New Mass Shooting Prevention Bill Will Use 'Anti-Terrorism' Methods To Ramp Up Surveillance Of Students

from the not-quite-the-civics-lesson-schools-had-in-mind dept

The federal government still doesn't have any great ideas on how to head off future school shootings. But it does have some ideas. Some ideas are better than none when calls to "do something" abound. Something is indeed in the works. Unfortunately, the solution being offered just opens up students to increased surveillance, on and off campus.

You already know we're headed to a darker place when the head of the DOJ is touting anti-terrorism tactics as a solution.

As America grapples with the crisis, [Attorney General William] Barr wrote in a letter to federal and local law enforcement officials that it was “critically important ... that we learn from our experiences over the last two decades fighting terrorism and violent crime and that we apply those lessons to hone an efficient, effective and programmatic strategy to disrupt individuals who are mobilizing towards violence, by all lawful means.”

Barr was speaking more broadly of mass shooters, but school shooters are also mass shooters, which means the "individuals" being "disrupted" will sometimes be school students.

Expanded surveillance of school students would be the result of Sen. John Cornyn's RESPONSE Act. (Expanded surveillance of everyone would also be the result of the proposed bill.) There are some helpful aspects to the proposed law, like increasing access to mental health treatment and the hiring of additional mental health professionals to handle the uptick in access.

But the law would also authorize less helpful things, like expedited death penalties and nudging ISPs towards monitoring their customers' internet use.

Encouraging Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to Better Collaborate with Law Enforcement to Prevent Mass Shootings —Clarifies that internet service providers and online platforms have the authority to share information with law enforcement concerning acts of mass violence, hate crimes, or domestic terrorism.

The bill doesn't demand increased monitoring. It just suggests law enforcement will be expected a bit more proactivity from service providers.

The bill also suggests doing more of what hasn't been proven to be useful, like the periodic traumatization of staff and students with active shooter drills.

But it's really about the surveillance. As The Guardian reports, schools are already engaged in plenty of student surveillance. Adding students to the "possible mass shooter" pool would just put existing systems on PEDs.

There is still no research evidence that demonstrates whether or not online monitoring of schoolchildren actually works to prevent violence.

Despite this, new legislation introduced Wednesday by Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican and longtime ally of the National Rifle Association (NRA), would update the Children’s Internet Protection Act to mandate that public schools adopt “a technology protection measure that detects online activities of minors who are at risk of committing self-harm or extreme violence against others”.

That mandate isn't going to improve the faulty AI and algorithms already in place. It will increase their use, but it won't make systems prone to false positives any more reliable. Children will become haystacks sifted and sorted by companies like Gaggle. Students will spend more time talking to law enforcement about innocuous posts flagged as suspicious because they contain certain words.

Cornyn's mass shooting plan piggybacks on a vague law that demands schools monitor students online activities. What that covers has never been clearly defined. A do-almost-nothing law that demands increased surveillance will only make existing problems worse. No price is too high to pay for school safety, especially when the price is going to be paid by students.

Filed Under: gun control, john conryn, school shootings, shootings, students, surveillance, surveillance state, terrorism, william barr


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  1. icon
    ECA (profile), 25 Oct 2019 @ 4:37pm

    Ummm NO!... interesting that this is from...a REPUBLICAN.

    This really tastes like a way to instigate Anti gov. and Anti Guns..
    Into the whole thing.
    Get people pissed off while being patted down, for no cause. and point fingers at what??

    I think the school shootings are slowing as Someone had the Thought to LOCK THE F'ING DOORS.. As for some reasoning they are shooting up Malls?? it really still sounds wrong..

    Walking into a Mall with a few friends, you carrying a Large plastic case, they go on while you stand at a door, pull out a Rifle, and start shooting??

    i love their Anti-terrorist tactic-- SHOOT them before they can answer questions.. its not that we are lazy watching for a person/group to run up to a building and BLOW themselves up..
    Its not that the teachers are doing anything to counter it??(is it??)

    FBI/CIA dont have access to your PRIVATE medical..so no mental eval when looking up License info..

    Where are the Mental heath people in this?? What happened to HAVING a source to goto to Talk to as a Teen?? Parents arnt home so where do you go??
    Lets talk to the CIA and ask them about the ability to Program younger minds..
    How you exposed them to TV that has cops always getting the criminal on every channel..News about no jobs in the future..
    Some say the simple mind is easy to control...which might be true, but its the Thinkers, that see all this stuff and make connects, that there isnt a way out.


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