[Freedombox-discuss] School intimidates girl to give up Facebook password

Fifty Four fiftyfour at waldevin.com
Wed Mar 28 07:16:49 UTC 2012

I found the article quite an eye opener and I also found the replies quite
informative about a US citizen rights too and how to protect yourself
against the law.

" One important distinction noted by (ACLU) Nelson: While she believes
demands for a student's Facebook password were a clear Fourth Amendment
violation, there's no constitutional issue raised by a school official
learning about a private communication that's volunteered by another
student. In other words, students' private Facebook chatter is only as
private as the participants make it."
I was surprised to learn that you do not have a legal right to privacy
behind a privacy wall in the US. Presumably, this would be true for
Freedombox users in the US too. I wish the case was against the informant so
that people could better understand/protect their right to privacy. 

I have heard the term protected/private speech, but it must be just an urban
myth and not a legal right to privacy. Obviously, people like me are being
lulled into a false sense of privacy. I did a quick check on privacy and
although there are various laws, Australians do not have a right to privacy
under these conditions either.

I was also surprised to learn that the girl used "her own computer and while
off campus" still didn't offer her any jurisdictional protection from the

Still, I have some suggestions for FBX, but I am not sure if they are

1. The article mentioned that the girl was not protected by Facebooks T&C's
for being force to reveal her password because she was under age. This
comment suggests that if she was of age she could have been protected by
Facebook. By extension, if somebody bought an FBX, could their privacy be
protected from informants by a FreedomBox T&C, i.e. an informant could be

2. Only "registered devices" (digital certificates) can access a FBX
Account, i.e. the student would not be able to access her FBX Account from
the principal's computer. In this case, the student's computer was
off-campus which would have protected the student, since her parents would
never have given the sheriff the right to enter their home without a

3. I do like James poison pill password/cert that would nuke the account
which would be a necessary option if the student's computer were on campus.
It's probably necessary in this age of smartphone kids.

Outside of FBX, I do think it's also important to find out what one can do
under difficult circumstances as suggested by John Gilmore. I have also
learnt that as James said teach your kids to say "I want my Mommy" under
such difficult circumstances.

Thank you all for such an informative thread and all the links springing
from that original article.

- fiftyfour -


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