Author Topic: School system 'spies' on students via MacBooks  (Read 2552 times)

Offline krissel

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Offline sandbox

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School system 'spies' on students via MacBooks
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2010, 12:11:49 AM »
dumb....dah dah dumb....DUMB! wink.gif

Offline kbeartx

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School system 'spies' on students via MacBooks
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2010, 08:05:50 AM »
This is the way that we as individuals, and hopefully as a culture, learn....

it IS rather frightening when certain inDUHviduals and/or instDUHtutions display such obvious lack of forethought, or ANY thought, apparently...

Kb cool.gif

Offline Xairbusdriver

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School system 'spies' on students via MacBooks
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2010, 11:22:42 AM »
To err is....
too common!
And in the vast majority of cases, a human is involved! The sooner we get rid of them, the quicker we'll get rid of these problems! rant.gif

While the capability of this kind of action has been around for several years, and probably abused more than we know, it is also great to have technology that can report that abuse fairly widely and quickly, once it becomes known by almost anyone. Unfortunately, some people use too many words to say that. blush-anim-cl.gif laugh.gif
« Last Edit: February 23, 2010, 11:23:10 AM by Xairbusdriver »
I don’t like the fact that my chances of survival seem to be linked to the common sense of others. :Thinking:
CAUTION! Childhood vaccinations cause adults! :yes:

Offline RobW

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School system 'spies' on students via MacBooks
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2010, 03:03:21 PM »
So, as you may know, this took place in a Philadelphia suburb--one where very few families would even need the schools to provide a laptop for them. (I know several people with children attending school in that district.) As a Philadelphian who lives in a city where the kids are lucky to get books, let alone a computer, it raised other issues as well. (Heck, given that too many kids here in Philly don't have electricity in their homes, the laptop might be wasted anyway.)

Having said that--and gotten off-topic, I'd have loved to have been a fly on the wall when that idiotic decision was made--by a bunch of "responsible adults." I do struggle to figure out who annoys me more--those who thought this plan was a good one, or those who sat in the room and didn't scream from the top of their lungs "Are you out of your bleeping mind?????"
-Rob
A couple of IMacs, an iPad, a bunch of iPhones...two of which don’t live here, but I still pay for. Oh yeah, wife, daughters, and yes—a grandson!

Offline Xairbusdriver

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School system 'spies' on students via MacBooks
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2010, 04:56:19 PM »
I think many in that room would probably have liked to ask, "What is a 'webcam?'" eek2.gif They were simply to shy to admit their ignorance! rolleyes.gif

I'm not sure, but I saw a video, probably on PBS, showing a school using Mac laptops. The computer administrator showed the interviewer how he could activate the camera and see what the student was doing, presumably while in the school. Everyone seemed rather blasé about this, and it may, indeed, have been someplace that had the student sign a waiver. dntknw.gif The purported use of this capability was to see how much time the students were waisting, but the administrator stated they never did anything about finding students using the laptop (and, no doubt, Photobooth) as a mirror. Or simply sleeping. Of course, the software also enabled the admin to simply view the laptop's screen to see what was going on; game playing, homework, Facebook monitoring, etc.

I was under the impression that these laptops were assigned/restricted to a particular, public (school)room, where normal visual monitoring would be possible. That point may have been over-looked or I simply missed any words about this capability being used as in the linked article. dntknw.gif If this is done, in an open classroom, I see no problem, even with video. Anywhere else, even in the school building, could easily lead directly to invasion of privacy at worst or abuse at the least.
I don’t like the fact that my chances of survival seem to be linked to the common sense of others. :Thinking:
CAUTION! Childhood vaccinations cause adults! :yes:

Offline Paddy

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School system 'spies' on students via MacBooks
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2010, 05:07:29 PM »
Yeah - it's one thing for an individual owner of a MacBook to enable the web cam from afar to try to recover it when he/she KNOWS it has been stolen, but quite another for an entire school district to use this methodology to try to recover laptops that they *think* might have been stolen. Needless to say, the potential for abuse has already reared its ugly head.

Although...I'm waiting for some crook's lawyer to claim invasion of privacy when some poor individual IS successful in tracking down a stolen laptop via web cam... rolleyes.gif
"If computers get too powerful, we can organize them into committees. That'll do them in." ~Author unknown •iMac 5K, 27" 3.6Ghz i9 (2019) • 15" MBP(2019) 2.4Ghz i9 • 9.7" iPad Pro • iPhone 8

Offline Paddy

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School system 'spies' on students via MacBooks
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2010, 05:39:39 PM »
More details:

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/02/22/schoo...ing-infect.html
http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/23/pa-scho...ebcam-spying-v/ (see video at bottom of page...)

Apparently the PBS program Frontline aired a show called Digital Nation in which a high school principal proudly showed off the ability to monitor what the kids were doing via web cams on the laptops. The show is available online - but at 90 minutes I'm not going to sit through it all just to try to figure out if it's the same PA high school. My guess would be that it's not, and there will be more than a few districts scrambling to fix things.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/digitalnation/
"If computers get too powerful, we can organize them into committees. That'll do them in." ~Author unknown •iMac 5K, 27" 3.6Ghz i9 (2019) • 15" MBP(2019) 2.4Ghz i9 • 9.7" iPad Pro • iPhone 8

Offline Xairbusdriver

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School system 'spies' on students via MacBooks
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2010, 06:31:11 PM »
That's the show. thumbup.gif I figured I could find/link it, but you're so fast... tease.gif Must be the cold air up that way that keeps "you people" moving fast! laugh.gif Too bad the administrators couldn't think as fast as they probably talk... rolleyes.gif
I don’t like the fact that my chances of survival seem to be linked to the common sense of others. :Thinking:
CAUTION! Childhood vaccinations cause adults! :yes:

Offline RobW

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School system 'spies' on students via MacBooks
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2010, 09:14:33 PM »
QUOTE(Xairbusdriver @ Feb 23 2010, 05:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think many in that room would probably have liked to ask, "What is a 'webcam?'" eek2.gif They were simply to shy to admit their ignorance! rolleyes.gif

...

I was under the impression that these laptops were assigned/restricted to a particular, public (school)room, where normal visual monitoring would be possible. That point may have been over-looked or I simply missed any words about this capability being used as in the linked article. dntknw.gif If this is done, in an open classroom, I see no problem, even with video. Anywhere else, even in the school building, could easily lead directly to invasion of privacy at worst or abuse at the least.


With that school district (the one this thread was about), trust me--everyone in the room knew what a webcam was. This is not a little town in Central Pennsylvania made of farmers and children of coal miners. Lower Merion is a pretty wealthy area. And the laptop was "monitoring" this kid (and anybody who was in front of the camera) in his own home, not in the school.

Even if the school had reason to suspect this kid was doing something wrong, it would have been nice to speak to his parents about it.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2010, 09:17:29 PM by RobW »
-Rob
A couple of IMacs, an iPad, a bunch of iPhones...two of which don’t live here, but I still pay for. Oh yeah, wife, daughters, and yes—a grandson!

Offline krissel

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School system 'spies' on students via MacBooks
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2010, 12:58:01 AM »
Comment from a reader elsewhere:  

QUOTE
Providing there is no porn involved and the IT guy was a nice guy, this is what will happen:
a) the court will say that it was legal
b) the public outcry will cause the software to be removed
c) taxes will go up in the town to cover the future laptops that are stolen/lost and they will hire more IT people to do asset management instead of the software.
d) some kid will use the newly-freed-from-restraint laptop it to contact a 'real predator' maybe using the webcam and be abducted/molested/killed the result being that the public now cries out for 'more protection' for their children and sues the district again for not preventing it's usage on chats or other social networks.


If you go to the PBS page for Digital Nation, be sure to read through the discussion that follows. It's long but very interesting.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2010, 01:01:24 AM by krissel »


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