Big Brother is Watching You
- Welcome to the Police State. Without a search warrant Illinois schools are now demanding that students turn over their internet passwords to Big Brother Government.
A letter sent out to parents in the Triad Community Unit School District #2, a district located just over the Missouri-Illinois line near St. Louis, that was obtained by Motherboard says that school officials can demand students give them their passwords. The full letter is embedded below.
"If your child has an account on a social networking website, e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, ask.fm, etc., please be aware that State law requires school authorities to notify you that your child may be asked to provide his or her password for these accounts to school officials in certain circumstances," the letter says.
"School authorities may require a student or his or her parent/guardian to provide a password or other related account information in order to gain access to his/her account or profile on a social networking website if school authorities have reasonable cause to believe that a student’s account on a social networking website contains evidence that a student has violated a school disciplinary rule or procedure," it continues.
The memo is very similar to a "model letter" put out by the Illinois Principals Association, and parents around the state are presumably receiving this letter.
Nowhere in the law does it explicitly state that schools are allowed to ask for students' passwords, but one section of it says that schools must implement a policy that includes a "process to investigate whether a reported act of bullying is within the permissible scope of the district's or school's jurisdiction." The cybersecurity law, when combined with one that went into effect last year specifically governing social media, may have spurred these letters.
That law states that elementary and secondary schools must notify parents if they plan to ask for a password, and that it can be asked for if a student violates policy. The cyberbullying law codifies the idea that Facebook harassment is a violation of code policy, which is why you see these letters popping up.
“If we're investigating any discipline having to do with social media, then we have the right to ask for those passwords,” she said.
"I would imagine that turning it over to the police would certainly be one way to go. If they didn't turn over the password, we would call our district attorneys because they would be in violation of the law," she added. "That would only be in some cases—we'd certainly look at the facts and see what we're dealing with before we make the decision."
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