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More Than Just a Privacy Invasion

We’ve all seen the new installment on our computers. That’s right, GoGuardian.

As of writing this, GoGuardian is a fairly new installment on our computers. It claims to take data without your consent and restrict certain websites. School administrators using GoGuardian have nearly total access to student information, such as browsing history, documents, videos, apps, and content alerts. However, there are many other features that the app doesn’t directly disclose.

GoGuardian often misinterprets websites and searches, it allows admin to see through your camera, and will block educational information as well as anything it deems inappropriate.

GoGuardian, despite using AI, makes a lot of mistakes.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) concludes that GoGuardian sometimes results in “inappropriate interventions by school administrators who erroneously believe a student is in the ‘active planning’ stage of a harmful act.” This could lead to a student being “accused of planning a school shooting when in reality they were researching weapons used during historical events.”

The purpose of GoGuardian is to protect students, not accuse them. And “it’s false positives heavily outweigh its ability to accurately determine whether the content of a site is harmful.”

Secondly, if you’ve ever felt like someone is watching you, don’t doubt it as GoGuardian can in fact allow admin to see through your laptop’s camera.

The EFF declares, “In some cases, this has even given teachers the ability to view student webcam footage without their consent when they are in their homes.” If this information doesn’t scare you, it should. EFF continues, “In others, this sort of software has inaccurately mischaracterized student behavior as dangerous or even outed students to their families.”

This is just another example of GoGuardian mistakenly inferring that students are planning harm, not to mention exposing their privacy, in which they could be potentially put in danger. This is not okay.

And finally, GoGuardian goes as far as constraining a student’s first amendment right– freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and press.

The EFF proclaims, “If a school decides that anything from an opposing political party or anything related to the LGBTQ community is harmful, it can prevent students from viewing it.” For instance, GoGuardian is known for blocking “college application sites and college websites; counseling and therapy sites; sites with information about drug abuse; sites with information about LGBTQ issues; sexual health sites; sites with information about gun violence; sites about historical topics; sites about political parties and figures; medical and health sites; news sites; and general educational sites.”

Restricting these resources is not protection, it’s dangerous.

The presence of GoGuardian on our computers is absolutely ridiculous and in no way supportive or safe for any student. Not only is it an invasion of privacy, its invasion of our constitutional rights. We must get rid of it.

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About the Contributor
Lily Egan, Staff Writer, Editor