It's not just the federal government that wants to monitor data available online to figure out what Americans are doing. One school district in California wants to monitor its students that way too.
The Glendale Unified School District has hired a Hermosa Beach company to monitor public social media posts made by its students to find out when teens are in trouble or causing it.
Superintendent Richard Sheehan said Geo Listening is analyzing the posts of 13,000 students at eight Glendale middle and high schools.
The goal is to give school administrators critical information as soon as possible.
"The whole purpose is student safety," said Sheehan. "Basically, it just monitors for keywords where if a student is considering harming themselves, harming someone else."
Setting aside for a moment that it's the job of parents, not schools, to supervise their children online, adults can also often be woefully illiterate when it comes to social networking. For example, a teenager in Texas spent months in jail after a woman in Canada reported a Facebook comment he made about shooting up a school that was obviously sarcastic and even followed by a "jk" and "lol" to stress that point. Young people use social media to exercise free expression. Glendale's efforts to police students' social media presence appears to be part of a wider discomfort with Constitutional protections many "education experts" often have.