An attorney and government watchdog says tracking the movement of college students is unnecessary and Orwellian.
The Washington Post first reported on the campus tracking in a technology story that recounted how a Syracuse University freshman gets “attendance points” by walking into a classroom where Bluetooth beacons connect with an app on his smartphone to recognize the student’s attendance.
“They want those points,” said the professor, who bragged about his classroom full of students.
The technology, known as SpotterEDU, was originally used to monitor student-athletes.
John Whitehead, a civil liberties attorney who leads The Rutherford Institute, says tracking class attendance is an unnecessary use of the technology.
"If you're paying for—especially college—if you're paying for it,” says Whitehead, “if you decide you don't want to go to a class, you don't want to go to a class.”
The better question, he adds, is to ask why colleges would want to monitor students.
“Because it gives them, basically, control over you and what you're doing in your data,” the civil liberties attorney warns.
The Washington Times reports on another tracking technology, Degree Analytics, which is used on 19 campuses to measure “student data,” which the critical article calls a “nice way of saying that every move a student makes is tracked.”
In fact, the data is collected and analyzed by the school to look for “discrepancies” that could suggest depression or an eating disorder, the Times said, quoting the tracking technology’s creator.
Whitehead says colleges and universities are being turned into “surveillance internment camps.”