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No expectation of privacy

State Rep. Dwight Kay is right, the words “upon court order” should have been included in Illinois’ new social media law, which requires students to hand over their passwords to school leaders if asked.

Kay is sponsoring a bill to correct the omission. However, students and their parents need to understand that written protection may not shield them from much of anything. Privacy and social media don’t work well together. In fact, school administrators generally know what’s being posted on social media sites without ever having to acquire a password.

Other students are happy to provide school officials with screen shots of, or access to, messages they consider upsetting or offensive. Bad behavior regularly gets recorded and posted on YouTube, as members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma found out this week. Their private racist chant on a bus went viral, landing them in deep trouble.

Instead of depending upon the words “upon court order” for protection, students would be better off remembering these words of advice: Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want adults to read, or act in ways you wouldn’t want them to see, because chances are good they will see it or read it.

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