School Accused Of Spying On Kids In Their Homes With Spyware That Secretly Activated Webcams

from the horrifying dept

A whole bunch of you are sending in this absolutely horrifying story of a school district outside of Philadelphia that apparently gave its students laptops that included hidden software that allowed district officials to secretly turn on the laptops' webcams and monitor student activities, no matter where they were. This all came to light when a student was disciplined for "improper behavior in his home" with the evidence being a photo of the kid from his laptop webcam. The district is now being sued for this. It's rather stunning that anyone thought this was a good idea. Secretly spying on children in their homes when they have a very real expectation of privacy is downright horrifying. It's not hard to see how this could be abused in very dangerous ways.

Update: Yikes. This may be more common than I thought. Julian Sanchez points us to a recent PBS Frontline episode about technology in schools that shows a school official proudly showing off the ability to spy on kids this way (well, using remote desktop emulation, rather than turning on webcams, but many of the kids seem to use webcams a lot). That part of the video starts at 4:37 and even shows him taking a photo of a girl as she does her hair via the camera:
The school administrator seems to think it's funny to spy on kids this way. Wow.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:14am

    Nice...

    I enjoy how the Boing Boing article included a picture with the all-seeing eye of Horus on the notebook. Given it's links to globalist groups that LOVE surveillance of private citizens, I can't think of a more apt choice....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:17am

    PA is also a two party state. So the people who were secretly recording their students should be getting arrested as well. Hell, even if it was a one party state they should be getting arrested.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:18am

    A police state indeed.

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:24am

    Lower Merion is a very very wealthy area. These parents have the means to sue. I have no doubt that whoever implemented this will be fired.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:25am

    Re: Nice...

    Will someone please think of the children!

     

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    bwp (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:25am

    But they did it ...

    ... to protect the children!

    This would be a great story if the district official that okayed this was a convicted (or even just accused) sex offender.

     

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    Free Capitalist (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:26am

    Re: Nice...

    It's not an exact replica of the Masonic eye... so you've definitely piqued my interest DH. Can you divulge the names of any of these organizations without getting Mike a perma-ban from the heart of the DMCA?

     

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    Sirhc (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:27am

    Re:

    Fired?? Anyone that knew about this should be brought up on criminal charges.

    People call me Paranoid, then I send them things like this and call it intermittent reinforcement.

     

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    Spanky, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:29am

    astonishing

    I don't think teachers were much better at teaching in my day, but there is growing evidence they had more brains back then.

    Government and industry set the example, so why are we now shocked that everyone is doing it? I hate to say it, but I do think privacy is dead.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:33am

    Next time

    Mike ....

    The next time some one says "if you have nothing to hide you shouldnt be concerned about your privacy" point them to this story. Then ask if they want this happening to their kids as they undress, as they hold private conversation with their parents. Yeah this really is a great idea, giving an agency of the government the ability to watch you in private. really you have nothing to be concerned about we wont abuse this ability trust us ...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:33am

    Re: But they did it ...

    Yes, we need to protect the children. We need to protect them from overzealously intrusive government bureaucracies that don't know how to mind their own business.

     

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    R. Miles (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:40am

    Forget the lawsuit, jail these people.

    Wouldn't taking pictures of students undressing constitute child pornography?

    Wow, this news certainly makes me incredibly thankful I don't attend schools now. Metal detectors, fear, and now this.

    If I were a student today, I'd be home-schooled for sure.

     

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    C Schmidt, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:46am

    Other Possibilities

    I believe what they did is wrong but that type of software can be very usefull if a laptop is stolen. Can't really sue the school if you stole the laptop and then had your picture taken by the webcamera. Probably would be better to use a tracking software but if that is a free alternative school are always looking for ways to save money.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:51am

    Re: Other Possibilities

    Dont try to justify what they did.

     

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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:54am

    Instant humiliation

    You know as soon as the students with these laptops heard about this, they immediately started mentally going over all the things they might have done with the laptop open. I know what sort of things I did when I was alone in my room as a teenager, and that would be pretty embarassing to think of the school administrators watching me. I wonder if the lawsuit will include mental anguish damages.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:55am

    Re: Other Possibilities

    then they can just put a gps chip on the laptop for when its stolen, its ridiculous you even try to defend software of that type

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:00pm

    School Accused Of Spying On Kids In Their Homes With Spyware That Secretly Activated Webcams

    I had this technology secretly installed in the spine of my novel that you bought and is over on your bookshelf.

    No laptop required. Please clean your desk. It's a mess.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:01pm

    Even worse: wouldn't the children themselves become sex offenders if they recorded themselves unknowingly?

     

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    TAM Fan, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:06pm

    If you aren't doing anything wrong...

    ... then you should have nothing to worry about. This sounds perfectly reasonable to me: If parents aren't going to watch their children, then someone has to. Otherwise they might end up infringing someone's copyrights.

     

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    Michael Kohne, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:06pm

    I'll be fascinated...

    to see how this plays out. I REALLY have trouble thinking that people in the administration there really knew about this. As I said to my wife, this blows right past 'bad idea' and goes for 'They could arrest me for this!' territory.

    It will be interesting to see who, exactly, thought this was a good plan and what happens to them. I have to say, if the administration did approve this, I can only hope that someone is looking at filing charges - sneaking a camera into every student's home is so far over the line that I don't think it can be ignored.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:09pm

    This was part of the complain PDF:

    1 Should discovery disclose that Defendants are in possession of images constituting child pornography within the meaning of 18 Pa. C.S.A. §6312, et. seq., Plaintiffs will amend this Complaint to assert a cause of action thereunder.

     

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    TSO, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:09pm

    In other news: sales of sticky black tape increased 1000%.

     

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    lavi d (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:10pm

    Amazing

    This all came to light when a student was disciplined for "improper behavior in his home" with the evidence being a photo of the kid from his laptop webcam.

    Just how stupid do you have to be to not realize this would turn very ugly, very fast?

     

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    A Dan (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:11pm

    Re: astonishing

    Teachers are not the same thing as vice principals. I don't know where you went to school or when, but my vice principals didn't teach anything.

     

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    yozoo, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:12pm

    I dont buy it!

    This story cant be accurate. I refuse to believe that anyone who does not see that spying on anyone else (aside from thier own children where people stop being rational) inside thier home would be deemed morally acceptable not to mention legal (dont we have a basic 4th admendment protection from exactly this type of abuse) would have enough education, not to mention the basic political accumen to be running a school system.

    Call me a polly-anna if you wish, but I just dont believe people are that stupid (I know after the election of 2004 that statement got much harder for me, but I still believe it).

     

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    TAM Fan, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Next time

    Yeah this really is a great idea, giving an agency of the government the ability to watch you in private. really you have nothing to be concerned about we wont abuse this ability trust us ...

    The Chief of Police in Houston has stated that he thinks that private homes should have police cameras installed in them to prevent crime. Now wouldn't that make you feel safer?

     

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    RD, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:14pm

    Not necessarily

    "Wouldn't taking pictures of students undressing constitute child pornography?"

    Despite what the fear-mongering media and shrill extreme "Paedo's are EVERYWHERE!" panic mongering that goes on, just having a nude picture of someone underage would not necessarily be considered pornography. Otherwise, we would be locking most parents up who have pics of their 2 year old in the tub. It takes a sexual component of the image to fall into the child porn area. Though, these days, the bar for that standard gets lower and lower all the time.

    This example IS, however, a MASSIVE and illegal invasion of privacy, not to mention it could be construed as borderline paedo behavior.

     

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    aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:14pm

    Not a fan of class action lawsuits

    I'm really not (I believe I mentioned that in the article about Buzz earlier). I don't know that it's the right way to go here either. The suit is against the district, who will pay for it using taxpayer money: i.e. money given to them by the people in the suit. I'd like to see criminal charges, firing, and banning the administration (superintendent, principals, and whoever else involved with the decision of putting them out) from being within 500 yards of a school. I would also like to see the civil suit aimed at these people instead of the school district.

     

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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:16pm

    Re: But they did it ...

    Sorry, the ends don't justify the means. It's wrong. Period.

    They could have saved a human life, and I would still say the person responsible for this program should be fired, sued, and socially exiled.

    Surveillance isn't the answer. In the case of your point: the parents are responsible for providing a safe home and are responsible for keeping sex offenders away from their children. The school officials over-extended their bounds.

     

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    Sirhc (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:17pm

    Re: I dont buy it!

    Really? Even After the ibuprophen in the underwear incident? I think these school admin are getting kind of a god complex.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:18pm

    Re: Re: Nice...

    "Can you divulge the names of any of these organizations without getting Mike a perma-ban from the heart of the DMCA?"

    That use the Eye of Horus? Sure. Like you said, this case wasn't an exact replica, although the singular eye being used to represent pervasive wisdom is commonly associated with the Horus Eye. A REALLY quick history lesson is in order:

    The Eye of Horus traditionally represents the Egyptian/Gnostic/Heretic (depending on who you ask) God Isis. Some will tell you that Horus is actually Ra, or the sun god, but this use of this singular eye actually represents wisdom gained through the congress of Ra/Osiris and Isis. To make this really easy, Ra/Osiris is the sun, and Isis is Venus. In the sky, over a long enough period, Venus makes a crescent shaped track around the sun, which was considered by pagan cults and the Egyptians to be those two gods making love. They also believed that through sex ultimate wisdom and holiness of a man was attained from the keepers of both, which was women. HOrus was the offspring of Isis and Osiris. Hence, his eye represents wisdom attained.

    The effects of this belief can be seen today. That crescent shaped movement around the circular sun is the basis for the devil's horns in more traditional religions, for instance. Also, worship of Ra/Osiris is the reason the Christian sabbath is celebrated on SUNday; it was a concession made by the Romans when spreading Christianity to pagan areas. The Christmas tree is also pyramid shaped, likely another nod to pagan areas near Egypt. The Shekinah, otherwise known as the star signifying the birth of Christ, is actually a recurring event that can be predicted, because it occurs when Venus and Mars rise early in the morning together in the sky once every couple of thousand years or so, creating a visibly bright star in the morning sky. The entire neolithic culture of Scottland worshiped these star gods, and theoretically brought their beliefs to the Middle East long ago.

    In any case, organizations that utilize the Eye of Horus to one degree or another include:

    1. The Freemasons
    2. The United States Govt. (the eye above the pyramid on currency is accepted to be a representation of the Masonic Eye of Horus)
    3. The Rosicrucians
    4. The Illuminati (Weishaupt was obsessed with the occult)
    5. The Order of Nobles and Mystics

    And those are just the ones that specifically use the Horus Eye in their seals or coats of arms (and I certainly didn't list them all). What's more odd is how many corporations use some version of the symbol in their logos (though some of these stray further from the original stylization than others):

    1. Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS)
    2. Criterion Film Distributors
    3. Viewpoint Corp.
    4. British Music Group
    5. The United States Information Awareness Office
    6. Time Warner (2003)
    7. Nat'l Film Board of Canada
    8. America Online (Pyramid and eye)
    9. Fidelity Investments
    10. Toyota

    And there's more. Not that I'm saying that ALL of these companies are somehow involved in some massive conspiracy; that'd be silly. But certainly if you track the stated aims/goals of the Illuminati (which at the very least WERE a very real group, and IMO still are), having a hand in certain companies makes sense. Media, banks, and defense firms are the key ones, along with energy. A quick review of some of the companies on the Countil on Foreign Relations helps, particularly when you realize that the majority of their ownership and/or lending power is created by two or three major banks....

     

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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:18pm

    Re: Forget the lawsuit, jail these people.

    My fiance & I have already decided to do what it takes to get us professionally to a point to be able to home school our kids when we have them. There's no way I'm trusting something so valuable and precious as my (future) children to the government.

     

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    C Schmidt, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re: Other Possibilities

    I am not justifying what they did. It is completely wrong and should never be used in that way. I am just saying that I have seen software that you can put on your laptop that send pictures of when you login and logout so that you can check the pictures if the laptop was stolen and at the time it was free. That was probably the intentions of what it was supposed to be used then it was mis-used like most technologies of this sort. I don't know what size of school it was but small schools don't have a lot of money and using a gps tracking device can be expensive.

     

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    Derek, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:22pm

    What's really scary...

    I'm not one for the "OMG the children, they're special snowflakes!" mentality, but in this case the fact that children are victimized is especially awful. Still, we should recognize that this is an egregious violation regardless of the age of the victims.

    What's really churning in the pit of my stomach, is that there are people at this school, people in charge of education, who felt that this kind of Orwellian nightmare was the right thing to do.

    That attitude makes for a really, really shitty school. And trying so preciously hard to protect (or catch) kids being kids just gives rise to self-centered assholes.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:23pm

    Re: If you aren't doing anything wrong...

    sarcasm mark here highly needed...with you being the #1 fan of TAM - none of us have any clue if youre kidding...

     

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    aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:26pm

    Re: I dont buy it!

    Ok Polly-anna. Hey, you asked for it. I've always believed that people, as a general rule, are complete morons. I'm pleasantly surprised at times but usually I just get to be right.

    Yes, this is EXACTLY the kind of thing the 4th amendment is supposed to protect against. A school district is a government entity (I don't know whether this is a dependent or independent district, but it's true either way). This would be the same as the mayor of a city installing peep-hole cameras in people's houses without telling them.

     

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    A Dan (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:27pm

    Re:

    No. They're being recorded by the school, not doing it themselves, so that would make the people activating the cameras the sex offenders.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:27pm

    I don't see how this genuinely fixes any problem

    This is why I have a post-it note that reads "What's Your Business Impact? Microsoft IT" covering the webcam on my very useful, and very much not-spying-on-me Macbook.

    When I need to do some impacting, I make it a point to use only the oldest, XP SP 1, non-registered, non-genuine Windows 7 in a VM. But if I need do some major impacting, I'll bring out the Vista if you know what I mean. I can impact for about a month, or use IE 6 for about a week before I have to either ask what my business impacting skills are or re-install windows.

     

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    TAM Fan, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Other Possibilities

    I believe what they did is wrong but that type of software can be very usefull if a laptop is stolen.

    I don't see anything wrong at all. It could also be useful to identify some stealing copyrighted material by taking a picture of the actual person using the computer at the time. In fact, I think there should be a law *requiring* such cameras on all computers for just that purpose. No longer could IP thieves claim "it wasn't me" when there there's a picture of them in the act. Of course, the cameras could only be accessed by the RIAA, MPAA or other appropriate industry organization, thus ensuring privacy. I bet we could even get that included in ACTA so that it applies worldwide.

     

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    Shawn Tutt (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Forget the lawsuit, jail these people.

    This is one of the reasons we home school. Not because something like this specific incident happened, just because the education system in this country is broken and you can never be surprised at what school officials will do.

     

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    Dementia (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: Next time

    If he actually said that, I would be interested to know where he expects to get the funding, not just for the hardware and installation, but the salaries for those who will have to go through all the files and the background checks they will require.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:33pm

    This technology should be a required install on all catholic priest's computers.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: astonishing

    Teachers are not the same thing as vice principals. I don't know where you went to school or when, but my vice principals didn't teach anything.

    I thought vice-principals were ex-teachers who were so bad at teaching that they had to be promoted.

     

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    Dementia (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Other Possibilities

    Would you please rememeber to use a sarc mark.

     

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    Michial Thompson, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:37pm

    WOW

    I rarely ever agree with little mikee m, but WOW maybe this time.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Other Possibilities

    Good news! That software already exists. So I'm sure the school district would have bought a site license if they could substantiate the cost.

    ...But they didn't... and they didn't disclose it, so it's wrong.

    http://www.absolute.com/products/lojackforlaptops/features

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Re: Other Possibilities

    I think school administrators "Low Jacking" was the chief concern all along....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Next time

    If he actually said that,

    Houston police chief wants cameras on homes, streets
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-02-15-houston-cameras_x.htm
    Houston Police Chief Wants Surveillance Cameras In Private Homes
    http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=6506

    I would be interested to know where he expects to get the funding, not just for the hardware and installation, but the salaries for those who will have to go through all the files and the background checks they will require.

    Your tax dollars at work. No price is too high for "security" and "safety".

     

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    chris (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Other Possibilities

    I believe what they did is wrong but that type of software can be very usefull if a laptop is stolen.

    i think it was all just a misunderstanding. the students were mistakenly informed that they were being given laptops, when in actuality they were being issued telescreens. clearly, if the children and their families knew they were getting telescreens then they would know that big brother can watch you.

    it's a simple misunderstanding is all. all of the literature for the telescreen program has been updated to reflect the nature of the devices and school system has apologized for any inconvenience.

     

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    Daniel Panichelli, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:43pm

    Lower Merion

    This is actually my high school.
    Their isn't new, they've been using Apple Remote Desktop to do this within their school for years.
    Only recently did they allow students to take their macbooks home, thus bringing this issue to light.

    Horrifying yes.
    New, no. This has been going on for at least 4-5 years.

     

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    Impacted, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:45pm

    Re: I don't see how this genuinely fixes any problem

    What do you use to keep your keys from sticking? I keep burning thru keyboards with all the impacting I do.

     

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    TAM Fan, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Forget the lawsuit, jail these people.

    Wouldn't taking pictures of students undressing constitute child pornography?

    Of course not, that's what common sense and selective enforcement are for. Child pornography laws weren't meant to apply to the government. In fact, congress specifically exempted themselves, law enforcement, judges and so forth just to be sure.

     

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    godlizard, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:48pm

    in what way is this NOT child molestation?

    Presumably the laptop is in the child's bedroom, where they get dressed -- how could anyone be stupid enough to think this was OK for any reason whatsoever? This is beyond an invasion of privacy, this is somewhere between child pornography and sexual abuse.

    I wonder if anyone's checked the school restroom stalls and P.E. showers to see if there are any hidden cameras there.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Not necessarily

    It takes a sexual component of the image to fall into the child porn area.

    Perhaps you should tell that to some of the people in prison for such non-sexual images.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:52pm

    School today

    Stories like this really make me wish that I was going to high school in this day and age. I was a malcontent back then, always against the man, but with something like this... wow.... I would so hack into that system just so I can spy on the kids I didn't like.

     

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    Free Capitalist (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Nice...

    Now that is nice. Great little synopsis of a symbol that's been adapted over several thousand years.

    Haha... TW and BMG, figures. The film board of Canada though... didn't see that one coming. (sorry)

    Thanks very much DH.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:55pm

    Video of something similar

    Hey folks,

    I just added an update to this post, that includes a video that recently aired on PBS Frontline that shows another school (in the Bronx) where an administrator proudly demonstrates doing something similar (not exactly the same, but close).

     

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  58.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:56pm

    Re: I'll be fascinated...

    Our nation's educators are remarkably stupid.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 12:58pm

    A former employer would do this all the time. There would be times I would wake up in the middle of the night only to find my work laptop, still in the laptop bag, chugging away working hard on something. Several times, I remember finding the battery worn down to 25%. I caught it in the act one night, and quickly ran a netstat and yep, it had actually connected to one of the major datacenters and was doing something weird.

    Of course, this was at an employer, but it opened my eyes to the fact that this was possible, and the technology has been around for quite some time. But nothing really says "love thy employer" quite like remote management software turning your computer on in the dead night.

     

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  60.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:01pm

    Re: Video of something similar

    Wow. Disgusting.

     

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  61.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Next time

    The old line ... who watches the watchers? comes to mind everytime I hear about something like this.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:05pm

    beyond scary...

     

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  63.  
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    bishboria (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:05pm

    This is some seriously bad shit: Jail time is needed.

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:08pm

    Are you fucking kidding? No really, this has to be a joke, right? It's not often I'm stunned, but holy Jesus, this is utterly outrageous.

    To hell with a civil suit, whomever approved this policy needs to do hardcore prison time.

     

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  65.  
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    Adam (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:10pm

    Is anyone surprised?

    "Hmmm this will teach kids to be responsible with school equipment!" How can a school justify punishing a student for something said in a home? Just like that 12-year-old girl that got arrested for a first offense of *GASP* writing a few words on a school desk.

     

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  66.  
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    Jimr (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:11pm

    That is amazing....
    So when can I expect to see the school boards charge with creating kiddie porn?

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Other Possibilities

    How do you know the jacking was low? Citation needed.

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Other Possibilities

    How do you know the jacking was low?

    You mean, like, under the desk?

     

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  69.  
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    Jessica, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:32pm

    Re: If you aren't doing anything wrong...

    Are you nuts?? It has nothing to do with proper behavior. These people are wrong. Kids undress in their rooms, would you realy want somebody to have the ability to WATCH them? Regardless of if they do or don't have anything to worry about its still wrong and a violation of their rights.

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Nice...

    11. eEye. Their major product line, Retina, is computer network security software.

     

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  71.  
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    yozoo, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:34pm

    Re: Re: Other Possibilities

    " I bet we could even get that included in ACTA so that it applies worldwide."

    How do you know it isnt already?

     

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  72.  
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    peroty (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:38pm

    Child Porn

    My hat's off to the first kid to be photographed changing clothes or with their shirt off and suing the school system for child porn.
    That's going to be more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

     

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  73.  
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    longtimelurker, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Other Possibilities

    I think you forgot your upside down exclamation point.

     

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  74.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:38pm

    1984, oh shit it's finally happening!

     

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  75.  
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    Nate, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:41pm

    So...

    Was this ostensibly happening when the kids were logged onto the school's VPN from home? Was it sending camera shots to the school servers from over the internet? Or was it more like the video that Mike showed from Frontline, where usage in general was monitored, and when the kid brought it back to school later and had it on their network, something was discovered then?

    It's not really the same thing, but if I'm using a corporate laptop, I'm fully aware that its contents can and will be monitored when I connect to their network, and I'm subject to discipline for what they might find. That's a whole lot different from having a utility actively take webcam shots, though.

    As it's been said, you'd have to be REALLY stupid to pull this, and we certainly don't have all the facts here, so I doubt we're getting the full scoop.

     

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  76.  
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    aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Re: If you aren't doing anything wrong...

    Of course they should have the ability to watch them undress! What if they're undressing for someone on the webcam and the other person can hear their music? Internet strippers, no matter what the age, should have to pay for licenses if people are going to be listening to the music they play.

    This just lets them know early on that it's wrong to do.

     

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  77.  
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    Chill, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:44pm

    I want to know what specific "inappropriate behavior" took place for the school admins to get up in arms. I assume it was n't anything explicitly sexual (if the guy took a picture, he would have enough sense to know that's a no-no and will get you vanned), but hell, the kid could have been masturbating or something.

    This whole fiasco definitely reminds me of Little Brother.

     

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  78.  
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    TAM Fan, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Other Possibilities

    " I bet we could even get that included in ACTA so that it applies worldwide."
    How do you know it isnt already?


    Sorry, there are some things I just can't tell you. NDA's, national security, executive privilege and all that.

     

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  79.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Video of something similar

    He said that 6'th and 7'th grade always has the camera on.

     

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  80.  
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    TAM Fan, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 1:54pm

    Re: So...

    and we certainly don't have all the facts here, so I doubt we're getting the full scoop.

    That's right. So all you haters trying to say that there's something wrong with this need to remember that you don't have all the facts and to quit trying to judge the school officials involved.

     

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  81.  
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    New Mexico Mark, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:00pm

    Re:

    I've known system administrators who scheduled automated tasks such as A/V updates or patching to occur at weird hours (and yes, required a connection to the company to get those updates). However, this was done to minimize impact on employees rather than some nefarious purpose. Seems a bit risky from a heat standpoint to do that for laptops when they might be in a bag at the time.

    But if an employer used a laptop to collect images, sound, or non-company data from a home or home network without employee knowledge or consent, that's an entirely different matter. Even with consent it's pretty creepy behavior.

     

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  82.  
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    TAM Fan, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: Video of something similar

    He said that 6'th and 7'th grade always has the camera on.

    See, what did I tell you? They're just looking after the kids. That's right around puberty. That's the best time to head off "inappropriate behavior" that may be starting about that time, if you know what I mean.

     

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  83.  
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    ant anti mike, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:01pm

    START MATURBATING IN FRONT of that CAM YO HTINK IS OFF

    then when they star watching kiddy pron these sick bastards can get arrested like they should

    PROBLEM SOLVED

     

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  84.  
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    zealeus, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:07pm

    Remote Desktop

    I work in a 1:1 mac laptop school and it's clearly written in the AUP that there is no expectation of privacy on the laptops. They are the school's laptops- not the students. I use ARD to monitor what students are doing, and I don't feel bad about it at all.

    That said, the idea of leaving photo booth on 24/7, particularly when they're at home, is very squeezy to me and I would not do that.

     

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  85.  
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    Cynyr (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Video of something similar

    to be fair, i couldn't tell if they got to take the computers home, or if they were only for use in the classrooms. A good network login and google docs should make the use of a different computer very easy.

     

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  86.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:21pm

    Re: Remote Desktop

    Pretty big difference between monitoring web browsing, etc done using the school's computer and using the webcam to view what is going on at a student's home.

     

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  87.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:21pm

    Yeah, he likes to "mess" with them and take a picture. Then he messes himself to that picture later. Ewwwwwww!!!!!!


    ARD, or Apple Remote Desktop is sneaky. We use it here where I work. I feel dirty when in observation mode, and I always call our users if I need to remote to the MAC's that way. At least Altiris can be set up to ask for permission first.

    These kids and parents need to be made aware of what admins are doing. I dont need some rouge admin taking pictures of my daughter to upload on child porn sites.

     

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  88.  
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    Cynyr (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Remote Desktop

    Just lock the laptops to the desks then. I'm sure the library has a computer that can connect to google docs if they need one out side of class. All home privacy issues disappear then.

     

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  89.  
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    Rekrul, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:27pm

    They say that kids growing up today are really "computer savvy", but this story illustrates just how clueless they still are about computers. Oh sure, they know how to create a Facebook page and run BitTorrent, but when it comes to the computer itself, they're completely clueless.

    If a school gave me a laptop to take home, the first thing I would do is go through it with a fine-toothed comb to see exactly what's running on it. Any remote-control software would be killed off in the task manager each time I turned the system on. This would leave the system untouched, but leave the school unable to connect to it remotely. When not in use, I'd yank the WiFi adapter to prevent it from connecting to anything without my consent. A piece of tape over the camera would complete the job and muting the Windows mic input would complete the job.

     

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  90.  
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    Mikael, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:29pm

    Re: Not necessarily

    I do believe you are mistaken. When talking about the issue at hand, there would be no reason for someone to have a picture of a nude adolescent boy/girl. Infants are one thing, but why would you be taking nude pictures of your 5+ year old if not for inappropriate reasons? There was a case a little while back where teenage girls took pictures of themselves while in their underwear and sent them to some guys. They weren't even nude and they were charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. This case with the laptops is at a high school. Students in high school are generally from age 14-18. Any nude pictures of those underage students could be considered child pornography.

    Think about this too...most teens are full of raging hormones and probably masturbate. What if one was masturbating in front of the laptop while watching something on the internet or a dvd and a school official activated the webcam? There's a sex offender charge right there.

     

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  91.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Video of something similar

    What's even more bothersome, is that guy who was describing the system. The way he said "I like to take pictures of them, they normally duck out of the way".

     

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  92.  
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    ant anti mike, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:33pm

    OR

    hes sitting on his bed masturbating aobut that cute girl he knows and YOUR PSYING ON HIM cause he forgot to turn off the laptop
    OR looking at one of dads porno mags
    either way this is wrong and its sick

     

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  93.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:40pm

    To disable Apple Remote Desktop client software:

    To Remove Apple Remote Desktop, execute these commands in Terminal:

    $ sudo rm -rf /System/Library/CoreServices/Menu Extras/RemoteDesktop.menu
    $ sudo rm -rf /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/
    $ sudo rm -rf /System/Library/PreferencePanes/ARDPref.prefPane
    $ sudo rm -rf /System/Library/StartupItems/RemoteDesktopAgent/
    $ sudo rm /Library/Preferences/com.apple.ARDAgent.plist
    $ sudo rm /Library/Preferences/com.apple.RemoteManagement.plist

     

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  94.  
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    TAM Fan, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Re: Remote Desktop

    Pretty big difference between monitoring web browsing, etc done using the school's computer and using the webcam to view what is going on at a student's home.

    Yes, and a good example of how computers can actually be put to good use and not just used for stealing copyrighted works. There might be something going on in a student's home that school officials need to know about, as in this case.

     

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  95.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:44pm

    Re: To disable Apple Remote Desktop client software:

    Too bad students don't generally have administrative access to school computers or that might work.

     

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  96.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:45pm

    Guide to Apple Remote Desktop client software

    http://images.apple.com/remotedesktop/pdf/AdministratorsGuide20061116.pdf

    Pretty sneaky stuff. Page 29 and 33 are particularily interesting, but it doesn't seem much different than what you can do with Microsoft Systems Management Server, and/or Back Orifice (Yep, it's open sourced and even works with Vista!)

    http://www.bo2k.com/docs/bo2k_legitimacy.html

     

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  97.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: To disable Apple Remote Desktop client software:

    Too bad students don't have a boot disk that has the password reset utility. You know, that one that is included with the Snow Leopard upgrade for $29.99 at the Apple store may work.. Or maybe there's a torrent of that file somewhere.

     

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  98.  
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    KnownHuman (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:49pm

    Re:

    There's a couple of people leaving anonymous comments on Boing Boing claiming to be from the same school or school district. The purported word on the street is that the minor defendant was smoking marijuana.

    http://www.boingboing.net/2010/02/17/school-used-student.html#comment-716396

     

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  99.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Nice...

    "BMG"

    Not the BMG you're thinking of, I think. It's the British Music Group, not the BMG in Sony BMG...

     

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  100.  
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    David, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 3:07pm

    Ok to monitor

    Monitoring students in the classroom is not breaking the law. If you don't like it, too bad.

     

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  101.  
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    KilgoreTrout XL (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 3:09pm

    Hey, the school just posted a bland, boring response

    http://www.lmsd.org/sections/news/default.php?m=0&t=today&p=lmsd_anno&id=1137 Highlig hts: "The laptops do contain a security feature intended to track lost, stolen and missing laptops. This feature has been deactivated effective today." "The tracking-security feature was limited to taking a still image of the operator and the operator's screen. This feature has only been used for the limited purpose of locating a lost, stolen or missing laptop. The District has not used the tracking feature or web cam for any other purpose or in any other manner whatsoever." Nice! Ima head to Philly to steal a sh*tload of laptops, unless This "Doctor" McGinley is full of shit, which he almost certainly is (full of).

     

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  102.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 3:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: To disable Apple Remote Desktop client software:

    Too bad students don't have a boot disk that has the password reset utility.

    Too bad the administrator will be discover that the very time first he tries to remotely log on and finds that his password no longer works. Can you say "expelled and criminally prosecuted"? You know, as in that would be a really stupid thing to do?

     

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  103.  
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    zealeus, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 3:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: To disable Apple Remote Desktop client software:

    That's what the Open Firmware Password utility is for.

     

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  104.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 3:14pm

    This seems weird:

    ARD Page 49:

    Before you can audit, control, or maintain any client, you need to add it to an Apple Remote Desktop computer list. To use Bonjour to discover computers on your local subnet, your local network’s routers and firewalls must allow multicast DNS (mDNS) packets on port 5353. To find computers that aren’t on the local subnet, your local network’s routers and firewalls must be properly configured to pass network pings, and TCP/UDP packets on ports 3283 and 5900.

    If you have a router attached to your cable modem, you can just block those ports right?

     

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  105.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Hey, the school just posted a bland, boring response

    This feature has been deactivated effective today.

    To be reactivated in the near future, no doubt.

    This feature has only been used for the limited purpose of locating a lost, stolen or missing laptop.

    Oh, so the kid was using a stolen laptop, eh? I wonder if they're going to charge him. [/sarcasm]

     

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  106.  
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    net625, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 3:18pm

    Re: To disable Apple Remote Desktop client software:

    When I went to a school that had a 1:1 mac program the thoughtfully disabled terminal, I was able to use a trick that lets you create an admin account but I didn't want to mess with the account that they gave me or to remove the admin account that they had on the machine. But I don't go to that school anymore, because while being able to play flash games instead of taking notes is fun, getting straight C's no matter what I do because the teachers have no idea what they are doing isn't. I personally don't think that the apple one to one laptop program is ready for prime time yet and this is just one more example of that. I could see them giving students netbooks to take home but any more and it seems like a waste of money and nice computers that will only play flash games and music.

     

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  107.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 3:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: To disable Apple Remote Desktop client software:

    No, not really. What would be expulsion would be distroying property, not reconfiguring it.

    If a student say, made a cheap laser burner and then burned the CCD or the camera, then it would be reasonable to pay for repairs, but we are all administrators here and we all know using a time machine backup, it takes about an hour to completely restore a machine.

    What's more valuable? Giving a school tech an hour of work or having the administrations substantiate their job and push paperwork around?

    Also, I do believe students have rights which would include privacy.

     

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  108.  
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    tracker1 (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 3:26pm

    Re: Re: Forget the lawsuit, jail these people.

    But you could do a raid on the administrators of the school, checking for and probably finding what could be constituted as "Child Porn" from this.

     

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  109.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 3:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: To disable Apple Remote Desktop client software:

    No, not really. What would be expulsion would be distroying [sic] property, not reconfiguring it.

    If you believe that then you really have no idea what the computer crime laws say. The computer belongs to the school and cracking the administrator account without authorization would be a serious criminal offense.

     

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  110.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 3:46pm

    Re:

    pull the battery.

     

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  111.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 3:47pm

    Re: School today

    Stories like this really make me wish that I was going to high school in this day and age. I was a malcontent back then, always against the man...


    Was?

    Buddy, you post on Techdirt! This is where juvenile, damn-the-man malcontents come to roost!

    With that said, this story is disgusting and almost laughably, nihilistically, unbelievable and I hope the people responsible are put in jail cells equipped with 24 hour webcams so the students and parents can see what their newly jumpsuited, old voyeurs are up to any time they want.

     

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  112.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 3:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: To disable Apple Remote Desktop client software:

    Oh Gee Golly! You're right!

    The student should just have a external firewire drive and at boottime, press the OPTION key to boot an external drive and OS, so their privacy rights remain observed!

     

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  113.  
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    Erik, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 4:06pm

    When a computer is used at a school, that school has every right to know what the computer is being used for. But when the school spies on students at home on their own bandwidth then there really is no defense for doing it.
    And, as other commenters have asked, what about if the webcam happens to turn on while the kid is undressed? Doesn't that make the school administrator viewing the cam feed a pornographer? I can't even begin to fathom the rationality needed to allow such a stupid and invasive program to be put into use. It is really just shockingly stupid.

     

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  114.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 4:14pm

    Re:

    But when the school spies on students at home on their own bandwidth then there really is no defense for doing it.

    What does the connection have to do with it? Are you saying that if the school installed 3G cards in the computers and used the school's own account then you'd be OK with this?

     

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  115.  
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    Flame, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 4:16pm

    Re: Not a fan of class action lawsuits

    I live around 30 miles away, according to the local news Federal charges are pending.

     

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  116.  
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    Paul`, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 4:19pm

    And now we have Telescreens.

     

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  117.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 4:21pm

    The filed complaint

    For those interested, the complaint that was filed with the court is available here (warning PDF)

     

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  118.  
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    PRMan, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 4:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Other Possibilities

    According to the school district, this is exactly what happened:

    http://www.lmsd.org/sections/news/default.php?m=0&t=today&p=lmsd_anno&id=11 37

     

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  119.  
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    Glenn, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 4:30pm

    Call it whatever else you like...

    but such activity is clearly a criminal--not merely civil--violation. You may have no expectation of privacy when you're in public, but in your own private home you have every [constitutional] right to privacy (barring a court order which allows law enforcement to conduct investigations).

     

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  120.  
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    Carl, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 4:33pm

    I guess they are now all sex offenders

    Since there is a ripe possibility that someoene could have switched on a kid's webcam when they were changing and therefore naked, maybe the school's administration should get child pornography charges slapped on them even though they didn't know the kid was going to be naked before they activated their webcam? Perhaps the FBI should do a sweep of all of their hard drives.

     

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  121.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 4:35pm

    Could this be the tip of the iceberg?

    If administrators are doing this to students, chances are they're also doing this to faculty and staff too.

    Many staff members are also issued a computer to assist with lesson plans and the like. Has anyone considered that there may be teachers that may bring work home, and have fallen victim to these types of things as well, yet due to union or other politics are unable to have a voice?

    I wonder if teachers unions would be willing to protect their members interests and privacy too.

     

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  122.  
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    Esahc (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 4:36pm

    Re: Ok to monitor

    But monitoring students at home is.

     

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  123.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 4:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Other Possibilities

    According to the school district, this is exactly what happened:

    So basically, they're denying the story.

    It's interesting that they go on to say:
    • Do you anticipate reactivating the tracking-security feature?

    Not without express written notification to all students and families.
    Notice that they're not saying with the students' and families' "consent".

     

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  124.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Re: Not a fan of class action lawsuits

    I live around 30 miles away, according to the local news Federal charges are pending.

    Let me guess: against the student, right?

     

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  125.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 5:15pm

    I know how these school IT people work, in my school recently some kids installed proxy software to there network accounts, and the IT guy did a sweep and found them. All the kids were called out off class to a meeting with the principle and tech guy, in which the IT guy claimed it cost the school $30,000, and told them they would be arrested if they did it again.

    When one of the kids parents called the school about how their son was treated like a criminal for using youtube at school, the school denied any sort of threat, and told them they were just informing the students that they were breaking school rules and nothing more.

     

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  126.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 5:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Next time

    They watch each other... for giggles.

     

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  127.  
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    Paul P., Feb 18th, 2010 @ 5:49pm

    Re: So...

    The fact that a school wants to punish a student for inappropriate behavior *at home* is bad enough, spying aside. This is way outside of their power. Parents deal with things at home, schools deal with things at school, though they've even been going about that in questionable enough ways as it is. Full story or not, that bit should never have happened.

     

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  128.  
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    Druid Man (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 6:05pm

    They don't have admin. terminal is turned off.
    They only have the LT at school. Laptops don't go home.
    Get a grip.

     

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  129.  
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    Hall Monitor, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 6:06pm

    WOW

    This story made http://detentionslip.org ! Check it out for all the crazy headlines from our schools.

     

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  130.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 6:31pm

    Re:

    They only have the LT at school. Laptops don't go home.

    That's not true.

    Get a grip.

    I think maybe the truth is something >you

     

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  131.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 6:49pm

    Concentration

    It's also rather scary that both the teachers and the principal in that school feel perfectly fine with the idea that neither they nor their students seem capable of concentrating on their work for more than an hour at a time.

     

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  132.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 6:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Video of something similar

    I found that to be extra creepy, in a keep this guy away from my kids kind of way.

     

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  133.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 8:05pm

    Re: Re:

    If they were peeping into children's rooms on their own time there is a decent chance that a picture of a naked child was taken. Pictures of a naked child is enough for a kiddie porn charge in PA. Heck pictures of teenage girls in underwear taken by those same girls was enough for charges in PA. This was a really stupid idea with really awful consequences.

     

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  134.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 8:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Forget the lawsuit, jail these people.

    And do you think pleading ignorance of the existence of pictures of semi-naked kids would really work? Pennsylvania prosecutors would have a field day. If these laptops were purchased with federal money then this could easily be a federal beef.

    The Pitch forks and torches are on the way out already.

     

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  135.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 8:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Other Possibilities

    IMS This is a standard function in a Mac. I don't know if they can truly turn it off. They may only be able not to activate it.

     

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  136.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 8:17pm

    Re: Re: Other Possibilities

    So if you are going to illegally download materials and you are underage do it naked. The act of trying to catch you in the act on camera is now an even more illegal act. Passing on the evidence to a prosecutor is distribution of child pornography....

     

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  137.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 8:21pm

    Re: Lower Merion

    Put a post it note over the camera at all times.

     

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  138.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 8:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: To disable Apple Remote Desktop client software:

    This or a live cd.

     

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  139.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 8:40pm

    Re: Hey, the school just posted a bland, boring response

    Dr. McPedo will blame a subordinate for this misdeed, then get off scott free. That's just how it works.

     

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  140.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 9:40pm

    Re: Re: Next time

    Well, he can start with his own private home first, lets put a camera in his home and broadcast it on youtube for everyone to see.

     

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  141.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 9:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Next time

    after all, with his logic, if he's not doing anything wrong, what does he have to fear?

     

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  142.  
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    pete, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:25pm

    Re:

    If a school gave me a laptop to take home, the first thing I would do is go through it with a fine-toothed comb to see exactly what's running on it. Any remote-control software would be killed off in the task manager each time I turned the system on. This would leave the system untouched, but leave the school unable to connect to it remotely. When not in use, I'd yank the WiFi adapter to prevent it from connecting to anything without my consent. A piece of tape over the camera would complete the job and muting the Windows mic input would complete the job. fail! You forgot about kernel driver or kernel service (not the Administrative Tools "Services" of Windows), or Intel vPro or AMD Simfire or other BIOS/hardware management and other virtualization sandboxing technology, or Microsoft NAP or antivirus plugins.

     

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  143.  
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    pete, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Forget the lawsuit, jail these people.

    And do you think pleading ignorance of the existence of pictures of semi-naked kids would really work? Pennsylvania prosecutors would have a field day. If these laptops were purchased with federal money then this could easily be a federal beef. Qualified immunity and sovereign immunity. No charges will be brought to anyone or any government entity.

     

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  144.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2010 @ 11:47pm

    this was a massive shitstorm waiting to happen, its just plain sad the district thought this was in anyway a good idea, regardless of intentions

     

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  145.  
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    Kiljoy (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:19am

    Re: But they did it ...

    Even if they are not, there seems to be a disconnect between faculty and parents. Time to bring down the legal hammer before it gets out of control and we start hearing about it in other places, plus how do we not know if some parents where been spied on also with sensitive information.

     

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  146.  
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    Kiljoy (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:26am

    Re: Next time

    The next time some one says "if you have nothing to hide you shouldnt be concerned about your privacy" point them to this story.

    Thinking about it, i have plenty to hide, and so does most people, what is except-able to me may not be to the nut job next to me, and that is a good reason to be on the side of privacy.

    Look at the preacher that was found dead with a dildo up his back side. When it come to your home it has to be private or we will be needing to brick up the dam windows soon.

     

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  147.  
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    Kiljoy (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:27am

    Re: Re: Next time

    Yes as long as he has one also and I can see at all times what he is doing.

     

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  148.  
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    Kiljoy (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Other Possibilities

    Time to tape up that laptop, but wait better yet, don't use work or school laptop when at home, is this not a well to do area, here at home we have 3 computers so why are the kids using these computers so exclusive?

    Yes be paranoid its ok, keeps you safe and sane to know that there is always someone trying to spy on you.

     

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  149.  
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    Yora Joke, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 3:39am

    Re: Ok to monitor

    fuck you

     

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  150.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 4:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Next time

    "Oh look at this, that hot neighbour from down the street is getting ready to shower. Let's save the video somewhere..."

     

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  151.  
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    Sirhc (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 5:05am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I don't care if they are naked or not, they surveilled the homes of private citizens through video and potentially audio, not just the school kids but anyone else living or visiting the premises where there is an expectation of privacy. If the people who knew this was going on are not criminally punished, I would say that it is a huge black eye for soceity.

     

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  152.  
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    Admiral Obvious, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 5:12am

    It is obvious that the school officials are a bunch of pervs and should be brought up on charges just like anyone else caught doing the exact same thing.

     

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  153.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:00am

    Re: Re: Re: astonishing

    Used to be. These days, most school administrators were never teachers.

     

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  154.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Next time

    No price is too high when it's someone else's money.

    Fixed it for you.

     

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  155.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:13am

    Re: Re: Nice...

    Will someone please spy on the children!

     

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  156.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:14am

    Child Porn, anyone?

    Sick. Fucks.

     

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  157.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:15am

    Re: Nice...

    Your dollar bill is Watching You!

     

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  158.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Nice...

    Great. So all this shit is tied into somehow into the Project For the New American Century? (PNAC)

     

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  159.  
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    MattP, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:31am

    Re:

    I would recommend a band-aid to prevent getting adhesive on the lens.

     

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  160.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:41am

    Re: Re: Forget the lawsuit, jail these people.

    that's kinda like how the Catholic Church got into trouble...nobody watching the watchers, and then complacency and arrogance take root, then the inappropriate power imbalances grow like a cancer.

    End result = child abuse.

     

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  161.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Other Possibilities

    Well, I don't jack off for free!

     

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  162.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re: Nice...

    You're thinking of the children a bit too "hard".

     

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  163.  
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    Laurel L. Russwurm (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 8:55am

    "How Google Saved A School"

    Maybe Google really is evil.

    My sister coined the phrase "Stepford Children" to describe kids like Eddie Haskell who behave perfectly when they are being watched by authorities, and when they are not break every rule in the book.

    If you don't trust children you create untrustworthy children. Who grow up into school administrators who think that external discipline is good.

    This is wrong.

    I understand the urge to pull your kids out of school so you can protect them but all that does is leave the rest of your kid's generation at risk. Fight these bad things if you can. Because if you don't, your kids will end up living in a world where this kind of shit is acceptable.

     

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  164.  
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    michael mitchell, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 9:38am

    Confused

    Im a bit confused. The article says that the administrator could turn on the webcam at any time secretly, but the video only shows him able to monitor whats happening on screen. While it also appears that he can assume remote control of the mouse, which would allow him to fire up photo booth, its not exactly a secret to the student that something fishy is going on.

    About the administrator taking a picture of a student, that is misleading as well. He is not taking a picture for himself, he is issuing the command remotely for the students laptop to take the picture which freaks out the kid, who can subsequently delete the taken snapshot, and quit photo booth.

     

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  165.  
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    Stop Picking It!, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 9:59am

    WOW!

    Even if it were spying on adults, rather than children, it would still be obscene.

    An overdue reality check for some stuck-up bastard, or bitch, who obviously has a rod so far up their starchy arse that it's interfering with their tiny brain.

    What sick hypochrites some people are!

    I hope we get to see the weirdo whose idea this was. I bet he, or she, has has got cigarette burns and razor slashes all over their scrawny body. YUMMY! I need you now!!! Nekked!

     

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  166.  
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    jilocasin, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 10:16am

    It was wrong, and it looks like it's going to be a very short court case.

    This was/is wrong on so many levels, I can't even begin. The good news is it looks like it should be a fairly short case. There are just a few simple questions that need to be answered and then it's all over 'cept the punishment.

    (Questions and answers, that if answered this way would be real bad for the school district.)

    Q. Did the school issue the laptop in question to the minor defendant (MD)?

    A. yes.

    Q. Did the school put software on said laptop that allows the school to surreptitiously view the user remotely?

    A. yes.

    Q. Was MD or parents of MD every notified of the presence or capabilities of aforementioned software?

    A. no.

    Q. Was MD presented with a print out of an image captured with the aforementioned software by the aforementioned laptop?

    A. yes.

    Q. Was the aforementioned laptop located on school property when the image in question was captured?

    A. no.

    Q. Was the permission of either the MD obtained before said image was obtained?

    A. no.

    Judge: I find the defendant guilty of ... .

    The sad thing is that but for an over zealous administrator the parents and children may have never known about this software. Since the administrator presented the student with proof that he had used the software on the laptop in order to justify punishing him for whatever inappropriate thing he believed the student to have done, the school district is going to have a _very_ hard time claiming it was only there/used to track stolen laptops.....

     

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  167.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 10:35am

    Re: It was wrong, and it looks like it's going to be a very short court case.

    I bet the school informed the students that the computer was subject to "monitoring". I bet they even had the students sign something in order to get the computers.

     

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  168.  
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    Rick H. (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 11:21am

    And we wonder why kids today are failing in schools

    All you people who are running around in circles with your arms waving in air screaming "the sky is falling" should be looking at society today and asking yourselves why our youth are failing in schools and becoming more of a burden on society then becoming productive citizens. In this video the laptops are not taken home by the students. Therefore this isn't an invasion of privacy. It is the same as a teacher sitting at his/her desk watching the student. If they are given a task to do they need to be completing it and not screwing around. I have two children in school and I wish this would be implemented in our schools here. I do agree that the parents should be informed of these practices before they are implemented.

     

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  169.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 12:08pm

    Re: And we wonder why kids today are failing in schools

    I have two children in school and I wish this would be implemented in our schools here.

    While I don't have any control over the schools, if you'll post your address I'll see about getting some web cams installed in your home if that will make you happy. How about one in each room?

     

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  170.  
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    jilocasin, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 12:36pm

    RE: Rick H. -> Video doesn't seem to match complaint

    If the video doesn't show the laptops being taken home then it isn't really indicative of the complaint in question.

    In the complaint the student _take_the_laptop_home_.

    In the complaint the school secretly webcam's students _in_their_home.

    In the complaint an administrator _shows_the_student_ a print out of the _secret_webcam_capture_ and uses it as a reason to discipline the student.

    If the program was only used _in_school_ then it _may_ have been O.K. But that's _not_ what this complaint is about...

     

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  171.  
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    Grimwynd, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Video of something similar

    Simply put, you are a fool. You are just another head of cattle walking in-step with a mindless herd of people that think that government and its beauracracies know better than the individuals that fund them.

    School officials are not law enforcement, nor are they spiritual leaders. Off school grounds (not counting official school outings or functions) a school district has zero authorization to regulate behavior, and VERY much less any right to regulate morality.

     

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  172.  
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    Grimwynd, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 12:45pm

    Re: Re: It was wrong, and it looks like it's going to be a very short court case.

    And just like everything else in this country (From NDAs to a permission slip for a field trip), a minor child has no legal authorization to enter a binding contract.

    Unless the parents signed authorization, any document signed by the student would become worthless as defense.

     

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  173.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: It was wrong, and it looks like it's going to be a very short court case.

    And just like everything else in this country (From NDAs to a permission slip for a field trip), a minor child has no legal authorization to enter a binding contract.

    Unless the parents signed authorization, any document signed by the student would become worthless as defense.


    But they can sign an acknowledgment that they were given notice. The school doesn't need "authorization" on it's own computers.

     

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  174.  
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    Grimwynd, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It was wrong, and it looks like it's going to be a very short court case.

    You are wrong. The video/audio monitoring within the walls of a private home requires court order, or consent of the HOMEOWNER, not the child.

    See, the problem is that the webcam is not monitoring the computer activity alone, but the environment it resides in. No amount of 'notice' to a child can make that right. You are not only invading the child's privacy, but the privacy of anyone in the household.

    Your point of 'the school doesnt need permission' because they own the laptop is totally ignorant. Just because someone (the school) OWNS a camera does not under any circumstance give them rights to take pictures from within a private home merely by informing a minor child that it might be monitored.

    Have you even considered other children or parents in this? The laptop is not only spying on the one informed, but the others that have not been officially informed. And again, the minor child nor the school has the authority to invade the privacy of other potential residents of the household.

     

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  175.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It was wrong, and it looks like it's going to be a very short court case.

    You are wrong. The video/audio monitoring within the walls of a private home requires court order, or consent of the HOMEOWNER, not the child.

    If the school installed the camera in the home, then you might have a point. But it didn't. The child did, and probably with the parent's permission.

    Just because someone (the school) OWNS a camera does not under any circumstance give them rights to take pictures from within a private home merely by informing a minor child that it might be monitored.

    Remember, the school didn't put the camera there.

    And again, the minor child nor the school has the authority to invade the privacy of other potential residents of the household.

    Then perhaps the "other potential residents of the household" have a case against the person who put the camera there.

     

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  176.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 3:41pm

    Re: It was wrong, and it looks like it's going to be a very short court case.

    > Judge: I find the defendant guilty of ...

    Last I checked, it's juries that find defendants guilty. It's technically possible that the defendant could agree to a bench trial in a criminal case but it's such a suicide move that no one would ever do it.

     

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  177.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 5:28pm

    Re: But they did it ...

    Too bad no teacher or administrator in any state, could be hired as such with an accusation like that. Protect the kids???? the brat was selling drugs. Its funny the partents will spend that much money so the kid won't get busted for drugs.

     

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  178.  
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    bob, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 5:38pm

    I remember a line from a book

    "And he loved big brother"

    I am not at that point yet.

     

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  179.  
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    PedoBear, Feb 22nd, 2010 @ 11:05am

    PedoBear Aproves

    Pedobear approves!

     

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  180.  
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    AndyBoy2, Feb 22nd, 2010 @ 10:29pm

    Schools have been spying on students with hall cameras for years. They also control all entries/exits to school buildings and can perform random drug testing in many districts. That they now use webcams in this manner is hardly surprising if you're familiar with current practices.

     

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  181.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2010 @ 11:09pm

    Re: (Just because you do it doesn't mean it's legal)

    No one has challenged the constitutionality of this to the Supreme Court.

     

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  182.  
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    Ranba Ral, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re: Other Possibilities

    Of course, you assume that the download is being initiated by the person using the machine. With things like torrent programs and various auto-download scripts, plugins, and programs, they could be running in the background for hours before the download even starts.

    Then you run into the problem of determining what is actually IP infringement with an automated capture program. Most of my downloads are my own files, or files made by friends. There's also plenty of public domain stuff out there that a lot of these file-share programs can and do (legally) access...I for one am not willing to put up with having my picture taken every time I download something just because net piracy is huge and will never truly be stopped.

     

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  183.  
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    Katie S., May 13th, 2010 @ 12:29am

    promotion

    My horrible 5th/6th grade teacher was actually promoted to principal. She was like Mrs. Trunchbull from Matilda - the things she did were so outrageous that she got away with them because no adult would believe them (among them was threatening to videotape me naked).

     

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  184.  
    identicon
    Katie S., May 13th, 2010 @ 12:32am

    Re: Re: But they did it ...

    The fact that a kid was selling drugs doesn't make the surveillance any less wrong or horrifying. Besides, they were spying on all the other kids too, not just him.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  185.  
    identicon
    Katie S., May 13th, 2010 @ 12:45am

    Re: And we wonder why kids today are failing in schools

    The article is about kids being spied on IN THEIR HOMES. RTFA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  186.  
    identicon
    Why am I still shocked?, Aug 19th, 2010 @ 11:08am

    Idiots...

    For you who are stating "fear-mongering media" for this case - you are absolutely part of the very scum that sex offenders are. Sexual abuse includes the viewing of ones nakedness without their permission. If this happened, which, really, undoubtedly it did, then they are sex offenders. The children didn't give them permission. Nonetheless, how do you think this will affect the children psychologically you freaking idiots? EVEN IF they weren't ever naked in front of the camera!!!! Look at the intent. Is it truely the intent of the school officials to "protect their property" when they turn on the camera's before the property is even reported stolen? And if it was reported stolen, do you really need more than one quick photo op of the person? Intent here is obvious. The power they wanted and got,even if for a limited time, is the same power sex offenders have/need over their victims.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  187.  
    identicon
    Jeesh, Aug 19th, 2010 @ 12:15pm

    Re: But they did it ...

    "Too bad no teacher or administrator in any state, could be hired as such with an accusation like that. Protect the kids???? the brat was selling drugs. Its funny the partents will spend that much money so the kid won't get busted for drugs."

    If this were my kid. I would do everything possible and probable to get people fired and prosecuted. That does not mean that I also would not bust my kid. As someone else said, that power does NOT belong to school officials IF selling/doing drugs was in my home. Fools.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  188.  
    identicon
    phillip presley, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 3:40pm

    Cover the camera

    I wasn't even aware that such software existed with the capability of doing this, but nonetheless I always keep a cover over my webcam, just in case. This story proves my paranoia was warranted! This is a rare case of otherwise helpful remote desktop software being abused.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  189.  
    identicon
    billybob joe, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 2:32pm

    toocool

    hi people from somewhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  190.  
    identicon
    Makita Impact Driver, Dec 17th, 2010 @ 7:49am

    I think it is not right. Even a child has his rights and should not be neglected. Besides, it's their home and they should taken into consideration the child's privacy and the family as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  191.  
    identicon
    คอนโด, Apr 20th, 2011 @ 11:06pm

    Spyware!!!

    Many people arrow me, have affect about spyware very pity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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