It's teacher hunting season!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

NYC Dept of Education's history of electronic spying

It is always good to be wise to the chicanery that the New York City Department of Education (DOE) engages in, with regard to freedom of speech, particularly when regarding the speech of teachers and the spying on teachers.
Consider the technology that the DOE for a time was promoting spying technology for its principals to use on their classroom teachers
See this Open Salon blog post about one year: "The NY Department of Education Had a Spy Site for Principals"
Teachers may have been watched secretly. School pupils may have been under surveillance covertly. The principals of New York schools may have been assisted by the Department of Education in performing spying tasks, within schools. The spy gear would have fit into any fictional tale of intrigue and subterfuge. There were supplies like a teddy bear with a hidden camera, a pencil sharpener fitted with a cam and, of course, the neckties that had spy capabilities. The supply site is now down:"... The city Education Department pulled the plug on its website portal to an I-Spy-type arsenal where principals browsed for hidden cameras to trick out their halls."
link: Officials pull plug on website promoting hidden camera gadgets for principals

Educational guidelines differ from region to region. However, it is usually standard practice to have open surveillance at educational facilities. In many cases, signs are posted. Parents know that there are security cameras on the school grounds, hallways and classrooms. There have been controversies about having surveillance of washroom facilities. That illustrates the clash between security issues and privacy.
These are open surveillance situations. In many regions, it is simply against the law to take covert images of students, without the students' and parents' permission. Teachers' unions do not want their members to be under constant secret watch. These practices do not generate an environment of trust. It is not a friendly work environment. The Department of Education in New York seems to have a different approach.
The operational paradigm of the Department of Education seems to have been to develop a level of secrecy between principals and their staff and students. The tax dollars function under the rubric of 'what-they-don't-know-won't-hurt-them'.
Welcome to George Orwell's 1984 and Big Brother.
Mr Orwell just had the date wrong.
Catherine Forsythe

Additionally, the New York Daily News has the article on the above link on officials promoting surveillance, "'Spier' education: Officials pull plug on website promoting hidden camera gadgets for principals", by Rachel Monahan, February 14, 2012.

* * *CENTRALIZED MAYORAL CONTROL AND POLICE SURVEILLANCEWe are dealing here with centralized state power a the city level, and one elected representative says that the city cannot supervise the New York Police Department, "Councilman Says City Can't Oversee NYPD Spy Unit". (This instance is regard to police spying on Muslims; the article subtitle reads: "Probe revealed a secret squad known as the Demographics Unit sent teams of undercover cops to keep tabs on area's Muslim communities.")
Excerpts from WNYC-TV report:
Nobody in New York government has the expertise and authority to oversee the police department's secret intelligence operations, a leading city councilman says, raising questions about what checks exist on a department that has infiltrated mosques and subjected entire Muslim neighborhoods to surveillance and scrutiny.
Peter Vallone, the chairman of the council's Public Safety Committee, said the council doesn't have the power to subpoena the NYPD for its intelligence records. And even if it did, he said the operations are too sophisticated for city officials to effectively oversee. More oversight is likely needed, he said, perhaps from the federal government.
"That portion of the police department's work should probably be looked at by a federal monitor," he said after Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly testified Thursday at City Hall.

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