All posts by thefcbagpiper

The mission of the Bagpiper is to provide an open forum for the unrestricted exchange of ideas and opinions and to ethically report factual school, local, and world news to the high school community while objectively explaining the meaning and significance of the news to better educate the reader, and entertain the readers using acceptable journalistic devices.

Privacy disappears in the virtual age

Art by Sam Haney

Story by Audrey Boyd

With the rapid growth of eLearning and the continual demands to self-isolate, the use of technology to work from home and communicate with loved ones has seen a major spike within the last few months. On April 9, Android Central reported that Google Classroom users have doubled, reaching 100 million as more schools across the globe close for the remaining year.

FC students and staff have had first-hand experience with this situation since April 2, when Governor Eric Holcomb announced that all Indiana schools will be closed for the rest of the school year. The revelation came merely one day after the first day of FC’s online learning.

Coincidentally, the news broke that Google was being sued for allegedly collecting student biometric data on April 6, only days later.

The lawsuit, filed by two anonymous Illinois students through their father, Clinton Farwell, states, “Google has complete control over the data collection, use, and retention practices of the ‘G Suite for Education’ service, including the biometric data and other personally identifying information collected through the use of the service…” These services include Gmail, Google Classroom, Google Docs, Chromebooks, and many more.

The lawsuit argues that Google uses this control “…not only to secretly and unlawfully monitor and profile children, but to do so without the knowledge or consent of those children’s parents.”

“The data collection would likely violate Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, or BIPA, which regulates facial recognition, fingerprinting and other biometric technologies in the state,” news website CNET states in an article titled “Two children sue Google for allegedly collecting students’ biometric data.” It continues to say, “The practice would also likely run afoul of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, a federal law that requires sites to get parental consent when collecting personal information from users who are under 13 years old.”

Google has faced legal trouble for similar breaches of privacy in the past. A lawsuit filed on February 20 by New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas focused on the alleged collection of students’ contacts, voice recordings, search history, location, and passwords. These accusations extend to YouTube as well, another company owned by Google.

It is not uncommon for major companies to take advantage of their consumers. Many advertisers track a user’s activity online to manipulate them into buying their products through targeted advertising. Google’s incognito mode can still keep records of your browsing history and link them to your identity. Facebook has been fined for misuse of facial recognition and selling private user data to outside companies. Amazon admitted to using the Amazon Alexa to record conversations and keep them forever, unless the user manually deletes them– however, even if the audio copy is removed, Amazon says they may still keep a record of Alexa’s response.

In this digital age, the privacy of the public has become virtually nonexistent. We no longer have the right to travel without being tracked, to research without being recorded, to buy without being sold, or to learn without being scanned. Our lives are a never ending film in a world of technology.

There are some options to protect your information. One example is installing a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, which will hide your location by redirecting internet traffic and can encrypt your information from possible interceptors.

However, this means that the VPN now has your information, and it cannot be guaranteed that they will not use it for the same purposes as the others. In 2015, CNET reported, “A group of coders and security researchers has claimed that one of the world’s most popular free VPN services [Hola] is an insecure network that has been on-selling users’ bandwidth and opening up their devices, giving “anybody” easy access,” in an article titled “Adios, Hola: Researchers say it’s time to nix the ‘poorly concealed’ service.” 

The lawsuit claims that Hola is vulnerable enough to still allow third parties to “take over your entire computer, without you even knowing.”

“Furthermore,” says CNET, “[the group] alleges that Hola runs a secondary business, known as Luminati, which on-sells Hola users’ bandwidth for up to $20 per GB.”

Even the most basic means of protection cannot guarantee our safety. 

And, despite this awareness, we still continue to browse. We have accepted these conditions, knowing that we are being violated, but our habits never change. How can they? As first-world nations become entirely consumed by technology, it leaves us with little other choice.

We have a right to our privacy, and the denial of such is unethical. We should not have to fear that their private conversations are being recorded and stored away. We should not have to fear being tracked, scanned, or monitored at any given time.

Laws to protect these rights can be violated. We are no longer in control of ourselves, and we have no power to change it.

A Baddude’s Journal senior athlete spotlight: Talon Hutto

Photo by Grace Allen

Story by J.D. McKay

Last season, boys’ track and field lost sectionals for the first time in nearly two decades. Senior Talon Hutto was planning on avenging that title this year. 

“I’m most disappointed that I won’t be able to win the sectional title that we lost last year,” he said. 

Hutto feels this way because he has been working towards the goal of a sectional championship for several years. 

“I started running when I was in 7th grade,” said Hutto. “We moved to Indiana and I wanted to get involved in something.”

Since Hutto started, he has been working hard to be a talented runner. 

“Hard work is a big factor in how successful I was,” he said. “I probably practice like eight hours a week.” 

After working hard to be successful, team leadership is an obvious next step. 

“I think I would have been a leader on the team this year,” said Hutto. 

Earlier I said Hutto had planned on winning the team sectional championship this year. But he also had important individual goals, too.

“One of my goals was to break the 300-meter hurdles record.” 

Hutto lost his senior year, so he is not ready for his career to be over. 

“I want to run track in college,” he said. “I think it would let me take my athleticism to the next level.”

Hutto has had a lot of success and has the chance to run at the next level because of the best advice he has been given about running. 

He said, “The best advice I’ve gotten about track is showing emotion and running don’t mix.”

Lost in the Archive – Football

FC faculty share stories from quarantine

Editor’s Note: Journalism I students reached out to FC teachers and staff to see how they were adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine. One pattern emerged – they were all trying to find the positive and unite others, especially through their use of technology and advice for their students. These are some of their stories. 

Melissa Eldridge

School nurse

by Hallie Funk

Just because school doors are closed doesn’t mean the learning has to stop — even for teachers. FC’s school nurse, Melissa Eldridge, isn’t letting quarantine hold her back, either. She’s taking online courses and preparing for the next school year. She’s also using this time to make a positive difference. 

“I work in mental health facilities on the weekend. I’m trying to do my part like everyone else and keep healthy.” 

However, even during a time like this, she is still available for students and their families. 

“It wasn’t until all of this happened that I realized how much of my life involved going out and interacting with other people and how important that is,” she said. 

She wants students to know that we’re all in this together. Some days are hard, but there is always something to be thankful for.

 “I’m grateful for the slow down and that I get to be at home.” She is using this time to explore new interests, such as reading and gardening. “I usually don’t like reading because I don’t have time to sit still and enjoy it.” 

Eldridge said that the school and community will get through this time and will be back at school together. “Maybe we won’t take the ‘typical school day’ for granted anymore…I know I won’t!”

 

Keightley Waiz

English teacher

by Zoe Nowling

FC teachers have gone above and beyond, but especially English teacher Keightley Waiz. Through this crazy time, she is reminding her students that they all will get through this. She is making her kids a priority and making it known that she is here for them. 

One of Waiz’s strategies is posting weekly videos to her Google Classroom. Her main goal with these videos is to keep in touch with her students, and she is always asking her students how they are doing during those videos. ”My students are at the top of my priority list,” she said. 

Another way that she unites people is by communicating and sharing strategies with her fellow FC teachers; she is helping and learning from them during this time as well.

”One of the silver linings in all of this has been seeing the teachers, especially in the English Department, band together.”

Waiz suggests developing a daily routine to make the days in quarantine more productive and healthy.

“I’ve learned that establishing a routine is so very crucial to having a healthy mental state. I’m still up at 6:30 every morning, and I make to-do lists every day to see what needs to get done,” she said.

Her key to uniting others is to first help herself and then make sure she is ready to help others that need her. She just wants to let others know she is here for them during this time.

 

Donnie Grumble

Coach and physical conditioning teacher

By Sophia Wood

“These are possibly some of the most unpredictable days of our lifetime.” 

This is a quote by Coach Donnie Gumble, the advanced physical conditioning teacher at FC. It is very noticeable that we are all going through tough times while this pandemic is happening. Coach Gumble is helping this get easier by providing encouraging tips and even showing students what he is doing daily. 

Gumble’s first tip that has helped his students is to have a daily schedule.  

“I wake up between 6-7 a.m. whenever the kids wake up, have coffee and breakfast with the family. During breakfast my wife and I set our daily schedule that includes time for work, activities with the kids, nap time, workouts, errands or chores, dinner… The kids are in bed by 8 p.m. and I’m usually asleep between 10-11p.m.” 

Gumble’s schedule reveals that keeping a routine every day can make this painless and a whole lot easier.

 “Some student-athletes have reached out to me recently expressing a lack of motivation for training, so I try to be encouraging and empathetic about those situations,”  he said.

He has been posting daily at-home workouts for the student athletes and he is also being very understanding with his students because he knows that e-learning is new to everyone. 

This is a huge turning point in society. No one knows yet exactly what is going to happen, but faculty and students are trying to stick together to make it easier. 

Gumble said, “It’s not about what happens to us. It’s about how we respond. We can’t control this situation, but we can control ourselves. Adversity creates opportunity, and the choice you have to make is what your discomfort will produce: upward growth or downward spiral.” 

 

Haley Schroeder

English teacher

By Madelyn Smith

During this tough time in the world, it may be difficult to spread positivity and put on a brave face, but that’s just what English teacher Haley Schroeder has done. The days bring many challenges and successes, but Schroeder seems to be doing quite well, using her second job at 812 Pizza Co. as a way to get out sometimes. 

“It has been difficult to adjust. I’m still working at 812. I’m delivering pizzas, so it’s nice to get out of the house,” she said.

As for the adjustment from school to home, Schroeder misses the people she enjoyed seeing every day, but does her best to stay in touch and healthy. 

“I miss my kids so much. I’m coping with it by trying to keep in touch and by scheduling times for us to try to meet via video chat and catch up. I also miss my coworkers.”

Schroeder certainly hasn’t lost her positive mindset during this time in quarantine. She has a plan to stay productive in the midst of the chaos. “I just keep telling myself that everyone is in this together. Plus, I get plenty of sleep every day.” 

Keeping others safe is one of Schroeder’s main goals, she has been staying away from her high-risk grandparents and delivering food to others in order to aid her family and community.

This event and new adjustments are always going to be hard at first, but Schroeder said, “Continue to stay home. Be thankful for the time that you have with your family and enjoy every second that you have with them. This virus has shown that it can be taken from you in an instant.”