School Confirms Ability to Control Student Webcams

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Goro

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We still don't know what the student was punished for. If he was punished for taking the laptop with out permission and the laptop came up as lost then I see no problems.

Now!!

If the kid was punished for doing something else at his home and it has nothing to do with the laptop well thats a whole another issue.

Still, either way having the ability to activate the webcam gives me the creeps. Imagine if this was your child I would do some damage control at the school district.
 
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What if the student dropped out or transferred or whatever and the school asked for the laptop back? What if, upon being asked for the laptop back, the student said that it had been lost or stolen? What if, upon being told that the laptop was lost or stolen, the school activated the security feature and obtained pictures of the student using the laptop (an illegal activity once you claim that the laptop was lost or stolen)? What if that's the only illegal activity the kid is being persued because of?

If I install a remotely accessible camera in my car and someone steals my car then am I not allowed to activate the camera for fear that the car may now be in someone's private garage (equivalent of stolen laptop in student's home) or because there might be naked underage kids making out in it (the possessing child porn angle)?

'Seems like a lot of conclusions are being drawn here in the absence of a lot of facts. I'm not saying the school board did the right thing here - perhaps they were well and truly in the wrong, but it seems as though many are unwilling or unable to make room for the possibility that there actions may have been legal and valid.
 

coldmast

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Hey Kids, it's time to rebel, do you care about personal freedoms or would you rather have a macbook? I think you should hand these macbooks back to the school with the a message, "take this book and shove it".
 
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I must admit, after blatantly and illegally violating the student's rights in an inexcusably heavy handed way, getting caught in the act, and sued by an obviously competent law firm, it didn't take the school district long to fabricate a plausible story. I'm envious - when I was young and foolish, I could never make up such a good excuse so fast.
 

theubersmurf

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This is an odd situation, Every student provided with a laptop, except him...Which the school activated to find out the location of? Something smells fishy. I don't know what he did, but if he was a student, it seems like the justification of the school may either be fabricated, or a mistake on their part (not registering it to it's user or something), in either case they violated his privacy.

The photo is probably inadmissible as evidence, since it was information gathered by someone other than the police (provided there's even a case of any kind against this kid). They can probably investigate based on it, but not use it as evidence for an arrest. The laws regarding the gathering of evidence are pretty strict...or were until the patriot act. I'm wondering if "evidence" gathered by a non-enforcement agency has any weight at all. And what did he do? Smoke some grass or something?

The point is that he probably should sue imo. His shool surveilling him at home (whether or not it is accidental, and I kind of doubt that) is a pretty straightforward violation of privacy rights, and downright Orwellian. They could pursue his having stolen the laptop, but that's not the issue they brought up with him, they brought up his illegal activity...making their claims for the reasons for their actions suspect.
 

skit75

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The premise we are presented with is that the laptops were "given" to the students to use for the whole year yet thier justification for activating the webcam was that the laptop was not paid for? It doesn't look good for the administrators of this program at all if these are the facts.
The original story hinted at other students aware of the webcam activation lights periodically turning on so, it doesn't seem to be an isolated event either. Of course they had to claim responsibility if they are disciplining the student with the webcam as thier evidence.
 

mariushm

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Sure they needed cameras to track down who stole the laptop... because a thief is not smart enough to use a duct tape over the camera sensor.

Nah, it's just schools going overboard and weird teachers - he wouldn't have the right to punish kids for what they do outside the school anyway.

The lawsuit is perfectly fine. And for those that say the parents should take care of their children better instead of suing the school - you don't know what the "inappropriate behavior" was or whatever was said as reason.

Maybe the kid masturbated, or just swore or talked dirty with a girlfriend or watched some porn - maybe nothing illegal at all. It's not the school's responsability for what the children do after they leave their premises.
 

kingnoobe

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I think this is bs. Um they provided the laptops.. But since it wasn't paid for they turned it on? Did they ever send a warning to the kids parent/s. Seems like they knew who had it, why they had it, it's just the kid didn't pay for it yet/in time. Thus, no reason to even bother turning it on when they could've simply have taking it back.

Ya, I hope the kid wins this suit as it's well deserved.
 

lilwillis

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If I had one of these... I would just put tape over the cam and continue on. I am sure that would piss the school executives off even more!
 

lilwillis

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[citation][nom]SurelyThisUserNameDoesntAlreadyExis[/nom]What if the student dropped out or transferred or whatever and the school asked for the laptop back? What if, upon being asked for the laptop back, the student said that it had been lost or stolen? What if, upon being told that the laptop was lost or stolen, the school activated the security feature and obtained pictures of the student using the laptop blah blah blah blah[/citation]
Hey retard, its called lojack and you can get it with many laptops without having invasion of privacy issues like one of these kids leaving this laptop open in their bedroom while changing. Didn't think much of that did you? There are many ways of keeping track of laptops and other items that don't constitute invasion of privacy concerns and would not risk lawsuits against the school. GPS chips, locations software, etc etc.
 
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["The laptops do contain a security feature intended to track lost, stolen and missing laptops."]
[(...) student Blake J. Robbins was disciplined for "improper behavior in his home" by the Vice Principal, who provided a photo taken by the webcam as evidence.]
Was the obtained image used to track the laptop? No, it was used as evidence of the student's improper behavior at home.

[The tracking-security feature was limited to taking a still image of the operator and the operator's screen.]
[(...) disciplined for "improper behavior(...)]
Behavior is a set of activities, not a still pose. So either multiple stills were taken or a video was captured, contrary to just one still.
 

kravmaga

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Why apple?
I'm gonna guess it's to make it harder for kids to torrent a rootkit edition of MW2 to install on it.
Why not linux then?
I'll venture a stab that it'll stop kids from spewing white foam raging at how their browser can't play that flash animation on howstuffworks.com and why the thing can't run photoshop or find a driver for their printer.

Frankly, schools providing laptops to kids was a pretty fucking retarded idea to begin with. Almost all legitimate educational uses for computers can be satisfied by installing machines in a library under supervision. Everything else's just looking for ways to inflate spendings so that the next quarter's budget isn't axed...
 

theubersmurf

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[citation][nom]kravmaga[/nom]Why apple?I'm gonna guess it's to make it harder for kids to torrent a rootkit edition of MW2 to install on it.Why not linux then?I'll venture a stab that it'll stop kids from spewing white foam raging at how their browser can't play that flash animation on howstuffworks.com and why the thing can't run photoshop or find a driver for their printer.Frankly, schools providing laptops to kids was a pretty fucking retarded idea to begin with. Almost all legitimate educational uses for computers can be satisfied by installing machines in a library under supervision. Everything else's just looking for ways to inflate spendings so that the next quarter's budget isn't axed...[/citation]The platform is entirely unimportant. The expense is, but not at the moment, it's completely immaterial to what's happening here.
 

azz156

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what confuses me is as far as i can tell the students were all loaned a laptop for the year, no one has said anything about the parents having to pay for these laptops. so what that guy said about the student not paying for it doesnt make sense.

what i would like to know is what the student was doing that was so bad
 

m-manla

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[citation][nom]False_Dmitry_II[/nom]They're providing MACBOOKS!? of all things? Seems really expensive for a school. Why aren't they netbooks or at least regular laptops? How did they manage to convince anyone to go this far in the budget?[/citation]

Apple probably sold it to them for $400. You know deep down those things aren't really suppose to cost that much.
 

the associate

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Maybe the laptops were subsidized by the black market child porn industry. I wish it weren't true myself but there are to many "top" players in the government system that will make sure that trash never dies, it just makes to much money. Oh how much more civilized we were compared to a millennium ago...more civilized people in general maybe, but also alot more stupid people :)
 
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