What can “they” see?

Student privacy on new 1:1 laptops

Seniors Moriah Cooper and Jessica Harvey use their laptops in class

Seniors Moriah Cooper and Jessica Harvey use their laptops in class

With every Ames High student now in possession of a school-issued computer, questions are being raised about what “they” can and cannot see. And that turns out to be most everything.

“Tech staff and media staff can see all the documents you have on your computers,” IT specialist Karl Hehr said. “We can also see your internet history.”

This “big brother” feeling is a bit worrying for some students, as they realize everything they do is being monitored. Certain steps have been taken by some to increase feelings of personal privacy.

“I’ve set my internet browser to remember nothing of the sites I visit,” junior and avid technology user Ray Peterson said. “Honestly, though, I’m mostly just checking out varieties of deep-cut men’s t-shirts.”

As far as the staff and administration is concerned, safety is the priority. Horror stories regarding misuse of computer webcams were put to rest early by Hehr. He is working with staff to create a safe, educational environment. But this means they truly have unlimited access.

“Anything you look at using school equipment can be retrieved,” Hehr said. “We use CASPER software that allows us to monitor all the laptops and set up privacy guards.”

Administrators determine consequences for violating the school’s acceptable use policy (AUP)  which details how the computers may be used at home and at school. Every student signed a document which  details the expectations. The computers are at first hand educational resources, so any inappropriate or time-wasting sites can be blocked. Top website hits are tallied and easily viewed in a list- thus the fall of Cookie Clicker.

“I mean, I think at this point we understand the line between what we should and should not be accessing online,” Peterson said. “It’s comforting to know Lunaburg always has our back.”