. In its privacy policy, it breaks down exactly what it does monitor.
Geo Listening is a social media monitoring system that allows school districts to locate and process publicly available social media content. School districts use the Geo Listening Services to access and aggregate publicly available content on the Internet into regular reports and dashboards. Public content is collected and provided to school districts from the following websites:

·         Twitter;
·         Facebook;
·         Instagram;
·         Picasa;
·         Vine;
·         Flickr;
·         Ask.fm;
·         YouTube; and
·         Google+.
By monitoring only public posts on social media services, Geo Listening is able to provide the district with reports on 13,000 students. Without having access to a report, it's tough to say exactly what Geo Listening is turning over to the district. Here's what it says it's looking for:
Geo Listening provides social media monitoring services (“Geo Listening Services”) that enable school districts to locate and process publicly available information about their students for the purposes of combating bullying, cyber-bullying, hate and shaming activities, depression, harm and self harm, self hate and suicide, crime, vandalism, substance abuse and truancy.
There are some very broad terms in that list and without more information on how Geo Listening tracks or aggregates posts that fall into this very wide net, it looks as though the system is apt to produce a lot of false positives.

Then there's the question about how it searches for offending posts. Does it only run current students through its digital sifter or does it include anyone who lists a Glendale school on their profile? Does this dragnet also capture comments, tweets, etc. from non-students who interact with Glendale students? If a student interacts with a non-student's post that falls afoul of the guidelines, can they be punished? These are just a few of the many questions this monitoring service raises.

Beyond that, there's the fact that the service, as it's currently implemented, is incredibly easy to circumvent, something Geo Location's site even discusses in its privacy policy.
How to Opt Out

If you would like to ensure content that you post through a social media platform or profile is not monitored by Geo Listening, you should ensure that your social media posts are non-public. Geo Listening only collects publicly available information. Therefore, if a social media platform includes settings that allow you to designate your posts as private, doing so will ensure your posts will not be collected.
It would seem that stating this openly somewhat defeats the purpose of the program, but it does give Geo Listening a pretty strong defense against privacy violations. Geo Listening, however, seems fairly confident that most students won't "opt out," according to this answer in its FAQ.
Most users below the age of 25 do not utilize the available privacy settings because they are seeking to be recognized for their respective posts. They have chosen to post in the public domain in exchange for popularity and a decreasing ability to communicate effectively face to face.
Personally, I feel Geo Listening is underestimating the teens it's monitoring and the little dig it throws in during the last sentence is unseemly. Insulting the people you're spying on is the sort of thing that comes back to haunt you.

Geo Listening doesn't address one of the biggest flaws in its system anywhere in its statements: trolling. Once students realize their public posts are being monitored, they're likely to respond with deliberately objectionable statements in order to trigger a response from the school system. Once this starts happening with any frequency, it will be much harder to separate the legitimate problems from the fake, while also providing legitimate bullies with a handy excuse.

Then there's the fact that the monitoring makes no distinction between posts made at school (where the school should presumably have some sort of say, especially if these are made using school equipment) and those made outside of school, away from the school's jurisdiction. Some will argue that the type of behavior being monitored crosses both boundaries and therefore should be the concern of the school. But opening this door will lead to more monitoring of kids' (theoretically) private lives rather than what should actually be under the school's purview.

Also of some concern is Geo Listening's mobile app, which basically turns any phone possessed by a student, parent or school staff member into a "Report" button.
Geo Listening also provides a free mobile application to each respective school's parents, students and staff. This mobile application provides each stakeholder the ability to anonymously report incidents that are experienced or witnessed.
While having an easy way to collect anonymous tips on incidents of bullying is a theoretically good idea, in practice it often just becomes another avenue of abuse. The district may have thought it was offloading something it didn't have the time and resources for (monitoring students' social network use 24/7) to a third party, but the exploitable flaws in the system indicate a significant amount of investigative and followup work will be generated -- all of which will have to be handled by school administrators.

If administrators are sluggish in their response to reported issues, it will give the appearance that they only really care about appearing to do something, rather than actually doing something. And Geo Listening's rationale ("only public posts") for tracking students off-campus isn't really that much different than the FBI, NSA, et al abusing the Third Party Doctrine in order to hoover up huge amounts of metadata. Just because it's been created doesn't automatically mean it should be collected.

It's another bad administrative decision based on an impossibility (keeping children safe "all the time"), one that's likely to hurt the school in the long run. Unfortunately, this news has attracted the attention of another California school district, one which obviously hasn't read the comments attached to the dozens of stories about the monitoring system.
Burbank’s schools chief said she plans to keep an eye on neighboring Glendale Unified, who recently hired a Hermosa Beach-based company to monitor the public social networking accounts of its middle and high school students.

“We do not currently monitor students’ social media sites and we have not yet researched the program that Glendale Unified has implemented, but we will be gathering more information,” Burbank Unified Supt. Jan Britz said in an email Thursday.
No one "keeps an eye" on something like this unless they think it's a good idea, but just need some additional justification or a lower bidder. Officials don't "keep an eye" on ideas they've dismissed out of hand as being "terrible" or "not for us." The expectation of privacy as it pertains to public posts is very limited, but as diminished as it is, it's not completely unwarranted for the student body to feel they should be able to leave campus without the school following it around and reading its posts over its shoulder.

[More excellent posts on the same subject at Free Range Kids and Popehat.]



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Claire Rand, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 3:54am

    people who don't use such networks

    Realise these days it may be rare, but how do they cope with people who are not using such networks?

    Do they assume that individual is hiding something? using fake detaisl to avoid monitoring or can they just accept that in some cases they literally have nothing to report? would the 'authorities' accept that as true?

    Have come across people who assume that the stated lack of an arsebook profile is evidence of either lying (as 'everyone' has one) or evidence of hiding something, seemingly unable to accept that there are a few people out there with better things to waste time on.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 4:26am

      Re: people who don't use such networks

      Have come across people who assume that the stated lack of an arsebook profile is evidence of either lying (as 'everyone' has one) or evidence of hiding something, seemingly unable to accept that there are a few people out there with better things to waste time on.

      Yes, well, keep in mind that you're dealing with inferior people equipped with inferior minds there: they presume that just because they're stupid enough to join facebook et.al. that everyone else is equally stupid. It never penetrates their dim consciousness that superior people don't do such things, therefore -- as you say -- they presume that those who don't are lying.

      These are the same ignorant, vapid pissants who whine about "cyberbullying" (there is no such thing) and shell out tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to "social media monitoring companies" who probably wrote a perl script to coalesce RSS feeds and push them through a keyword filter.

      This would all be very amusing except the predictable outcome of this -- which everyone on TD should know by now -- is that (a) students who engage in free speech, political activism, creative writing, scientific enquiry, etc. will be targeted for destruction and (b) students who engage in rape, theft, vandalism, etc. will slide right on by. The school district officials will engage in a circlejerk round of self-congratulations, hand out awards to each other, spend MORE taxpayer money on worthless tripe, and continue on, happily doing their best to weed out the best and brightest. The company will proclaim this a success story and hoodwink other school districts into doing the same. Gullible reporters will do their stenographic best, recycling press releases into "news stories" (I know, it's so quaint to think that newspapers should do research) and promoting the meme that Our School Districts Keep Our Kids Safe. Yay!

       

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        art guerrilla (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 7:40am

        Re: Re: people who don't use such networks

        great stuff ! ! !

        where's your facebook page so i can 'like' it ? ? ?
        hee hee hee

         

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        Trails (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 8:50am

        Re: Re: people who don't use such networks

        Yes, well, keep in mind that you're dealing with inferior people equipped with inferior minds there: they presume that just because they're stupid enough to join facebook et.al. that everyone else is equally stupid. It never penetrates their dim consciousness that superior people don't do such things, therefore -- as you say -- they presume that those who don't are lying.


        This is the only part of your post I'm not sure I agree with. I think this product is much more "low hanging fruit with a well-targeted marketing campaign designed to play on the fears of people in specific positions". Geo Listening are not dumb. They've made a product that they predicted a market for, and they were right. Unless they're lying about something I'd say they were smart. If you can turn writing "a perl script to coalesce RSS feeds and push them through a keyword filter" into large government contracts, good for you. Stupid for the school board and the taxpayers, but good for you. The rest of your post is spot on.

        The test of this program (not Geo Listening, but the entire program as instituted by the school board) will be how they respond to the grey area posts and the things require sensitive handling (e.g. depression and suicidal posts).

        As you say, given their approach to date, I'd hazard the odds are not good.

         

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          JEDIDIAH, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 10:17am

          Re: people who don't use such networks

          The idiots here are not the professional stalkers. The idiots here are those that buy these professional stalking services. They are the ones that think that a lack of exhibitionism implies something sinister.

          It's like the sham that is psychiatry in general. Any interesting personality trait is considered a disease worthy of being listed in the DSM-IV.

          In either case, you are damned for lack of conformity.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 3:26pm

          Re: Re: Re: people who don't use such networks

          "The test of this program"

          This program is costing a lot of taxpayer money. The test for it is what good will it do? After a year taxpayers will have spent x dollars. So exactly what did they get in return? Will there be examples of suicides prevented because of this? Will there be examples of fights or maybe a Columbine or something being prevented? Will there be any concrete examples of any good coming out of this to justify the taxpayer cost? Doubtful. As taxpayers we should be informed about what exactly we are getting in return for our money.

          Why aren't schools being held accountable for wasting taxpayer money on something that, at the end of the day, they have nothing to show for?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 4:21pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: people who don't use such networks

            Another problem with these kinds of efforts is that they don't seem to have a clear objective that makes it easy to measure and evaluate public benefits.

             

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        Dave, Sep 11th, 2013 @ 12:09pm

        Re: Re: people who don't use such networks

        Great post. Agree with everything, as here is another person (probably one of many, I would hope) who finds so-called "social networking" one of the most (if not THE most) idiotic and crass waste of time in the entire universe. The very idea of airing one's dirty linen in public and posting inane, completely irrelevant and just plain stupid comments about minor, everyday happenings (usually with the grossest grammar, spelling and punctuation) just leaves me completely stone cold.

         

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      Russ, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 8:12pm

      Re: people who don't use such networks

      Non-users are none of their concern; after all, there's no way of monetizing their personal information.

      If this company is just bulk-gathering "public" information you can be sure there's no clause in the contract that it will ONLY go to the school. They're almost certainly getting paid twice for it.

      This isn't about safety. Obviously.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 3:57am

    /s

    A waste of money if you ask me... If they're wanting to monitor them so close they should just adopt the little bastards so they can raise them "the right way"..

    After hours should be off limits to everyone except the parents. They just want to snoop on kids which is pretty fucking sick if you ask me.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 4:13am

    Why does every US government state and federal organisation think that it must act as a police force?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 7:39am

      Re:

      Because they're all liberal, unionized, big Govt assholes who think they are here to rule over us all.

       

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        art guerrilla (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 7:45am

        Re: Re:

        um, that was sarcasm, richtig ?

        otherwise, it was a heaping helping of stoopid...

        1. please tell me what percentage of kongresskritters, political leaders, and korporadoes advertise themselves as being 'liberal' ? ? ? plus/minus 100% will do...
        (hint: hardly registers on the dial)

        2. kindly inform me (*snicker*) of the percentage of unionized workers in the US of A ...
        (i'll wait while you look that up, propaganda victim... hint: about 7% or so)

        3. HOW is it such a marginalized group in the extreme minority STILL manage to 'run everything' ? ? ?

        fucking moron: grow another brain cell, the other one is lonely...

        art guerrilla
        aka ann archy
        art guerrilla at windstream dot net

        eof

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 8:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          ALL the "US government state and federal organisation" are liberal, unionized pukes who would rather bankrupt cities than give an inch to save the cities you stupid ahole...

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 2:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Bankrupt cities by paying pensions people worked their whole careers to accrue? Yeah, it's really "liberal" to want what you worked for and what was part of the contract for why you worked all those years. Turn off faux news.

             

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          Ceedub, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 12:34pm

          Wut

          Please learn how to communicate on the internet. You wouldn't talk to someone like that in person, because you would get punched in the face for being a condescending asshole. Just because it's anonymous doesn't mean you get to talk to people however you want. Your comment was bad, and you should feel bad. It doesn't make you look clever, it makes you look like a troll.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 2:08pm

            Re: Wut

            I thought the comment was right on point.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 10:43pm

            Re: Wut

            freedom of speech, you puke. better make use of it while we still can, the nazis are closing in. take your political-correctness and go shove it right up your ass.

             

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 10:48am

        Re: Re:

        Im liberal, support the idea of unions, and prefer a strong government, but in no way do I think this is a good idea and in no way do I want to rule over you. Seeing eachother as the enemy simply because we have a two party system is pretty stupid, we are all just people. The rich and powerful people who make these decisions want us to keep fighting so we never organize behind real power, dont keep giving them what they want.

         

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      Brett, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 9:37am

      Re:

      While I disagree with what they are doing, remember this is a local school district. Not the Fed or the State Govt

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 10:03am

        Re: Re:

        School district == local government

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_district

        Not sure what yr point is. Due process, privacy, and amendments to the constitution very much still apply.

        They are very much a "state actor".

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_actor

         

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          Ellie (profile), Sep 14th, 2013 @ 9:43am

          Re: School district and The State

          Yes, school districts are agencies of the state. Here, the state is California, which is large and influential. One school district has implemented Geo Tracking. Another, larger district (Burbank) is already considering doing the same..

          These are minors. First, they are protected under the Fourth Amendment. Where does the school district draw the line of in loco parentis, despite the child having one, or two, parents or legal guardians?

          Even if this were limited to school, I wouldn't like it. It would be better for schools not to allow SMS, Twitter and Facebook during school hours, instead of this 24 hour per day/ 7 days per week surveillance. That is so wrong!

          The school is using contractors. If there were a choice, the school district IT department would be required to observe privacy law and be less likely to exploit student information than an outside, private contractor. I'm just saying "what if", as this tracking, 24/7, of all minors is not ethical, whomever does it; with the exception of parents, as a personal family decision that should not be dictated by the school district, nor the state.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 10:37pm

      Re:

      um... police state?

      hell, I just got a letter from my kid's school kindly informing me they've contracted with a company by the name of Interquest Detection Cannines, Inc to gestapoize the local campus. are we fucking boiling yet?

      we can't afford buses for field trips but we can sure as hell afford the goddamn drug-sniffing dog squad!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 4:26am

    Without having access to a report

    Get one!!

     

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    RyanNerd (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 4:35am

    I can't help but remember

    what my father said everytime the school administration did something stupid (which was often):
    Damn Educators. They have the IQ of a turnip.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 4:39am

    And Geo Listening's rationale ("only public posts") for tracking students off-campus isn't really that much different than the FBI, NSA, et al abusing the Third Party Doctrine in order to hoover up huge amounts of metadata.

    It's a lot different. The stuff that Geo Listening is collecting has been deliberately made public. It does not require the use of subpoenas, etc to obtain it. It is obtained by screen scraping, effectively. There is a strong first amendment case for its legality.

    They could even make their summarized and tagged, personally identified information public on a searchable, free website if they wanted to and it wouldn't violate the Constitution or any laws.

    In fact that just what many aggregators, front ends, and so forth do -- such as Google, news aggregator sites, and the useful postprocessors for Craigslist or Twitter -- just to list some examples that have come under legal fire but are (correctly) defended here on Techdirt.

    So I don't understand the comparison.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 4:50am

      Re:

      Just to be fair, I realized after posting this, that in the United States, whereas private entities are allowed to collect and disseminate publicly available information about private citizens with almost no limitations, there are (in various contexts) quite reasonable constraints on the government doing the same thing.

      Geo Listening being a private company, there needs to be something in place to prevent the school system trying to evade these restrictions by simply running to the private sector to get their dirty work done, as if that makes it okay.

      So what I would suggest is that school system employees be prohibited from visiting or viewing the Geo Listening website using work computers or at home on their laptops and tablet devices.

       

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        MoonChild02 (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 7:41pm

        Re: Re:

        There is a law in place to prevent the school system from evading these restrictions. They are breaking that law. They should have consulted a lawyer before contracting the company to spy on students for them.

         

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      Brad, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 6:13pm

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Sep 10th, 2013 @ 4:39am

      Part of the issue is that as more information is consumed online, it becomes increasingly difficult to advocate or discuss items anonymously. I think the school's driving motivation is to control messaging concerning what happens in school, not safety. They want to limit exposure for themselves and their policies.

       

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      MoonChild02 (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 7:40pm

      Re:

      @Anonymous Coward @4:39am:

      The information may be public, but the fact that they are students living in a specific school district, attending a specific school, and having specific email addresses used by the students to access online services, is not public. Geolistening has absolutely no right to student rosters, email addresses, or any other identifiable information that would lead to the company to be able to track and find the students attending schools in the district on the web.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 4:43am

    If the rationale is that what they (the students) put out there is public..

    Would it be ok for them (geo) to actually follow them around in public taking notes and pictures..

     

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    andrew_duane (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 4:45am

    It's simple the "Kid's Menu" section of the grown-up NSA surveillance offerings.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 4:48am

    Come on, Tim. At least they're being honest about their intentions!

     

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      DH's Love Child (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 10:51am

      Re:

      No they're not. They state their intentions are to protect the children, but in reality they will use this to discipline kids who are good sheep to the school.

      Anything kids say that's critical of the school or teachers will be interpreted as a 'threat' worthy of expulsion.

      Don't think for a minute that they give one rat's ass about the children, they care about CONTROL.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 4:51am

    Possibly this is a private school? If not, who authorized this, school board members? They lack the authority to waste tax money on such useless endeavors. Tax dollars are collected with the sole purpose of education, not lining the pockets of business.

    "Your students are crying for help."
    Yes, they are, and they want you to stop it - now.

    "Geo Listening also provides a free mobile application "
    Oh, I bet they do. It probably bypasses all privacy and will soon be mandatory.

    Isn't it great that our children are being treated with respect and dignity? This will certainly prepare them for the world into which they have been born. Maybe there should be classes which teach how to circumvent these draconian measures.

    Our tax dollars are being used for indoctrination rather than education. This is sad because we need a well informed electorate, not a bunch of zombies.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 5:28am

      Re:

      Possibly this is a private school?

      -10

      Re-read article. See me after class.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 5:09pm

        Re: Re:

        Yeah, because the gray area which separates the two is not ambiguous at all. It is so cut and dried that the article doesn't even have to address it specifically, it only needs to infer via words like district, board member, and superintendent. Charter schools are part of the public system and yet operate as though they were private. No need for further distinction there, nope - not at all.

         

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      Al, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 12:28pm

      Re: spending Ed money

      There is no oversight concerning Educational money. Most of it is wasted. You have to spend every penny or you are given less the next year. Fortunes are thrown at minority education with absolutely no proof that any measurable success is accomplished. Every year the sorry cry is that we haven't spent enough money. The free lunch program is a joke. The AAAS (A Black only club) sold Pizza Hut pizza to raise money. It was stopped because people on the free lunch program were buying pizza instead. The authorities didn't want the public to notice that the program was a waste of time.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 12:36pm

      Re:

      >we need a well informed electorate, not a bunch of zombies.

      That may be what we(The People)need, but not what They need. I hate to go conspiratard, but I think a case needs to be made that the people we see in the MSM outlets are not the ones in charge. I'm not saying it's Satanists or Jews or Illuminati, I'm saying it's influential people with tons of money and connections.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 10:58pm

        Re: Re:

        which may in fact be any of the aforementioned groups. 'conspiracy theorist' has got to be the most successful CIA mind-job our lovely shadow government has ever come up with.

         

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    vegetaman (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 4:58am

    Public content is collected and provided to school districts from the following websites:

    This is why it's good to know how to set up privacy settings.

    Then the only people reading your stuff besides your friends is facebook or the NSA...

     

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    Ninja (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 5:26am

    from the incarcerating-13,000-students-would-make-them-'safer' dept

    Pretty much. For absolute security, put them in an induced coma and feed them through tubes. No chances of accidents, dumb ideas failing hard, bullying, anything. There, kids perfectly safe!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 5:31am

    How long I wonder until there's a 'candy drug' incident where the school district calls the cops on a student for eating candy they think is drugs.

    A shame it'll take tens of millions of dollars in legal bills and fines when they lose such court cases to learn that doing this is not ok.

     

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    FM Hilton, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 5:42am

    In future traing

    I would guess that this school system is just trying to train all students to be prepared for the future: by being monitored every time they're on-line now, they won't be very upset when they grow up to be adults monitored by the NSA 24/7.
    Making them good little drones, indeed.
    I hope the kids fight back and take it down.

    Too much spying on everyone going on now-from cradle to grave.
    Welcome to the Orwellian nightmare.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 12:49pm

      Re: In future traing

      Unfortunately, it seems anyone born after 1995 no longer finds 1984 relevant.
      Mindset of today's kids:
      Do it to me. Do it to Julia. Whatever.

      If there is one movie that is in desperate need of a remake, it would be 1984. Maybe even re-title it, 2084. It would be great if we could keep J.J. Abrams and Michael Bay out of it.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 5:47am

    "CA School District Announces It's Doing Round-The-Clock Monitoring Of Its 13,000 Students' Social Media Activities"

    This seems redundant to me. Couldn't they just ask the NSA to share the information they already collect?

     

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    silverscarcat (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 5:55am

    Man...

    My years in high school never did anything like this. I mean, sheesh, I accidentally broke school property and the worst that happened to me was that I had to see the principal. I shudder to think what would happen to me now if I got in trouble like that if I was in high school these days.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 6:16am

    How long...

    Until a group decides to troll this like mad? Will be funny to see the "daily" report show thousands of posts that are just garbage.

     

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      Internet Zen Master (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 11:58am

      Re: How long...

      Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if that very idea isn't currently getting kicked around amongst the trolls in /b/ and/or the fragmented hive mind of Anonymous as I type this very post.

      No threat of the FBI party van showing up at your house, no threat of ending up in a cell next to Bubba (well, hopefully). Just safe, 'innocent' trolling against a control-freak school board who want to rule every aspect of the students' lives.

      Seems like something that would be right in the wheelhouse of the net's most prolific trolling communities.

      As the Zen Master says, "We'll see."

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 6:30am

    and just who is going to be 'keeping an eye' on the school, it's staff and Geo Listening to ensure not only the 'safety of the pupils' is monitored? who is going to check the pupils 'rights to privacy' and freedom of speech aren't violated as well? i think i9 would telling the school to shut the 'service' down or face more than just a backlash! more than anything, this is to see what the pupils are saying about the school, it's teachers and staff and what free time activities are engaged in

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 6:57am

    This is a great idea, except we shouldn't be using it on students, let's use it on all public officials!

     

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    The Real Michael, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 7:00am

    Since when did the state become the childrens' parents? To hell with this brazen invasiveness into people's private lives. Parents should seriously consider looking into either a private school or homeschooling.

     

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    Lord Binky, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 7:20am

    Sounds like a fun afterschool activity would be to mess with the monitoring in crazy ways. Hell, scripts to post social media information during school times with keywords to trigger the truency detection sounds fun and educational.

     

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    HaroldK, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 7:22am

    High School Students are smart

    Wait until an entire school decides to game the system. GIGO at its finest!

     

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    identicon
    Shon Gale, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 7:26am

    Welcome to the public school system. Where as a student you learn all about the rights of Adults. There are no rights for minors. You are stuck with being underage and having no rights. You can't complain or fight back without Mommy and Daddy and chances are they are too damn busy trying to keep a roof over your head to help you. Sucks being young.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 8:04am

    The internet is the last place for unfiltered freedom and expression. That's why world governments want to control it, it is a threat to their propaganda and agenda, but a blessing for citizens.

     

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    David (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 8:38am

    Time Machine

    Apparently it is 1984 in the school district of Glendale, California

     

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    Jeff in Calgary, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 9:26am

    How?

    I would like to know how they plan to do this. Kids are very creative, and have a nack for evading grownups. My guess is that by noon tomorrow, every kid in the Glendale California school district will have multiple accounts on every social media they use.

     

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      identicon
      JEDIDIAH, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 10:23am

      Re: How?

      ppppffffttt

      In my day you simply didn't use your real name online.

      Only total squares would sign on to a system that required real names.

       

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    greenbird (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 10:23am

    Copyright

    Register your post with the Copyright office and then sue them for Copyright infringement.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 2:15pm

      Re: Copyright

      You do not have to register your post. You are granted a copyright at the moment you create it.

       

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    identicon
    SFox, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 10:42am

    Ridiculous

    This is so ridiculous. It is not the schools' jobs to keep kids safe all the time. From 8am to 3pm (or whatever school hours this district has) it is the school's responsibility. After that it falls on the parents and they have no real right to keep monitoring the kids. If I was a parent in that school district I would be pissed that the school district was basically trying to act like a parent to my child and monitoring everything they do OUTSIDE of school.

     

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    btr1701 (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 11:06am

    How do they know?

    How do they know which accounts belong to Glendale students? If I was a student, there's nothing on my account that would indicate I'm a Glendale resident or student, and if they're just going by name match, that won't work either since most people, myself included, use screen name aliases for their accounts.

     

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      Gwiz (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 5:27pm

      Re: How do they know?

      ...since most people, myself included, use screen name aliases for their accounts.


      "btr1701" isn't your given name??

      And all this time I was thinking that you had wacky-hippie-computer-geek parents or something.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 8:57pm

      Re: How do they know?

      If I was a student in the GUSD (and 20ish years ago I was), by noon tomorrow I'd have sanitized all of my social media accounts of any reference to my school and have created a complete set just to screw with the system. Cron jobs and reposts of Al-Qaeda, Stormfront and Al-Jazeera online to those social media accounts.

      Lets see what the district does with what appears to be a white-supremist, muslim terrorist student.

       

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    identicon
    Anon, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 11:58am

    look for an agenda

    There's got to be a reason why the bureaucrats sent that money to that company. Somebody's getting a kickback, or has a relative that works there, or owns some shares, or some other incentive. Since when did bureaucrats care about kids?

     

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    identicon
    Matt, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 12:16pm

    Let's not pretend

    that the schools give a rat's behind about cyberbullying. Most of them don't care about real bullying. As a person with a disability who was bullied, I can't begin to count how many times apathetic teachers shrugged and said "sorry I didn't SEE him push you down" or "I didn't SEE him mess with your adaptive device" even as the bully was laughing his rear end off. I can say with 100% certainty that these measures are not about kids bullying other kids online. They are about harassing kids who say negative things about their teachers or criticize school policies.

     

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    identicon
    Anon, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 12:17pm

    Feasability

    I'm curious how they implement such a program. To date, there isn't a truly reliable method of monitoring opinions by gleaning words from short status updates. The easiest method is using a database of keywords, but even then that doesn't account for unusual spellings or other subtleties in human language.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 1:01pm

    Don't let them monitor you.

    This is absolutely absurd, there is no way they will even be close to being able to contact and assist/punish even a small number of the those students. The only effects this will have is decreasing enrollment and less budget for other things that would actually benefit the learning experience. They won't help any of the students who will self harm or cyber bully, they have no idea how much cyber bullying will still go on. Someone tell me otherwise if they can even do anything about the substance abuse other than suspend them from school or sporting related activities(or expell). If this were to ever happen to me or my children I would immediately go to the school board and demand they remove this system.

     

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    anonymous cowared, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 1:12pm

    I guess the school wants to have the responsibility for the safety of the children

    If the school wants this responsibility I guess that they are also willing to accept the liability when they fail to protect the children they have accepted the responsibility to protect. Cool. Something happens to my kid I get sue the school district for not protecting them.

     

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    identicon
    paul, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 1:32pm

    Safety?

    I don't know what is in the water in Commiefornia,but this is just unbelievable.Where do these idiots get off thinking it's "ok" to monitor anything my kid does without my permission?Not on my watch!

     

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    Silver Fang (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 2:02pm

    Surveillance society

    We have the TSA at our airports, bus terminals, train stations and NFL stadiums, the NSA on our phones, tablets and computers and Obamacare in our hospitals and health clinics. Garbage like this is simply "training" for what lies ahead. God help us as a nation.

     

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    mike, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 2:02pm

    Just wait...

    until they turn this on the teaching and administrative staff for evidence of misconduct outside of school. They will not like it as much then.

     

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    identicon
    cody, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 2:35pm

    This is a disgusting attack on the privacy of not only individuals but circumvents privacy laws by targeting minors for "Safety". If this is indeed about safety what of your catagories of vandalism etc. This is not for safety this is a privacy violation at best.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 3:05pm

    “The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.”

     

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    GOPher Broke (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 3:27pm

    Those Darn Kids

    Many years ago, when I was young, we had a healthy distrust of the 'establishment' and didn't hang around with many people we associated with it - that included school staff (except for a few obviouly 'cool' teachers) and even our parents. Signing your name to private thoughts (unless it was with spray paint) was considered stupid! We passed paper notes in class and ate them if caught. Our creative writers wrote real letters to countercultural media in hope they might publish it and if they did we showed the actual papers of fliers to our friends in person (you could get laid for that... :).

    Even rumors of 'monitoring' would spread quickly (even without public 'posts' - you tell 2 friends and they tell 2 friends and so on and so on, resulting in the immediate 'shunning' of such media. We were even careful about what we said on the wired-to-the-wall phone - Mom might be on the extension.

    The people who SHOULD worry about this 'new service' today are the social media companies. I suspect it won't be long before it becomes popular to 'go dark' again among some student populations and either ditch social media completely or post only sham 'sanitized' posts to keep the monitors busy. If all those 'darn kids' decide (after sales people, Govt, NSA, CIA, and now their schools start spying on them) to abandon social media some of these highly prized cash cow companies might achieve their true valuations with the 16-30 year old demographic gone F2F and no longer there to read their ads... Duh!

     

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    identicon
    davnel, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 3:32pm

    One step closer

    That's one (more) small step toward a police state. By the time these kids get out of college, if they go, the battle will be essentially over. Orwell was right, just a few years early.

     

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    MamaKath, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 4:58pm

    Big Brother

    Besides the Big Brother angle...aren't many parts of California complaining about taxes because they're all broke? I wonder how parents will feel when their tax bills go up to pay for this invasion of privacy. Maybe it will get parents to go back to doing their jobs of actually parenting and keeping their own eyes on what their kids are doing on-line.

     

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    MoonChild02 (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 7:33pm

    The Glendale School District's actions are in DIRECT violation of the California Education Code

    From the California Education Code (emphasis mine):
    49073. School districts shall adopt a policy identifying those categories of directory information as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 49061 that may be released. The district shall determine which individuals, officials, or organizations may receive directory information. However, no information may be released to a private profitmaking entity other than employers, prospective employers, and representatives of the news media, including, but not limited to, newspapers, magazines, and radio and television stations.


    It goes on to give exceptions for private schools and colleges that students wish to attend. Here's the definition of "directory information":

    "Directory information" means one or more of the following items: pupil's name, address, telephone number, date of birth, email address, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and the most recent previous public or private school attended by the pupil.


    Geolistening is a private profit-making entity, and, therefore, are not allowed to be given any identifiable information about students. Therefore, the Glendale School District is breaking the law.

     

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    identicon
    wow, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 7:45pm

    You got to be kidding

    Are you going to be ignorantly stupid people and accept this illegal activity by a school district that has no authority to even consider this activity. They should all be arrested immediately if they act on this illegal activity. Come on people wake up and read the constitution and realize what country you live in. Quit acting like sheep!!!

     

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    Bk, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 7:49pm

    Don't Underestimate These Kids...

    This is definitely a waste of money!!! Some employers are doing this now,& their employees have learned to change their profile names...simple as that. This school kids will do the same or just make their profile private.

     

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    Leonardo Balliache (profile), Sep 15th, 2013 @ 5:08am

    And parents?

    Parents are responsible for their children out the school. This sort of spying seems a policial state. Just as Nazis did some years ago. What about implanting a chip to each child?

     

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    identicon
    Robert, Sep 16th, 2013 @ 10:45pm

    Suicide


    Geo Listening doesn't address one of the biggest flaws in its system anywhere in its statements: trolling


    There is a more fundamental flaw:
    If depressed students wanted the schools moral busybodies to enforce their "help" on them, Geo Listening's spying would be superfluous.
    Instead the spying will cause fewer students to seek advise from those that have pulled trough a depression. Advise about whom to talk to, what might help, and mitigating the feeling of being alone.

    Because this outreach by necessity is from former strangers in a public fora, the student is forced to either keep quiet or risk meddling from the busybodies for years. The student is in no position to fend off the busybodies.

    This program will cause students to die.

    As the program were secret, even if it were to be cancelled now it will continue to cause students to die.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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