A 17 year old girl, who is going by the name “N.N.” to protect her privacy, has just been awarded $33,000 after suing her High School in northeast Pennsylvania. It all started one cold January day in 2009 when N.N. was using her mobile phone in the classroom which admittedly she shouldn’t have been doing in the first, and then her teacher confiscated it. Things got messy when the principal of the school decided to go through her private text messages, emails and photos. In the photo gallery he found pictures of her naked and of course American being the land of prudes he contacted law enforcement and issued N.N. a 3 day suspension. The images were not sent to anyone, they were just captured for later viewing by both N.N. and her boyfriend. Anyone who has ever had experience with photography as a form of foreplay knows that just using the camera with your partner is erotic.
We saw something similar happen earlier this year, albeit without the naked pictures, in Texas when a teacher searched the mobile phone of a student in hopes of finding information that would lead to school officials finding out who committed several acts of vandalism. The lesson here is that as an adult you would never, ever, let anyone search your mobile phone, so why do you think a kid would be any different? Children deserve to have a private life and today that means storing everything that means everything to them in a smartphone or laptop. Sad, but whatever, diaries were the big thing back in the day and still are to some people.
And one more thing: talk about over reaction! One summer I worked retail for Helio, the MVNO that got lumped into Virgin. We had a recycling program where we’d take customers old devices in and send them in for processing at a special location that melted said devices to extract all the precious metals. My workmates would constantly go through the devices people turned in and it made me sick, but I wouldn’t have called the police. My heart would stop beating however if I knew someone had access to my gallery or text message history. Congratulations N.N.!