Update: Phone searching plans revised
Yesterday, The Bournemouthian discovered that plans were afoot to introduce what a member of the Senior Leadership Team had labelled ‘spot-checks’ on students’ mobiles. Our article on the controversy, which has since been read over one thousand times, promoted mainly critical responses from the readership.
Amongst staff, confusion was rife. Even those in the upper echelons of leadership provided conflicting details of the plans. This morning however, an email was sent to parents to clarify the much discussed proposals. Therein, it is explained that:
We may decide to search through any images or videos on any phone or mobile device that is confiscated….. or where an investigation leads us to believe that inappropriate text, images or video are on the device
Although the searching for inappropriate images can be justified when evidence points convincingly to such material, ground for concern is still found by the implication that any confiscated device could fall victim to a random search. Whilst some are taken due to offensive content, many are seized by staff when used during class or in corridors. It is also unclear under which circumstances a device can be confiscated and subjected to a search.
Trawling through images, videos and text messages with no prior indication of wrongdoing – other than the minor offence of using the phone during lessons – potentially poses a significant threat to personal privacy and opens the floodgates to further arbitrary intrusions.
Any new developments on searchgate will be published as soon as they can be verified.