Privacy, CCTV, and School Surveillance in the Shadow of Imagined Law
50(2) Law and Society Review 415 (2016)
25 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2016 Last revised: 16 Apr 2017
Date Written: January 14, 2016
Our study examines the deployment of CCTV systems in Israeli schools, which is taking place in the shadow of an ambiguous law. Based on semi-structured interviews, the study portrays a picture of partial isomorphism among schools. We frame the findings within institutional theory, which differentiates between external and internal sources of decision-making. We found that most school principals relied on internal sources that were shaped by practical considerations and their perceptions as to security, privacy, and education. The interviews indicate a new source of organizational decision-making: imagined law. The principals wrongly assumed that there is a law that applies; they filled it with internal sources, did not search for professional guidance, and limited the participants in the discussions.
Keywords: privacy, surveillance, technology, school, education, imagined law, ambiguous law, isomorphism
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