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Surveillance and Student Privacy with Jason Kelley

Surveillance and Student Privacy with Jason Kelley

Update: 2021-10-13


Surveillance cameras and other student monitoring tools are becoming more and more common in schools today. Laptops are distributed to the students and software is installed on them for their own protection, but it is important to know what is being done with the data collected outside of classroom use and if your students or your own privacy is being invaded. 

Today’s guest is Jason Kelley. Jason is the Associate Director of Digital Strategy at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, focusing on how privacy and surveillance impact digital liberties. Before joining EFF, Jason managed marketing strategy and content for a software company that helps non-programmers learn to code, and advertising and marketing analytics for a student loan startup.

Show Notes:

  • [0:53 ] - Jason describes his current role at Electronic Frontier Foundation.
  • [2:32 ] - Big tech companies who offer devices to schools collect data from them.
  • [4:17 ] - Physical surveillance has increased due to the continuous problem of school shootings.
  • [6:01 ] - Surveillance cameras can be accessed directly by local police. Jason explains how this can be controversial.
  • [8:34 ] - Jason and Chris discuss the reason for using school-issued devices only for education purposes.
  • [9:53 ] - Surveillance cameras do have blind spots. Facial recognition also has some issues.
  • [11:03 ] - When devices are provided, parents, young people, and even administrators don’t always know the capabilities.
  • [12:22 ] - Jason shares an example of one of the pitfalls of student monitoring apps that are on school issued devices.
  • [14:07 ] - Schools can take screen captures from issued devices which isn’t done out of malice but does raise questions about privacy.
  • [15:12 ] - We have to choose which is more important: safety or privacy.
  • [16:37 ] - Students and parents need to know that school issued devices have features that will impact privacy.
  • [17:32 ] - Jason describes some of the differences between the types of alerts school administrators receive.
  • [19:12 ] - Sometimes software blocks things that are safe and doesn’t block things that could potentially be inappropriate.
  • [20:50 ] - Teachers cannot have their eyes on every student’s computer at all times and often rely on software to help.
  • [22:04 ] - Teachers shouldn’t be expected to know how surveillance software works.
  • [23:01 ] - Jason describes a recent problem at Dartmouth with Canvas logs.
  • [26:27 ] - This issue at Dartmouth was very serious and could have impacted the students’ careers drastically.
  • [28:21 ] - There is an epidemic of misunderstandings of technology.
  • [29:24 ] - EFF offers guides for students on what to do and expect with school-issued devices.
  • [30:42 ] - There have been a lot of successful petitions in recent years about data tracking in universities. Parents have some leverage here as well.
  • [33:00 ] - Sometimes, there’s not anything you can do about student surveillance.
  • [34:20 ] - The Covid-19 pandemic made things very challenging as students needed access to education remotely very quickly.
  • [36:50 ] - Jason describes some of the features of remote proctoring programs.
  • [38:33 ] - This vastly impacted thousands of students who took the BAR exam.
  • [40:36 ] - EFF has been pushing back on proctoring and Jason explains a recent win.
  • [42:18 ] - Jason is hopeful that the pandemic has made it more clear where technology fails us.

Thanks for joining us on Easy Prey. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and leave a nice review. 

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Surveillance and Student Privacy with Jason Kelley

Surveillance and Student Privacy with Jason Kelley

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