Are Parents or Hackers Watching Teens?


More and more teens are ignoring parents because of smart phones

Early Sunday morning it was released that the app TeenSafe held crucial information such as texts and photos as well as Apple ID’s and passwords in unencrypted servers in plain-text files. Plain-text files are simply like the notes in one’s phone or words on a word document where anyone that can read, copy, or scan has access to all of the information. Even more heinous, even the servers that store North Point’s saved information require a username and password from every user including teachers and principals and are moderately encrypted. Unencrypted servers mean anyone with menial hacking ability and knowledge of IP computer science has access to all stored information.

Facebook has recently been in hot water for selling encrypted user data to advertising agencies and possibly political lobbyists. Facebook shows a certain level of evil that demonstrates the general stupidity of TeenSafe as a whole. At least Facebook is releasing our information for profit, TeenSafe is releasing our information as consumers out of pure lack of intelligence. Junior Jason Gale joked, “Do you get more angry with the school bully that steals your lunch money, or the dumb kid that snatched yours on accident and won’t give it back?” A team of SysAdmins costs less than the base rate for insurance of an app this size. SysAdmins are Systems Administrators who are responsible for the configuration and operation of computer systems, especially multi-user computers such as servers. Anyone with a computer science degree would’ve surely warned against this move, which begs the question, was this a move based on cost alone?

Senior Kinsey Polk wagers that although it isn’t the consumer’s fault that we’re exploited, we should be careful these days, saying, “Privacy on the internet is a big issue these days. People don’t understand the level of information they give up,” even claiming that parents and consumers at large should do a better job looking into anything associated with themselves these days by adding, “They don’t realize because they’re uneducated. I’m certain no parent would’ve signed themselves and their children up for this app if they realized the consequences of unprotected servers…” Many agree that there is no reconciliation for TeenSafe for a blunder of this size, but it is an important case study into how much a consumer is willingly releasing without their knowledge.

Teens may have gotten off once again with their privacy intact, but they stand one good encryption away from total “overwatch” once again. Privacy on the internet is in the consumer’s hands at this point so it is important to educate oneself on what data to give to apps and what apps are secured versus unsecured.