Gizmodo is reporting on US Schools that are using the same technology that the FBI uses to investigate terrorists on its students. The report highlights eight districts from a random sample of 5,000 public school or school district websites, including Los Angeles Unified School District and North East Independent School District in San Antonio.
An example – in that San Antonio school district, a student consented to having his phone searched, and using a Cellebrite UFED device, deleted messages of an inappropriate relationship between the student and a teacher were discovered.
By US law, schools do not necessarily need a warrant to search students if officials have a reasonable belief that a student has broken the law or school policy. The “reasonableness” standard is considered quite broad in this case, and courts have rarely ruled schools violate the Fourth Amendment, which protects adults.
Full link in the show notes.
Why do we care?
Today’s quite a day for security – why we care is because of the regulatory angle.
The legal standard here is problematic and has not necessarily kept up with changing technology. This potentially introduces racial bias as well – it’s easy to see how that might be the case – making the issue even more complex.
I’m highlighting it because one of the themes of the year remains how regulation will be impactful in 2021, and here you see another example. For adults, there are better defined search-and-seizure laws which still do not address the privacy and reasonable expectation fully, and for students (who are underage), the definitions are even more problematic.
Lawmakers are going to be under pressure to address these concerns – and providers should be more concerned about badly written laws than a raising standard.