In class this last week, we took a brief look at a case study revolving around an incident involving the usage of Spy Cams through publicly issued school computers.
The situation was found that a school had put computers on loan to students. These computers were equipped with technology that allowed the school to turn on cameras while the children were in their homes. Besides the obvious breach of privacy the school denied that it had used the computers in such a way. Eventually the school approached a student having seen him take pills while in his own bedroom and subsequently ended up getting sued. The school board made a small settlement with the student and ended the situation without making national news.
The school made a variety of mistakes when dealing with this conflict, but it draws into question much of our current practices and grey areas of life. At what point do we sacrifice privacy for safety? At what point do we trust those trained on working with students over our own presumptions of what is right and wrong.
The case study doesn’t just raise problems with how the school handled the situation, although their consequences were much less than it could have been, but of how we operate in general. When we encounter controversy, it’s important to not only look at the problems at hand, but why they are problems.