Privacy, surveillance, and classroom communication on the internet

Nicholas C. Burbules
Vol 16, Number 1, p.36
As more and more people are involved with the Internet and new technologies of data collection and record-keeping, there has been a growing anxiety expressed about the loss of privacy citizens face in a networked world. In schools and in other networked institutions the activities of those working and communicating on the Internet are continuously subject to surveillance by others. These developments appear to threaten an increased 'invasion of privacy'. This essay critically reviews the notions of 'invasion' and 'privacy' at work here, concluding that the ideal of privacy people are seeking to protect - especially for students in schools - is already to a large extent imaginary. Moreover, when the same state institutions that threaten privacy also undertake to 'protect' is (such as schools), resistance rather than cooperation is an understandable response.