G Suite Quarantine Alerts: A Lot Can Happen In 60 Minutes

I’ve written in the past about the risks involved with using Google’s compliance rules as a measure for student safety and protection. G Suite (formerly Google Apps) for Education provides administrators with the ability to quarantine messages that use problematic keywords. Administrators now have the option to receive notifications hourly for mail quarantines when they occur.

But a lot can happen in 60 minutes.

My concern for schools and districts that attempt to leverage Google’s compliance rules for early warning detection of time-sensitive situations (including intentions of suicide and mass violence) is that 60 minutes is not nearly enough time, especially when the individuals in charge of the quarantined messages tend to have a large number of other responsibilities and likely don’t  have time to check it on a regular basis.

We have two answers:

First, our technology prioritizes queued content based on our past findings. If specific terms or phrases historically have resulted in time-sensitive threats, they are given priority, so that they’re looked at even sooner. A message that urgently needs attention can easily be overlooked in quarantine with several messages.

Second, Gaggle instantaneously places suspicious messages in a queue for review by a trained Gaggle Safety Representative. Our team reviews content 24/7/365. A technology director needs to attend meetings, sleep at night and perform many other responsibilities, while asking a teacher to monitor a mail quarantine is an even worse idea.

Based on data from the 2015-16 school year, less than 0.01% (1 in 10,000) of messages quarantined for the word “suicide” will actually involve students considering self-harm. Other instances include research projects, assignments and use in casual conversation. The task of reviewing email quarantines is time-consuming, tedious and overwhelming.

The responsibility to review every potentially harmful message is not something anyone at your school or district should have to worry about. Gaggle’s trained professionals alert you to the situations that need attention, so everyone inside your school or district can instead focus on doing their jobs.

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