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Tue Dec 24, 2019, 02:11 PM

Colleges are turning students' phones into surveillance machines

When Syracuse University freshmen walk into professor Jeff Rubin’s Introduction to Information Technologies class, seven small Bluetooth beacons hidden around the Grant Auditorium lecture hall connect with an app on their smartphones and boost their “attendance points.”

And when they skip class? The SpotterEDU app sees that, too, logging their absence into a campus database that tracks them over time and can sink their grade. It also alerts Rubin, who later contacts students to ask where they’ve been. His 340-person lecture has never been so full.

“They want those points,” he said. “They know I’m watching and acting on it. So, behaviorally, they change.”

Short-range phone sensors and campuswide WiFi networks are empowering colleges across the United States to track hundreds of thousands of students more precisely than ever before. Dozens of schools now use such technology to monitor students’ academic performance, analyze their conduct or assess their mental health.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/12/24/colleges-are-turning-students-phones-into-surveillance-machines-tracking-locations-hundreds-thousands/

It won't be much longer before every person in the country is monitored 24/7.

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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply Colleges are turning students' phones into surveillance machines (Original post)
Zorro Dec 2019 OP
Initech Dec 2019 #1
MineralMan Dec 2019 #2
leftyladyfrommo Dec 2019 #4
MineralMan Dec 2019 #8
Proud Liberal Dem Dec 2019 #10
MineralMan Dec 2019 #12
TrunKated Dec 2019 #3
Buckeyeblue Dec 2019 #5
Igel Dec 2019 #6
Hermit-The-Prog Dec 2019 #7
dalton99a Dec 2019 #9
TheBlackAdder Dec 2019 #11

Response to Zorro (Original post)

Tue Dec 24, 2019, 02:14 PM

1. Holy crap this is the exact plot of the Dark Knight.



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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Tue Dec 24, 2019, 02:14 PM

2. It's training for the corporate world.

Employee tracking is all the rage these days.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 24, 2019, 03:03 PM

4. You know, that's horrible.

I would absolutely hate that. It's Big Brother come to life. Scares me to death.

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Response to leftyladyfrommo (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 25, 2019, 10:34 AM

8. Well, these days, a lot of corporations use RFID badges for employees.

Those allow the locations of workers to be tracked. RFID readers are installed in doorways, so the comings and goings of individuals can be followed by a computer. I've never seen the software used to monitor that, but I suspect it's a map representation of the workplace. Punch in an employee number and you can see where that person is on the display.

It's kind of like the magical map Harry Potter had, which showed where anybody was at his school.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #8)

Wed Dec 25, 2019, 11:09 AM

10. Back in the day, Orwell warned about Government becoming "Big Brother"

Nope. It was corporations and other institutions. This is creepy IMHO

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Response to Proud Liberal Dem (Reply #10)

Wed Dec 25, 2019, 11:26 AM

12. Creepy. I agree.

It is, however, the future we face. We are all being tracked. Not so much as to where we are at any given time, but in what we do. On our cell phones and other mobile devices, as well as on our computers, what we do is followed closely by many. Almost all of us are connected to one of just a few cell phone companies around the clock. We all use Google or other search engines. We visit websites on a regular basis.

Almost everything we do is tracked. Not necessarily individually, but often that, too. But our behavior is tracked. Where we are is less important than what we do, wherever we might be. And that is of the most interest to corporate America.

Some call this "Big Data." It is that, but it's rapidly becoming "Complete Data." You can expect to see more and more context-specific advertising, wherever you go. If your car is nearby, you may well soon hear an ad for the Pizza place or MacDonalds you're about to pass. Or, you might see such an ad on the touchscreen display in your car or on your cell phone. We're not quite at that point yet, but we're not far from it.

What can you do about it? Not much. You can disconnect from everything, but then you lose the positive benefits of being connected.

Things change. This is one of the changes.

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Tue Dec 24, 2019, 02:15 PM

3. dude....

I'm hungover. Can you take my phone to the lecture hall today?

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Response to TrunKated (Reply #3)

Tue Dec 24, 2019, 03:08 PM

5. I was just thinking that

But no one is willing to go that long away from their phone. That's how they know there will be no cheating.

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Response to TrunKated (Reply #3)

Tue Dec 24, 2019, 03:25 PM

6. That probably happens.

But I'm going out on a limb here (it's a very short limb, mostly vertical, and the size of a solid wooden stool) to say that it'll boost their grades. If they leave the phone off.

They should only get points if the phone is present and not being used.

I so want to buy dozens of yards of copper cloth and line my classroom with it.

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Response to Igel (Reply #6)

Tue Dec 24, 2019, 03:30 PM

7. wrap your phone in aluminum foil

Put it in any conductive case and only take it out for use.

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Wed Dec 25, 2019, 10:40 AM

9. For those with paywall issues, the entire article can be read at:

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Wed Dec 25, 2019, 11:23 AM

11. Major retail stores do that to track shopper's journeys.

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