GoGuardian Con

Brianna Riedmueller, Op-Ed Editor

Go-Guardian is constantly monitoring students’ searches while also having access to cameras and microphones on the Chromebooks. It is an invasion of students’ privacy.

When students were first getting these school-issued Chromebooks, their parents had to sign a contract which informed them that: “This electronic device may record or collect information on the student’s activity or the student’s use of the device if the electronic device is equipped with a camera, global positioning system, or other feature capable of recording or collecting information on the student’s activity or use of the device.”

Although the contract states that the information gathered will not be used in a way that will invade the privacy rights of “the student or any individual residing with the student,” there have been cases, such as in  2010 Robbins v. Lower Merion School District where the school was charged with having secretly and remotely taken a picture of a student through  laptop, and using it to try to punish him.

This case illustrates how remote monitoring systems are capable of capturing personal and private information through the cameras and microphones, whether it is on purpose or accidentally. It is difficult to know where the line should be drawn when it comes to surveillance on a school computer, but even the capability of administrative access to the cameras and microphones while students are at home is highly inappropriate.

Many students leave their Chromebooks open on their home desks or in their rooms. If the Chromebook were recording, it could  capture content which the school administration, Go Guardian personnel, or anyone else should never see.

High-school aged students should not need the constant monitoring that Go-Guardian provides. In addition, according to the Go-Guardian website, only a mere 10% of Go-Guardian users are in high school, while the rest are in middle or elementary. The inappropriate behavior that Go-Guardian is used to prevent is expected from 12-14 year olds, but high school students know how to behave themselves well enough to not need constant surveillance.

Go-Guardian for high school  is also a waste of money and resources. After training sessions on how the system works, many of Warren Hills teachers do not use Go-Guardian at all. If teachers are not utilizing this resource and the taxpayers’  money that is going into this monitoring system is being wasted.

Implementing Go-Guardian was a mistake which is unnecessary for high school-aged students, costing tax-payers,  and invading student privacy. While the Chromebooks are technically school property, Go-Guardian and administration recording or even  having access to the camera and microphone while students are at home is inappropriate and unacceptable.