Finding the appropriate balance between privacy and surveillance is a pressing issue that afflicts 21st century society. The arguments for and against data mining are both very valid. In Michael Morris’s article, “Mining Student Data Could Save Lives,” student shootings evidence the demand for widespread student data mining to protect the campus community. Morris says that if universities were to mine and analyze student data, they could screen the analyses to identify suspicious behavior and potential problems. I intend to respond to this essay because as a current college student, the topic of the article is extremely applicable to my life.
I believe that personal experiences shape one’s opinions, and if I had been a victim of the Virginia Tech shooting, then I would be in favor of student data mining. However, I do support personal privacy in this age of continually increased surveillance, so the best solution would be to find a balance that does not compromise total privacy, yet still enhances security.
An interesting aspect of the article is that it does not elaborate on other methods besides data mining in order to identity suspicious behavior and prevent problems. There are ways to recognize early warning signs without sacrificing one’s privacy. Behavioral cues, such as isolating oneself from his or her friends or always being in an angry mood, should hint that something is wrong. If friends, resident advisors, or professors could recognize these clues and get the individual the help that he or she needs, then this could also prevent problems from occurring.
There are many reasons for and against data mining, and I plan to explore these ideas in my essay while determining my opinions on what should be done to solve this controversial problem.