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.

Filed Under: privacy, schools, spying, webcams


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  1. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), 18 Feb 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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