Monday, March 24, 2008

Passport privacy, realistic cell phone policies, root beer kegger activism?

News roundup for today...

Now that the three Presidential contenders have had their private passport files compromised, shouldn’t privacy issues find their way onto their priority lists? The recent news stories about how State Department contract employees pried into the Presidential hopefuls’ information not only reminds us about the tenuous relationship between our privacy and government control but it also serves as some high-profile proof that even low-level contract employees can abuse their access to information. Whether their files were searched based on an order from high up or if employees were just satisfying their curiosity, citizens’ private data is at risk. Something that the General Accounting Office reminded a Senate subcommittee last week.

Student Rights
Did you know that the mere possession of a cell phone can get a student expelled? Distracted youth poking out text messages on their cells or having their phones ring in the middle of lectures can certainly be a disruption that warrants restriction, but expulsion for having one on the school premises is draconian and outdated. There is a proposal (to be presented by the citywide Student Senate to the MMSD school board on April 14) to bring the policy to a more modern and moderate level.

Are prevention and outreach programs working to curb juvenile crime? Maybe. New report says juvenile arrest rates have fallen over the past ten years. WSJ has the Wisconsin story.

Angry about your school’s policy on punishing underage drinking? Throw a (root)beer kegger and get busted by the police. Check out this story about a Wausau-area prank. There may be better ways to organize and challenge school rules you don’t agree with, but probably not as tasty. Here is the Wausau Daily Herald story.