French Caldwell

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French Caldwell
VP and Gartner Fellow
15 years at Gartner
19 years IT industry

French Caldwell is a vice president and Gartner Fellow in Gartner Research, where he leads governance, risk and compliance research. Mr. Caldwell also writes and presents on knowledge management. His research includes analysis of the impact… Read Full Bio

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Privacy Risk — Do You Want Your School Board to Put a Webcam in Your House?

by French Caldwell  |  February 22, 2010  |  1 Comment

In Maine, every middle schooler is issued a laptop. This is a trend that is gaining around the world — the Australia federal government is funding laptops in that country. Isn’t it cool that governments, non-profits and software vendors are making sure that students have the technology to learn?

One Laptop Per Child (with webcam)

One Laptop Per Child (with webcam)

(Loud sound of tires skidding).  Hold on, put on the brakes — it’s not all good.  What if the local school board has a policy of monitoring what its students are doing with those laptops, and that policy includes turning on the webcam to watch your kids.  Now Big Brother just entered your house George Orwell sytle.  Not so cool, eh.

But of course, no one would be that stupid, right — guess what, they are.  In a suburb of Philadelphia the local school board has done just that.  And in a New York middle school the assistant principal takes photos of the kids using the webcam “to mess with them.”

So when someone comes to your school district advocating a laptop for every child scheme — maybe parents should ask a few questions about privacy.  You think?

1 Comment »

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 reputation management   March 3, 2010 at 2:05 am

    Its not the matter of privacy it is the matter of the overall mental status of the child that he or she is under observance all the time and that he or she could not do whatever they want to because the are not free any time because of the attached web cam in their laptop.This will led to the loosing of self respect and confidence i suppose. Still you never know it may result in something bad even or may not be. Actually don’t think that it is or the good will of the students, if it is governments would have done this and taken this step a ways long back, why they took so long to initiate this.