After increasing reports of schools violating their students’ privacy by searching through their phones, facebook messages and other personal areas of the digital world, a judge has recently re-affirmed 20 years of decisions by ruling that requiring a student to give up their Facebook or email passwords is a violation of first amendment rights.
A student from the Minnewaska Area School District sued after being coerced by three school officials and a taser-armed cop into giving up passwords to her facebook, email and other accounts. School officials did so after hearing rumors that the student had been talking about inappropriate subjects on the internet.
The Minnesota student won both on first and fourth amendment claims. Head over to TechDirt for the full article.
“Safety” does not trump rights, just as surely as “policy” does not trump (or at least, shouldn’t) trump common sense and proportionate responses.