Poli-Ticks Me Off; Why Rights to Privacy Should Be Given Up for Local Security

In recent months, Americans from school yards to Capitol Hill have rightly questioned whether it is necessary to give up some privacy in exchange for safety.

This year, students in the Glendale Unified School District (GUSD) in California experienced an invasion of privacy when school officials hired a company called Geo Listening to monitor the public social media posts of students and provide schools with a daily report.

But in the hopes of preventing cyber-bullying, self-harm, drug use and other negative behaviors, the school district is actually suppressing free speech, since students will now have to think twice about every single comment they make online.

RHS has also recently established a more watchful eye over the student body with the installation of 84 new and improved security cameras. This is 52 more cameras than RHS had last year.

To some students, the black surveillance orbs seem a bit invasive. “People are more protected, but then again a�� I don’t think it’s as necessary,” junior Cassandra Calderon said.

At the national level, the National Security Agency’s (NSA) questionable surveillance of thousands of phone records and electronic communication prompted fears of an invasion of privacy. The programs, which began under President George W. Bush and have continued under the Obama administration, authorized the collection of phone records from Verizon customers. In addition, the NSA tracked information from Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, AOL, YouTube, Apple, PalTalk and Skype, according to The Washington Post.

“It’s a breach of privacy. The government has directly violated my 14th amendment [implied] right to privacy yet claim it is to protect us,” junior Michaela Berger said. “However, there has been no change in the security of our country because of this spying.”

The difference between the overbearing NSA surveillance, the incredibly intrusive online monitoring by the GUSD and our own security program here at RHS is simple: our cameras do not make students second guess their behavior. As long as students act as they normally would, the cameras do not interfere with their lives at all. That is different from not knowing whether phone records or tweets are being monitored and analyzed.

Besides, the cameras do things like help protect the RHS population. In the event of something like a fight or robbery, school officials can easily watch the footage from wherever the fight occurred and properly punish a student accordingly.

“Personally, as a teacher I feel more protected,” Spanish teacher Madeline Rudman said. “I think that in certain circumstances it’s better to have more security and to give up some of your rights in terms of privacy.”