Privacy SOS

Public school student resists malware and internet censorship

Nathan Ringo, a public school student in Minnesota, got in trouble for cracking his way around his school's censorious content blocker, which prohibits students from visiting any websites that contain profanity or nudity. As punishment he was denied access to in-school internet.

The following school year, he and his classmates were given iPads by the administration. The only problem was that the iPads were full of malware, and the policy that came along with them allowed administrators to monitor every single thing students did on the devices. That's a problem nationwide, and it's under-addressed. But Nathan addressed it:

I thought this was horrible, so naturally I fought it. I stood by the line for iPads and read aloud the “contract” that all students were forced to agree to, and loudly pointed out the clause that explicitly allows the district to monitor us at any time, for any reason.

I was directed to the same Associate Principal [who had disciplined him before]. I was once again subjected to the "if you're innocent, why are you hiding stuff" line before being directed out of the building, without an iPad. Since then, the ban on Internet access from the school has been reinstated, until I meet with a different Associate Principal and the Director of Technology.

But now Nathan is has his "own tablet– a Surface Pro 1 running Arch Linux–and my own Internet connection–over Bluetooth from my phone." And he uses it—without any malware, thank you very much—in school.

Read Nathan's post for BoingBoing.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.