Sarah Cassi reports:
A Moravian College student convicted of an armed robbery on campus did not have his constitutional rights violated when police collected his on-campus WiFi connection records without a warrant, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.
In a 5-2 decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court panel said Alkiohn Dunkins relinquished any purported expectation of privacy for his WiFi connection records and did so voluntarily when he agreed to the school’s WiFi usage terms and signed a school computing resources policy.
Read more on Lehigh Valley Live.
I am still working my way through the opinion and concurring and dissenting opinions, but the issues raised in this case are of nationwide concern and deserve serious consideration by the U.S. Department of Education and Congress to redefine or clarify exactly what is an “education record” under FERPA and whether students can be required to waive any rights in order to avail themselves of campus wide internet or other services. It also has significant implications for constitutional protections that would apply to criminal investigations and prosecutions.
There really is a lot here and side-stepping issues by basically saying, “Look, the students were told to read the handbook, the handbook told them that if they opted to automatically connect to campus wifi, they have no expectation of privacy, and the students signed waivers and statements that they understood this” puts a burden on college students that even older adults would have problems with — wading through TOS and really providing free and informed consent.