Sunday, 13 March 2016

Technology Use Scenario - cameras in classrooms?

My technology use scenario is as follows: “Dr. Brown, principal at Bluebird Elementary School, is concerned with safety in his school, both for his staff and for his students. During the summer, Dr. Brown had cameras installed in each of the classrooms. The video from each of these cameras is viewable on the internet, so that parents can check on their students’ classes during the day. Some parents are concerned that because these cameras are connected to the internet, other people could also use them to “spy” on their children. Do we have an expectation of privacy while at work, home or play?” (Ribble, p. 121)

The individual in this situation, Dr. Brown, is not using technology appropriately. We do have an expectation of some level of privacy while at work, home and play. Privacy is unfortunately not a black and white issue however, it can be reasonably understood that one has a right to privacy in his or her own home or a bathroom in a public place or school, for example, more so than if you were outside mowing your lawn where anyone who walks or drives by can see what you are doing. Dr. Brown is not using technology appropriately because according to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) Dr. Brown must limit the use and disclosure of the camera videos (Filsinger, p. 313). He must not disclose the information to third parties unless he obtains consent (in this case from the parents since the students are minors) (Filsinger, p. 313). Third parties would be all of the other people able to view the cameras on the internet, which the parents are against and therefore, consent would not be granted.

I also believe that since an elementary school contains children aged three to 13 there should be a greater expectation of privacy due to the extra precautions and safety measures that need to be taken against things such as abductions and bullying. Since these students cannot give consent to being videotaped themselves as they are under the age or majority, it is up to the parents, staff at Bluebird Elementary School and Dr. Brown to understand and weigh the benefits and risks of having these cameras in the classrooms and act in the best interests of the students.      

Personally, I think Dr. Brown may install the cameras in classrooms (a common area with a relatively low expectation of privacy) but I do not think these cameras should be viewable on the internet. School security should have access to the tapes and parents should be contacted only if there is an issue. If there were a more secure way that parents could view the cameras other than what is presumably an open link on the internet, this would be the better option if parents still insist on being able to check up on their children.   

Filsinger, K. (2015). Employment law for business and human resources professionals  (Third Edition). Toronto, ON: Edmond Montgomery Publications.

Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools (Third Edition). United States of America: International Society for Technology in Education.

1 comment:

  1. Although I understand that Dr. Brown may be concerned about the safety of the students, sharing this information on the internet seems like a breach of privacy. Due to the fact that information is readily accessible on the internet, I feel as though the safety of the children is compromised due to this. Staff have undergone extensive training and there are very strict safety procedures in schools that they are to follow. Therefore, Dr. Brown should trust in the staff that has been hired, and if he is concerned about safety, he should implement more training surrounding this issue, rather than relying on cameras.