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Archive for the ‘Legal Issues’ Category

Colorado Passes Student Data Transparency and Security Act

New Governance Requirements Created for Tech Vendors This June, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law a bill that will significantly change the way student data is governed in the state. HB 16-1423, also known as the Student Data Transparency and Security Act, will provide for a number of new requirements for vendors and school…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues, Privacy

Say What You Mean in Electronic Communications . . . or Else

When first communicating by email, did you ever mistakenly use all capital letters only to learn that, by using all caps, you were effectively yelling?  Was it ever your intention to yell, or were you simply unaware of proper email etiquette at that time?  Have you ever used a chat acronym (e.g., “LOL”) only to…Continue Reading

Categories: Digital Citizenship, Legal Issues

Paroline v. United States and the Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act

For years, a debate has been brewing in the federal courts about whether a defendant convicted of possessing child pornography must pay full restitution to victims who were abused to make the images or whether restitution should be limited to only those losses caused by the defendant.  In the past few weeks, this debate culminated…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues

Reducing Waste without Compromising Rights

With today’s widespread technology use, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, businesses and individuals are all finding ways to increase efficiency and reduce waste. As we engage in “spring cleaning,” we are particularly motivated to eliminate excess paper and seemingly needless waste, and we frequently inquire whether money, time, and resources could have been saved by using…Continue Reading

Categories: Educational Issues, Legal Issues, Online Security

Public Social Media Sites: Limits and Responsibilities

Social media is how we, as individuals, communicate. Among other things, we use social media to share, convene, entertain, engage in political discussions, obtain news, perform research, and to communicate just about any type of information. Many businesses in the private sector have also embraced social media and are successfully appealing to customers, advertising, and…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues, Social Networking

Be Proactive and Not Reactive When Responding to Technology Incidents at School

In violation of school policy, a student uses his cell phone during class to record a teacher engaged in disciplining a group of students.  Another student uses a mobile device to photograph her answer sheet during a standardized exam.  Yet another student uses his phone to record some friends while they are changing in the…Continue Reading

Categories: Cell Phone, Legal Issues

Digital Stalking

After their relationship ended, Rose began to pursue other interests. However, her tech-savvy ex-boyfriend had other plans. He used his unique computer skills to gain control of Rose’s digital footprint. Through digital stalking, her ex-boyfriend hijacked her communications and effectively blocked her from her digital life. Rose, like many victims, simply wanted the harassment to…Continue Reading

Categories: Cyberbullying, Legal Issues

Before You Click “I Agree” on Behalf of Others

A blog, an email account, and a photo storage program are all technology services which many of today’s consumers have used and even embraced.  While they can be used for business purposes, many use such services to replace personal materials like baby books, formal letters, and photo albums.  Although we may not want others to…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues

Planning Ahead for Summer Technology Use

Thoughts of summer may seem premature to many but, out west, periods of warm weather often blur the line between seasons and remind us that summer is just around the corner.  For students and school staff members, preparing for summer used to mean getting ready to say goodbye to friends, teachers, and colleagues; however, with…Continue Reading

Categories: Educational Issues, Legal Issues

Employers prohibited from social media accounts of its applicants

Filling out an application, having an interview, and receiving a phone call a few weeks later used to be the standard procedure when applying for a job. In today’s 21st century workplace, it is becoming more and more common for employers to ask their applicants to “hand over” their usernames and passwords to their social…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues, Social Networking

Avoiding the Tangled Web through Honesty

“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive.”  – Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) Although Sir Walter Scott undoubtedly did not have technology in mind when he wrote about weaving a tangled web, today’s social media and internet users should heed his words and avoid being ensnared through deceit in today’s…Continue Reading

Categories: Digital Citizenship, Legal Issues

Recent Legislation May be Sending the Wrong Message to Social Media Users

In 2012, 14 states introduced legislation prohibiting employers or educational institutions from requesting social media user names and passwords from employees, students, or applicants; in 2013, at least 28 states had introduced legislation concerning social media use.  While such legislation is clearly aimed at protecting the privacy of social media users, it may be sending…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues, Social Networking

An Industry on the Move – iKeepSafe in New York

February has been a busy month for those who have a stake in creating content and marketing for children.  In New York alone there were no less than 5 different conferences over the course of 2 short weeks.  Some were combined with others, but even so, it seemed like a record for the industry.  Although…Continue Reading

Categories: iKeepSafe News, Legal Issues

Just Another Policy or Do Technology Use Policies Really Matter?

Employers and educational institutions continually face situations involving technology users accused of wrong-doing whose defenses simply do not pass “the smell test.” For instance, when pornography is found on an employee’s computer, the accused employee may assert that someone else must have downloaded the pornography when the employee stepped away from his or her computer…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues

External Investigations of Cybermisconduct in Schools

A credible student admits to sexting with a school employee.  A parent accuses her child’s classmates of online bullying.  Data in the student information system appears to have been altered.  A filter alerts school administrators that an employee has accessed an inappropriate website. Such incidents are all too common and should undoubtedly be investigated without…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues

Risk-Taking Teens and Apps: A Bad Combination?

Do you remember as a teenager how you tested limits? Maybe it was driving too fast, skipping school, or…. now I’m showing my age… streaking? I remember when the whole school lined up to watch a couple of classmates run from one end of the campus to the other.  Everyone knew it was going to…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues, Parenting

Student BYOD Policies 101: Back to Basics

While speaking with school and college administrators about technology issues facing public educational institutions, I am frequently questioned about acceptable use, social media and, more recently, Bring Your Own Device (“BYOD”) policies. While I have felt confident that most educational institutions I have encountered were adequately equipped to begin the process of updating or implementing…Continue Reading

Categories: Educational Issues, Legal Issues

Arizona House Bill 2549 – Violation of first amendment and freedom of speech?

On August 2nd of this year, a new Arizona Internet Stalking Law, House Bill 2549, went into effect, joining 24 other states that have already crafted essential changes to communication laws. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures: • 24 states have cyberstalking and cyber harassment laws, • 10 states have only cyberstalking laws,…Continue Reading

Categories: Cyberbullying, Legal Issues

Like it or Leave it . . . Your Job, that is

Is liking something on Facebook constitutionally protected free speech?  Or can you be fired for whom or what you “like?” A Washington Post story describes a Virginia case in which a government employee was allegedly fired for liking the Facebook page of his boss’ opponent in an election.  A lower court judge held for the…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues, Social Networking

E-Rate Changes: Complying with the FCC’s July 1st Requirements

Technology in classrooms is becoming more accessible, thanks to generous grants and donations that can help underwrite equipment costs, and E-Rates that can help defray the costs of connectivity. But changes in E-Rate funding will take effect in just a few days on July 1, 2012. The FCC has released rule revisions for the Children’s…Continue Reading

Categories: Educational Issues, iKeepSafe News, Legal Issues

Digital Literacy: A Pound of Prevention

As an attorney who advises educational institutions, I often work with clients who are faced with the challenge of balancing important principles affecting students and staff with the risk of litigation.  While certain litigation risks can be anticipated, when legislation is still being developed or case law is unsettled, it may be difficult to predict…Continue Reading

Categories: Digital Citizenship, Educational Issues, Legal Issues

The Civil and Criminal Consequences of Cyberbullying

Regardless of your age, profession, or role in society, you have likely directly or indirectly encountered a bully or, more recently, a cyberbully.  Hopefully, you did the right thing; you intervened, reported the conduct, sought assistance, or took other appropriate actions to address the bullying behavior.  There are a myriad of important moral and ethical…Continue Reading

Categories: Educational Issues, Legal Issues

Can an employer force you to give them your social networking password?

For years, we’ve been warning kids to be careful about what they post on Facebook or My Space, in part because prospective employers, college admission officers, and others were looking.  Your Facebook might enhance your reputation and get you that job or it might raise alarms and prevent you from attending the college of your…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues, Social Networking

Watch Your Kids Online; You Might Pay For It–Literally

Mobile device users with an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad are sometimes hit with a surprise on their credit card bill. In-app purchases can occur without warning. Can you imagine receiving a credit card bill for more than $2,000 and realize it was for free apps on your child’s device? In fact, that is what…Continue Reading

Categories: Cell Phone, Legal Issues, Online Security, Parenting

Education and E-rate: Complying with the FCC’s July 2012 Certification Requirements

On August 11, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released and later amended a Report and Order regarding E-rate funds which required in part that, “Beginning July 1, 2012, schools’ Internet safety policies must provide for educating minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms…Continue Reading

Categories: Educational Issues, Legal Issues

Social Media in the Classroom: The Digital Safety Debate (Part 2 of 3)

This three part series tackles the question: How do teachers and administrators navigate the litigious, educational and social issues that new media brings to the classroom? This second installment focuses on social media’s place in the school—is it teacher’s pet or troublemaker? (Read Part 1 here). Imagine a stranger walking up to you, placing a…Continue Reading

Categories: Educational Issues, Legal Issues, Social Networking

administrators, what if a student impersonated you online?

A January 22, 2012 article in the Fort Wayne, Indiana Journal Gazette inspired me to think about the variety of issues in play when a student uses social media to impersonate a principal or teacher.   As I’ve written in the past, doesn’t it make sense to have an idea of how you would handle something…Continue Reading

Categories: Educational Issues, Legal Issues, Online Security

MY TURN: I don’t want to get a call about your child

As an attorney who works with public entities (school districts, cities, etc.), I get calls all the time from clients asking for input on how to respond to cyberbullying or sexting by students. Oftentimes, where an incident involves misconduct with technology, we collectively wonder aloud in these conversations why the involved students’ parents did not…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues, Parenting

My View: No surprises with digital devices at school

With students back from the holidays, many new digital devices are in the halls at school. Research from Flurry shows that 6.8 million Android and iOS devices were activated on Christmas Day alone, along with 242 million apps downloaded. Teens wielding new iPads, smartphones and e-readers are discovering the ins and outs of being connected…Continue Reading

Categories: Digital Citizenship, Educational Issues, Legal Issues

Our eyes may be open — but what about our minds?

Almost every state in the U.S. has now passed laws impacting how schools deal with harassment, intimidation or bullying in public schools among students. Faced with these new laws and increased pressure in their respective communities, many schools are quick to adopt zero, or very low, tolerance policies for conduct occurring off-campus – conduct usually…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues

Social media in the classroom? Not a Discussion for the Emotional

Should educators use social media in the classoom? In my home state of Missouri this has been a highly charged debate.  The intention of this article isn’t to prove that either side is right or wrong, but is rather to have a discussion around what may work best for your particular school or community. I…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues, Social Networking

Sharing or Stealing

Congress is debating the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill intended help fight the illegal online sharing of copyrighted content. A similar bill, the Protect IP Act has been introduced in the Senate. Both bills give law enforcement and owners of intellectual property new tools to go after illegal file sharing and the websites…Continue Reading

Categories: Digital Citizenship, Educational Issues, Legal Issues

New Cyber-bullying laws going into effect January 1, 2012

With the explosion of social media, teenagers have been handed immediate access to an open cyber-battlefield. Too many negative comments are blasted online with a high possibility of being seen by many. During my generation we hung out at the mall, rode bikes to the skate-park or school to explore. We socialized outside, played outside,…Continue Reading

Categories: Educational Issues, Legal Issues

Social Media in the Classroom: The Digital Safety Debate (Part 1 of 3)

This three part series tackles the question: How do teachers and administrators navigate the litigious, educational and social issues that new media brings to the classroom? This first installment focuses on what schools don’t do that gets them into legal trouble and what they can do to keep out of it. If I may take…Continue Reading

Categories: Educational Issues, Legal Issues, Social Networking

Notes from a School Investigator:Maintaining Boundaries with Students as Social Media Laws Develop

While most students were vacationing over the summer, Missouri teachers and the State were wrestling with Senate Bill 54, aimed at protecting children from teacher sexual abuse.  By the time students began returning to school, a Missouri Circuit Court had weighed in and enjoined, based on free speech concerns, that portion of SB 54 which…Continue Reading

Categories: Educational Issues, Legal Issues

Practical Social Networking Advice for Teachers

Teaching is one of the noblest professions, as well as one of the most difficult. In addition to low pay and long hours, teachers must often work with overcrowded classrooms and under-funded school programs. Besides these practical concerns, modern teachers must also now worry about the internet and how they look online – to students,…Continue Reading

Categories: Educational Issues, Legal Issues, Social Networking


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Report and Order on August 11, 2011 adding the statutory language to existing Commission Rules implementing the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) for schools.  The Order is significant in that it clarifies a variety of requirements which a school must provide for the education of minors about appropriate…Continue Reading

Categories: Educational Issues, Legal Issues


The State of Missouri’s recent passage of a law limiting personal access to students by teaching staff via social media is yet another piece of evidence supporting the need for schools to employ supervised forms of social media. The issue driving these new laws is not fear of meaningful staff interaction with students, but the…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues

iKeepSafe and Fuzebox Host Congress Members to Discuss Cyberbullying

In today’s world, cruelty can be virally pushed to thousands of people in seconds so that a minor disagreement can quickly become mob rule in the eyes of the victim. This new reality requires open, honest discussion and new, inclusive approaches for a modern world. For this reason, iKeepSafe—in partnership with Fuzebox—is inviting all members…Continue Reading

Categories: iKeepSafe News, Legal Issues, Videos

Law Enforcement’s Response

By Kirk Marlowe Captain Marlowe is a 23 year veteran of the Virginia State Police, and currently serves as the commander of the Department’s High-Tech Crimes Division and the 43 agency, Northern Virginia/ District of Columbia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. His post graduate studies include a Masters of Arts in Security Studies –…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues

Common Sense Media Launches New Website

By Emily Ensign Emily Ensign is a regular blogger for theInternet Keep Safe Coalition, an organization that gives parents, educators, and policymakers the information and tools that empower them to teach children the safe and healthy use of technology and the Internet. Considering how often we are all online—and how much information we share on…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues

Sexting: Making the Punishment Fit the Crime

Should teens be charged with child pornography if prosecuted for sexting? By Frank Gallagher Frank Gallagher is Executive Director of Cable in the Classroom (CIC).  He is a specialist in the areas of media and information literacy, Internet safety, media education, and the impact of media on children and speaks frequently on those topics. He…Continue Reading

Categories: Cell Phone, Legal Issues

New Law in California Makes Online Impersonation Illegal

  Illegal to Impersonate Others Online On Saturday, January 1, 2011, a law, which makes online or electronic impersonation a misdemeanor crime punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail, was passed in California. We are optimistic that this bill, known as SB-1411, will indeed make online reputation management more effective.…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues, Privacy

Massachusetts Leading the Pack for Anti-bullying

The Boston Globe ran an article on January 5, 2011 praising Massachusetts for 99 % of its schools complying with their new state anti-bullying law. This law mandated schools to file bullying prevention plans by December 31, 2010. About two weeks ago only 60 percent had responded, but as the deadline approached more and more…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues

FCC Holds Generation Mobile Forum in Washington D.C.

Photo credit: Washington Post iKeepSafe President Participates | Search #GenMobile on Twitter for Forum Recap  iKeepSafe President Marsali Hancock participated in the Federal Communications Commission’s much anticipated Generation Mobile forum today in Washington D.C. This forum, which also featured representatives from Facebook, Sprint, the Pew Research Center and other organizations, brought together teens, parents, educators…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues

NY Senator Schumer Asks FTC to Issue Privacy Guidelines for SNS

Photo courtesy Know How to Manage Your Privacy Settings On Sunday U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D), New York, asked the Federal Trade Commission to issue guidelines about how social networking sites can use and distribute information submitted by online users (WABC TV, New York). Much of the hubbub can be attributed to the adjustments…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues, Privacy

iKeepSafe Files Comments with FCC on Digital Citizenship

Photo credit: Jennie Faber We Can Encourage Parents to Reinforce Media Literacy Messages at Home iKeepSafe filed comments Wednesday on the Federal Communications Commission’s Notice of Inquiry in the Matter of Empowering Parents and Protecting Children in an Evolving Media Landscape. Our comments explain there are several ways to empower parents to help children take…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues

Cyberbullying: When Should You Take Legal Action?

Parents Should Educate Kids, Monitor Their Online Presence and Leverage Proactive Reputation Management Tools Guest post by Noah Lang of ReputationDefender, Inc. While many parents consider cyberbullies a less serious online threat to their kids than sexual predators, cyberbullying can have a negative affect on your kids’ online and offline development, and parents should remain…Continue Reading

Categories: Cyberbullying, Legal Issues

Kentucky House Bill Seeks to Lessen Penalty for Sexting by Minors

What is the Appropriate Punishment? Let us Know What You Think How serious is too serious when it comes to punishing the act of sexting by minors? The Bowling Green Daily News recently reported that Kentucky state representative Jody, Richards, D-Bowling Green, has introduced House Bill 57—legislation that would lessen the punishment meted out for…Continue Reading

Categories: Cell Phone, Legal Issues

Are you aware of what your child is downloading? Music Labels Win $2 Million Dollars in Peer-to-Peer Illegal File Sharing Case

Children as Young as Fourth Grade Illegally Downloading Music Thursday, a federal court in Minneapolis awarded the Universal Music Group $1.92 million dollars. The jury found Jammie Thomas-Rasset, a woman in her early thirties, liable for 24 songs she uploaded onto the Kazaa file sharing site. She has to pay $80,000 per song. The New…Continue Reading

Categories: Legal Issues

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