California bill limits the surveillance of student social media posts

Social media is an established part of life at this point, but how society deals with it is still be worked out. For a long while, it wasn't uncommon for employers to demand access to accounts, and many have been fired over what they choose to share. Schools often monitor students' social media accounts, and a new California bill has specifically targeted that.

This past Monday, Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that requires schools to let parents know when they're monitoring a student's social media accounts — and requires them to purge any saved posts within a year after that student has left. This isn't the first time California has passed bills over social media.

The current bill is ultimately the result of officials at Glendale Unified hiring Geo Listening early last year in order to track students' public social media posts. The tracking covered students spread across four high schools and four middle schools, and was done without revealing that the monitoring was taking place.

The reasons were varied, and included things like keeping an eye out for students who were using drugs or possibly at risk of committing suicide. Said Glendale Unified's assistant superintendent Kelly King, "There are many instances where we've shared information with parents, and they've been stunned by what they don't know."

Privacy concerns, especially regarding the collection of posts, were raised, and the new bill moves to address them. It still retains the ability to monitor posts for potentially harmful activities, but presents some restrictions and ensures that parents know that the monitoring is taking place.

SOURCE: Glendale News Press