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The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The dangers of screen mirroring in schools

Looking into the unspoken side of anti-cheat service providers Securly and Blocksi
Image shows the potential dangers of spyware programs on computers.

Millard West and Millard South have begun to pilot two screen mirroring programs: Securly and Blocksi. These programs intend to keep students on task and help eliminate cheating in the classroom.

While the idea is well-intentioned, a look deeper into the service providers leaves many questions to be answered. 

It goes without saying that there will always be sensitive information on school laptops. Addresses, phone numbers, names, emails and passwords are all examples of information that can be found on a student laptop in just a few clicks. For many students, important forms like the FAFSA containing information such as social security numbers were completed using their school laptop.

This begs the question: who can see what and when? The answers are unclear, and the lines are immensely blurred. In the case of Securly, a recently filed lawsuit in California alleges that they crossed that line. Per Bloomberg Law, two parents in California are suing surveillance software provider Securly for collecting students’ personal information and selling it to third parties. The total damages sought are well over $5 million.

Common Sense Media rates Securly at 65% in its privacy evaluation, and urges potential users to proceed with caution. Securly’s policies are clear that the service employs reasonable security measures to protect user data, but are are not clear how the service may utilize encryption to protect data in transit or at rest according to the report by CSM. Again, the lines are blurred, and it seems that the company is content with that being the case.

The platform even has the ability to access student’s computers according to the Securly company website. The service provider does acknowledge the possibility of privacy issues that this type of surveillance can cause but the thought is daunting nonetheless. 


The fight against school spyware is not a new one, either. One petition garnered more than one thousand signatures in protest of the platform Blocksi. Many students also prefer to use their personal laptops at school in favor of better performance. However, they are no longer able to do this with the addition of these services. Public opinion should certainly be gathered before implementing a product like this in our schools.

Privacy issues aside, the potential price tag for each service is daunting, to say the least. Per Genesis Technologies, the cost for a school of 2800 could be upwards of $84,000. This investment would be greatly substantial and would undoubtedly take away funds from other areas of need within the school.

Despite many areas of concern, the platforms do have the ability to positively impact classrooms, promoting engagement and honesty for students. The issue of academic dishonesty is real, and it is becoming ever more prevalent with AI tools such as ChatGPT being used to produce responses to questions on tests, classwork and homework. These products will certainly put a buffer on these methods of cheating.

Per the Millard technology department, the Terms of Service for every software and website are evaluated to ensure they do not violate CEPA, COPPA and FERPA laws. For Securly and Blocksi, a committee representing district administrators, building administrators and the technology department participated in demonstrations by four different vendors. The top two were selected for their ease of use.

However, as famous whistleblower Edward Snowden said, “Arguing that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”

In an America where information security is of paramount concern, yet security breaches are at an all-time high. Students and families mustn’t be given another aspect of their online lives into the hands of others, as the ramifications are undeniably dangerous.

In the District’s pursuit of student safety, it is without doubt that unless beyond all doubt the two platforms Blocksi and Securly are completely safe and have no security issues whatsoever, they should not be implemented into Millard schools today. 


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About the Contributor
Blake Kahler
Blake Kahler, Staff Reporter
Blake is a senior at Millard West and this is his first year on staff. He enjoys commentating and has been an active contributor to the Millard West STRIV program throughout his high school career. Outside of journalism, Blake is a member of the drumline and is a Utah Jazz content creator on YouTube.

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    Daniel ChestermanMay 14, 2024 at 12:25 pm

    STUDENTS DON’T OWN THESE LAPTOPS. Doesn’t anybody understand that? Saying that it’s an invasion of policy is invalid. These laptops are not for gaming or personal time, they are for completing assignments and getting work done.