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23 January 2015 @ 06:11 am
Monopoly of legitimized violence  
Illinois schools are requiring students to hand over their Facebook passwords. Needless to say, this is purely intended to protect victims and is not in any way a totalitarian power grab. As they explain,
The main driver behind the new cyberbullying law is to minimize destructive behavior associated with it, including “antisocial behavior, such as vandalism, shoplifting, skipping [classes] and dropping out of school, fighting, using drugs and alcohol, sexual harassment, and sexual violence,”
And of course failure to respect the principal's authoritye
Maia Cmaiac on January 23rd, 2015 12:19 pm (UTC)
Well, there's an ACLU lawsuit waiting to happen.

Steve Green: Vendettastevegreen on January 23rd, 2015 12:50 pm (UTC)
Astonishing. Have they already forgotten the court case over the Philadelphia school authority which snooped on its pupils?
Kalimac: puzzlekalimac on January 23rd, 2015 03:07 pm (UTC)
The article turns out to say something quite different than what "requiring students to hand over their Facebook passwords" implies.

First, it's not all students, but only in response to charges of cyberbullying. This could well fall under standard justifications. There are lots of things that police can legitimately demand of crime suspects that are rightly objected to if they start demanding them of random citizens or of the entire populace.

Second, it doesn't say passwords but does say access to their accounts. This raises the possibility that the student could log in privately and then let the school authorities read the posts. There's a big difference between letting authority (if on a legitimate investigation) see what you're already letting other people read, and giving them your password which compromises the security of your account.

Of course this power may easily be abused - see your last line - and I think it ought to require a warrant like any other invasion of privacy for crime investigation. But given that, and given a willingness by the school to read over the student's shoulder, it seems to me a far cry from the implied image of calling all the students in and saying "Give me your passwords."
El Coyote Gordo: coy1supergee on January 23rd, 2015 04:17 pm (UTC)
What bothers me is the mission creep. It's supposed to be about bullying, but it's also about other offenses, like the "narcoterrorism" excuse for cracking down on Sudafed.
Kalimackalimac on January 24th, 2015 05:47 pm (UTC)
With that I agree. That's why I'd like to see a warrant first, as those cut down (though not eliminate) that kind of abuse.