Students Outraged at Securly Surveillance Updates


Arrowhead students fight back with an online petition.

On December 12, Arrowhead students, staff, and parents received more information regarding the school’s switch from its previous security providers to Securly. An email was sent out to the staff, students, and students’ parents, further updating them with more information on the new security network.

According to Donna Smith, the Director of Library Media and Technology at Arrowhead, the school has been working with engineers to mold Securly to Arrowhead’s needs. Smith sent out emails that detailed changes in the program from the information that  had been originally communicated.

The email sent to students reads, “Please consult our Arrowhead WiFi Access Page for the most up-to-date and accurate information.”

Smith says many students had previously been misinformed by a petition that circulated around the school. The petition gave information about Securly that was not true and didn’t pertain to how Arrowhead will be using the program.

The petition reads, “This system scans social media posts and will be alerted for any posts relating drugs, profanity, cyber bullying, threats, and depression/suicide. The website says that 71% of flagged activity was made on twitter and 26% of flagged activity was made on Facebook messenger, leaving the other 3% from other social media platforms. This shows that the new Wifi isn’t just blocking sites, they are scanning messages sent between people and seeing posts people make on Instagram.”

Smith says that information is false. “The petition is filled with inaccurate information, which disappoints me,” she says. “I am afraid students were unaware that they were being filtered and downloading a security certificate has made them aware of that fact.”

The way the school is using Securly, the only information that can be seen is URLs and search terms. For more information on how Arrowhead is using Securly, click here.

An email from Smith was also sent out to staff. “The engineer provided two changes to what we had originally communicated. The first change involved the security certificate. Students who do not download the certificate will still be able to access the Arrowhead wireless Internet. According to the engineer, users without the certificate will get a your-connection-is-not-private message when going to certain websites.”

This information is different from what the student body was originally led to believe.

A student who has chosen to remain anonymous says, “Everyone I talked to was mad because they thought they needed the certificate or they couldn’t access the wifi. Even my homeroom teacher told us that.”

This student says he feels as though this is a breach of trust, and he is angry because of the misleading information the student body was fed.

“They are changing things up after we already downloaded the certificate onto our computers, so we didn’t even really know what we were getting into,” says an anonymous student.

The staff’s Securly email also included this information: “The second change to what we had communicated is that Securly DOES monitor social media posts created ONLY WHILE CONNECTED TO ARROWHEAD INTERNET or on a Chromebook logged in to an Arrowhead account.  Securly cannot see all of a student’s social media, only content posted while on our network. We do not monitor or filter while not on an Arrowhead network.”

The anonymous student says he’s heard many people talking about how much they hate the social media monitoring that will come along with Securly.

“First of all, it won’t do anything because if people are dumb enough to post stuff about drugs or suicide on the school wifi, it’s kind of like natural selection. Students are smarter than Arrowhead seems to think,” says the anonymous student.