Campus Reform | EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Students call out college's 'creepy' new tracking technology

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Students call out college's 'creepy' new tracking technology

Syracuse Campus Correspondent Justine Brooke Murray asked students for their thoughts on the app and whether it was "creepy" that the university can track their locations.

Syracuse University is tracking students’ locations through an app called SpotterEDU.

Syracuse University is one of many colleges tracking students’ locations through an app called SpotterEDU. 

Professors are using this app to reinforce their class attendance policy by determining when students are present. According to SpotterEDU, it works by students phones with the downloaded app communicating with pre-installed devices inside the classroom in which they are supposed to be for class. The company says it does not track students outside of classrooms. 

One of these professors using the app, Jeff Rubin, teaches in the university’s Information Technology Services department and assured that his students can choose to “opt-out” of using the app. But in an interview with the campus newspaper, Rubin said that the university can still track students’ locations anytime, even without the app. 

New York Campus Correspondent Justine Brooke Murray asked Syracuse University students what their stance was on professors using the app, and whether or not they thought it was intrusive that the college can track their locations. 

Most students agreed that it's "creepy" that the college can track where they are through their phones.

[RELATED: Mizzou students required to install location tracking app so colleges can ‘pinpoint’ them]


“I just don’t like being on surveillance 24/7,” one student said. 

“I wouldn’t like them [the university]  knowing where I am at all times,” another student said. “Especially if they’re my professors, I feel like they don’t need to know.” A student next to her added, “I understand for attendance purposes, like during class times, but not all the time.”

[Related: Prof taps into students’ cell phone GPS to take attendance]

Other students shared similar feelings of the app:

“My mom follows me, but that’s my mom. If it’s a professor I barely talk to, I think that’s weird."

“My parents don’t even have my location. We’re adults now, and if you want to know our attendance, just email us.” 

Some students did not find as much of a problem with the university tracking their locations but were still skeptical.

“I constantly use ‘Find My Friends’ to see where my friends are at,” admitted one student. “It seems like an intriguing process for attendance.”  

“I think our generation is a little more apathetic toward privacy,” said another student, but he then called it “a little bit of an intrusion.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Justine_Brooke