Administrators for Glendale public schools in California are facing some heavy criticism following announcement that they are retaining the services of a company called Geo Listening to track the public activity of some 13,000 Glendale students. This is of course being done in the name of student safety, though it’s always going to feel invasive finding out about a monitoring program after it’s been put in place. This program was actually instituted last school year, and parents are only just now finding out about it. I’m sure that lack of transparency regarding which companies are actively monitoring their offspring’s online activity wont ruffle any feathers…
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.
And if this really is for the public good, one has to question what criteria Geo Listening is ranking this publicly collected data. What exactly are they looking for, and what are they doing with the information they’ve collected after it’s been deemed “safe”?
Supposedly, they’re only monitoring public posts, so you can be sure a couple thousand Glendale students just figured out how to set up their privacy filters.