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The Shadow Education Secretary wants to make teachers more vulnerable

The Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner MP (Lab), has called for a ban on anonymous online accounts.

The education spokesperson also called for social media companies to ban anonymous accounts, complaining at a fringe event organised by the Guardian in Liverpool that most of the people that abused her online did so without using their real names.

Rayner said that social media firms should take greater responsibility for their users and complained in particular that Facebook seemed to have indicated that politicians should accept a higher level of abuse.

When asked what she thought about social media, Rayner said: “One of the first things they should do is stop anonymous accounts. Most people who send me abuse me do so from anonymous accounts and wouldn’t dream of doing it in their own name.”

Rayner conceded that using real names would not stop abuse but “it would certainly help a little bit. I think they should do more, they do have a responsibility for online”.

As I mentioned earlier, Angela Rayner is the Shadow Education Secretary. That ought to mean that she is aware that teachers, like MPs, are often subject to harassment. The Times Educational Supplement had an article on that very subject just a few days ago: “Why your social account is not as private as you think”. It began:

The teacher’s Facebook account was set to private. She was certain of that. Yet, in the past week, she had received four friend requests from former pupils. She could not work out how they had found her.

So, as I am a researcher at the Greater Manchester Police – and her friend – she asked me to take a look. Within 10 minutes, I had not just found her, but I also had her full name, her partner’s name, the school she worked at, the name of one of her children and multiple images of the street she lives on.

The writer, Chris Glover, proceeded to give ten tips that teachers should employ to protect themselves: 1. Keep accounts separate. 2. Vary usernames. 3. Check posts about you. 4. Beware of public posts. 5. Review privacy settings. 6. Don’t follow your school account. 7. Avoid using your real name. 8. Change the friends-list setting. 9. Switch off location. 10. Delete dormant accounts.

Following the above advice should help ensure that teachers can enjoy participating in life online while minimising the very real risk of being tracked down by former or current pupils bearing a grudge, or simply by people whom it is best to keep at arms length for professional or safeguarding reasons.

Until a Labour government gets in and makes Nos. (2) and (7) illegal outright, and demands that all of your personal details are held in one place by a social media company so as to be conveniently available for hackers and identity thieves.

4 comments to The Shadow Education Secretary wants to make teachers more vulnerable

  • JadedLibertarian

    The shadow education secretary is a high school dropout with no qualifications at all. In less surreal times, one would have been tempted to conclude that Labour were taking the piss by appointing her.

  • Rob

    I’m sure Labour would make exceptions for worthy causes, e.g. unionised labour who give money to the Labour Party, so teachers can relax.

  • llamas

    Experience shows that, whenever a policy or system like this is legislated which turns out to have negative effects for the welfare of the people on whom it is imposed, exceptions, exemptions and special privileges are immediately created – for the ruling class and their favoured supporters.

    For example, California law requires that vehicle registration data be made public – if you like, you can look up the registration details of any California license plate. The privacy and security concerns that a person might have about this are self-evident.

    Except for the following people – some 1.5 million persons in total – whose details are in a ‘confidential’ database that’s not available to the public – for their safety and security, it is alleged. The fact that it renders them more-or-less immune from a large range of traffic enforcement actions is, of course, purely coincidental.

    California attorney general
    State public defender
    State legislators
    Judges and court commissioners
    County district attorneys
    County public defenders
    Attorneys working for the state Justice Department, the office of the state public defender, or a county district attorney or public defender
    Active or retired peace officers
    Spouses and children of any of the above
    City attorneys and any attorney working for a city attorney who submits verification that he or she is routinely in personal contact with persons investigated for, charged with or convicted of crimes
    Nonsworn police dispatchers
    Child abuse investigators or social workers working in child protective services
    Most employees of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Facilities or the Prison Industry Authority
    Nonsworn employees of a city police department; a county sheriff’s office; the California Highway Patrol; a federal, state or local detention facility; or a local juvenile hall, camp, ranch or home, who submits verification that he or she routinely controls or supervises inmates or is required to have a prisoner in his or her care or custody
    County counsels assigned to child abuse cases
    Investigators working for the state Justice Department, a county district attorney or a county public defender
    City council members
    County supervisors
    Federal prosecutors and criminal investigators
    Service rangers working in California
    Active or retired city parking enforcement officers
    Trial court employees
    County psychiatric social workers
    Police or sheriff’s department workers designated by their chief or sheriff as “being in a sensitive position”
    DMV licensing registration examiners
    CHP motor carrier specialists
    Museum security officers and supervising museum security officers
    Spouses or children of any of the above, regardless of where the spouse or child lives
    Surviving spouses or children of peace officers who died in the line of duty, for three years after the officer’s death

    This system has a wonderful added benefit in that, if a person whose vehicle has such a plate is pulled over by an actual, live police officer, that fact is evident to the officer when he queries the plate – thus indicating that this person is ‘one of us’ and therefore (ahem) possibly adjusting the officer’s application of his discretion.

    (The late Steve Jobs was well-known for not having a license plate on his car in California – he found a loophole in CA’s registration law which made this not-unlawful to do. The privacy and security implications of being able to look up any vehicle registration were obvious to him. He was just fortunate-enough to be able to acquire the same enhanced anonymity for himself that 1.5 million other Californians enjoy solely by virtue of being connected with the ruling classes.)

    In just the same way, if this awful woman’s awful suggestion comes to pass, exceptions will immediately be created for her and others of her ilk, based on some spurious allegation that this will enhance their safety and security. You can bet money on it. Anonymously, of course.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Paul Marks

    Why do people not use their real names when writing on the internet? The reason is obvious – FEAR OF BEING PERSECUTED.

    We live in an age when the left (and it nearly always they left) will destroy the life of anyone who expresses opinions they dislike – hound them out of their jobs and-so-on.

    Angela Rayner depicts herself as one of the persecuted – but actually she is one of the PERSECUTORS. Angela Rayner and the rest of the “Legion” (legion of devils) that is the left wants to destroy the life of anyone who expresses opinions she considers “racist”, “sexist” (or whatever) – she (and the rest of the Legion) want to drive dissenters from their jobs and destroy their lives. However, if she does not know who the political dissenters are how can she (and the Legion generally) destroy their lives?

    Therefore Angela Rayner demands that everyone only express opinions under their own names – so that their lives can be destroyed if they express anti leftist opinions. It really is that brutally simple. And it goes back long before the internet – every tyrant has demanded an end to pamphlets under assumed names, and demanded that people only publish their opinions under their own names, so that they CAN BE PUNISHED for expressing opinions the powerful do not like.

    “But Angela Rayner is not on the left of the Labour Party – she is a moderate compared to….”

    Yes indeed – Angela Rayner “just” wants to get people who express opinions she dislikes sacked from their jobs (and so on), the “hard core” left wants such people sent to re-education camps for “diversity training” and….

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