The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Student online privacy not so private

Changes in campus Wi-Fi policies set for Aug. 1

Yana Kulinich | Staff Writer
[email protected]

City College students are facing a change in policies that will affect their privacy when accessing the Internet through the college’s free Wi-Fi, after Sept. 30.

Should the policy come into effect as planned, each employee and student of the Los Rios Community College District will be required to log in with their student ID number and password in order to use free Wi-Fi services on campus, enabling their internet use to be tracked to some degree.

The changes are raising concerns on campus over student privacy violations.

According to the Los Rios Community College District’s Privacy and Confidentiality Policy and Regulation 8851, students using the district’s computers are “subject to monitoring at any time, consistent with law, with or without notice, at management’s sole discretion” and electronic mail or material may be examined if “the Chancellor determines that examination is necessary.”

The effect of the new policy on email and material accessed on personal laptops used by students on campus is unclear; but LRCCD Regulation 8871 states, “If faculty, staff or students bring personally-owned equipment into the District environment, they will be required to adhere to existing District and college policy.”

Concerns over government monitoring usually relate to individual privacy and violations of the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution. The amendment, in part, reads, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…”

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Mick Holsclaw, associate vice chancellor of information technology for the district, who approved the change in policy, cautioned students that it’s unwise to consider email exchanges private.

“The primary reason for the change is to improve performance for people using the wireless networks,” said Holsclaw.

According to Holsclaw, the improvement will come from the policy change requiring Wi-Fi users to log in to the district’s higher-performance primary network, which requires a username and password to help meet federal law requirements.

Dr. Elaine Ader, dean of the Information Technology Department, doesn’t feel students should be concerned about the district monitoring students.

“Nobody does that unless there’s a specific complaint about activity that is either violating the law or the student code of conduct.” said Ader.

While some students don’t mind if the district monitors their personal email or computer use, other students, like Brandon Russell, are worried their privacy is violated simply due to the possibility the district could access their personal information, regardless of the reason.

“It is an invasion of privacy, just the fact that they can… just dive in and see what you’re doing,” said Russell.

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