School Chromebooks: Are They Watching Us?

Each year LCPS students get issued Chromebooks, a county owned and funded laptop. Students wonder, can our information be seen? Are Chromebooks watching us? The technical staff at Woodgrove has provided answers for these questions, giving insight on whether Chromebooks really are invading student privacy. 

The Chromebooks have numerous security locks and procedures in order to protect students. One of these measures, Gaggle, is to protect students. Ms. Owens, a technician for Woodgrove’s tech support, explains, “Gaggle is what flags and sends issues or anything that is deemed inappropriate and gets sent to the School’s administration for review. No one looks at anyone’s account until something is flagged by Gaggle,” Ms. McIntyre, another technician, adds. Once reviewed by administration, further action is carried out in private for the student’s privacy. Gaggle works in and out of the building. 

“DDI (Information Security) makes it difficult to install a VPN so students can’t bypass the settings. The Google play store is limited, things like locking down the level of apps you can have on the Chromebooks,” Ms. McIntyre notes on some of the ways chromebooks are locked down to enforce student safety. 

The real question is, do these run the risk of invading student privacy? Both technicians agreed, stating that it’s for the safety of students. “It has nothing to do with privacy. Its intent is for protection. No one looks at someone’s account unless something was flagged.” Ms. McIntyre concludes. 

Chromebooks are an amazing tool for students, and the safety protocols benefit the student experience. Rest assured, Chromebooks are not watching you.