Welcome to the brave new world of social media and other online activity monitoring in the name of preventing the next El Paso or Dayton. Texas Senator John Cornyn’s new RESPONSE bill would have schools keep an eye on what their students are doing and saying online. Other bills such as the bipartisan-supported TAPS Act would create a new federal bureaucracy to develop “threat assessments” on individuals similar to China’s social credit system.
Combine those efforts with the proliferation of red flag laws and soon police departments won’t have enough officers to carry out all of the resulting confiscation orders.
[A]dvocates have raised red flags over the Response Act’s requirement that schools begin monitoring their computer networks to “detect [the] online activities of minors who are at risk of committing self-harm or extreme violence against others.”
Under Cornyn’s legislation, nearly all federally funded schools in the U.S. would be required to install software to surveil students’ online activities, potentially including their emails and searches, in order to flag “violent” or alarming content.
The proposal would significantly expand the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), a 2000 law that is mostly interpreted today as blocking children from looking up pornography on school computers.
Privacy experts and education groups, many of which have resisted similar efforts at the state level, say that level of social media and network surveillance can discourage children from speaking their minds online and could disproportionately result in punishment against children of color, who already face higher rates of punishment in school.
“This is all very frightening,” an education policy consultant, who has been tracking the legislation, told The Hill. “There’s no real research, or even anecdotal information, to back up the idea … that following everything [kids] do online is really a way to determine that they’re going to be violent.”
– Emily Birnbaum in Advocates warn kids’ privacy at risk in GOP gun violence bill