School Confirms Ability to Control Student Webcams

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impy1980

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I'm always suspecious of flashing lights, I know my USB Logitech cam light flashes on and off between bios and Windows as the power initiates just before Windows recognises USB devices, if it flashes any time after I make sure the lens cover is on or I unplug it.

But if I had a "loaned" laptop and the webcam light even murmurred I'd tape it up, it's bad enough ISPs can keep tabs on us, let alone anyone else.

Let's protect our online privacy, you don't get authorities checking on when you go to the store or the toilet do you?!
 

rick2689

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I agree about the insane usage of the Apple laptops. A simple netbook or 15.4 inch standard $300 notebook with basic Wifi and a Celeron. They could have also bought older laptops in decent condition. Why spoil kids with fancy laptops and using an OS that the rest of the world doesn't generally use? Most of us run Windows XP, Vista or 7. I wouldn't be surprised is Apple is trying to push their way into an untapped market. Young kids who couldn't typically afford the Mac books. Let them taste a Mac and they will be maluable for the future. They'll use Macs the rest of their lives and won't want to use a windows based computer.

I'm partially talking out of my butt though since I'm extremely sleepy.
 

joehegberg

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I hope the school officials responsible for this go to prison for a couple reasons; one, for the illegal wiretapping, two, for lying to weasel out of the illegal wire tapping. Stupid School, "We issue laptops to all students. Each laptop issued has a security feature capable of being turned on to prevent theft. We never use it to spy though. It just so happens that of the 200+ laptops issued, there was one in particular that came up as stolen. So we turned on the laptop camera to capture just one image. This one image, happened to depict one of our students doing something possibly illegal. So we thought we should do the right thing and confront this student with this one picture." This school's administration should take a course in statistics and probability. The odds of this happening is so astronomically small, that there can be no other conclusion than they are full of s++t.
 

techguy378

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Schools don't have the right to decide what kinds of behavior are appropriate in a student's home. This is as bad as an employer threatening to fire you because they found out that you smoke inside your house. If you're using a company or school computer you still have the right to complete privacy on what happens inside your home.
 
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Funny how Apple's most famous TV ad was about how their new Mac would somehow prevent the Big Brother society of George Orwell's '1984'.

Story is way too incomplete to pass final judgement, but seems like the school has much more money than common sense.
 

bad_code

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[citation][nom]dheadley[/nom]If the person was given the laptop to use for the school yearthen it is not theirs. That is not the same as saying they gave it to him so it is his. On school property or off, day or night, no matter the situation, they laptop is and always was the schools property 100%. You people going off are not being realistic here. The kid may have not done a report or homework assignment and said it was because he couldn't find his laptop so they turned it on to see who had it, only it was in the kids house all along. You have no idea what the facts are in this case. If he reported it lost with the intention of keeping it then he should be slapped with criminal charges. There could be a hundred situations where they had EVERY right to turn the camera on. All you privacy freaks don't get on your high horse and defend the rights of the crimal that steals someones smartphone and then gets caught because of a picture taken by it. No you talk smack and say the loser deserved it and praise the owner that tracked them down to get their shit back. But let it be an establishment that does the same thing and they are the evil ______ (government, corporation, school, police etc..)[/citation]

There is a big difference between someone stealing your phone or laptop and you report it and then they use the camera with your permission to find it vs a school unknowingly uses a camera without your permission and knowledge to spy and punish you for some act you do at HOME! The school is to discipline kids when they are at school not at home or anywhere else. Next if you have a beer after work you will get fired for drinking beer by your employer.

Do I have to say it again. The internet really shows the lack of intelligence of the community.
 

JohnnyLucky

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There is no doubt this is a problem that needs to be resolved. Of particular interest is the FBI concern regarding possible violations of federal wiretapping and eavesdropping laws. It will be interesting to see how this plays out within the legal system.
 

Regulas

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[citation][nom]skit75[/nom]MSN is reporting that the FBI is trying to determine if there needs to be an investigation.http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/354862 [...] e-security[/citation]
They won't. The teachers union thug boss will call Obummer up and complain. Obummer will call the FBI and end of story. Just like the DOJ dropped all charges against the New Black Panther party dressed in paramilitary uniforms intimidating voters last year with billy clubs.
 

jbc63

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Illegal. Illegal . Illegal. Even for our Socialist style public schools. Not to mention that this 'school employee' should be arrested. One would expect that most kids would have the laptop in their bedroom, and not sure about others but I have always dressed and undressed in my bedroom , this pervert "school employee" must have had a field day , accessing the equivalent of child porn, all in the name of protecting what the school "thinks" that they have the rights to. Public schools are clearly "overpowered" in what that they think they have rights to and students. They have long practiced things that are against the Constitution of the United States. That is probably why they don't teach more of it. To the young man that was violated he should sue the pants off these people.
 
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Considering that all the students are potentially subject to criminal abuse at the hands of the school officials, and some have already had their homes invaded, I do not think the principal should be allowed to address the students on this matter. If I found that there was a webcam that could be used to spy in my home, and that the people who placed it there had already taken extremely illegal actions, I would not allow those people to deliver their 'side of the story' to my child as a captive audience.
 

baov

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This is full of shit. If the laptop wasn't paid for by this student, and they knew who was late on his payment, why did they need to turn the camera on to see?
 

caustin582

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The whole "we thought the laptop was stolen" story is clearly a huge pile of BS. The original complaint made by the vice principal to the student's parents was that the student was taking part in "improper behavior in his home." Only afterward did the school totally backpedal and claim that this was all for the sake of locating a possibly stolen laptop.

Either way, the fact remains that the school's IT department (and apparently the rest of its faculty) had full access to the all the students' webcams. That is a huge violation of privacy, as well as a downright crime considering the students' ages, any way you spin it. There are people who need to be sent to jail for this (one of them being the school district's accountant for blowing all those funds on Apple luxury products).
 

4ILY45

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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.
WTF??
How in hell would you be able to locate a laptop with just a still image?
If there's a SIM card in it...thats more logical..
 

anamaniac

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A private company decided to give my old school a ton of laptops for the students.
The staff got the idea that, instead of giving them to students, every teacher would get one and the rest would be locked away...

I hate how schools are run. =(
 

brianmoz

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Surelythatnamedoesntexist is the only person who is thinking clearly or responding to the content of the article. I'm from the school district next to that and yes the area is loaded. Honestly folks it is fun to fantasize about evil perverse principles but look at the facts, read the whole story , and think about what really probably happened
 

ossie

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Are getting schools the new training camp for the big brother surveillance society's future members? Many idiots deem it necessary to excuse, or even encourage, the abusive actions of the implicated bureaucrats. Seems the m$m big brother shows had enough bad influence on the idiot tube addicts.
Sadly many state employees "feel the urge" to use police state tactics for getting their power trip. Leading the pack is the police kingdom, followed closely by the former colonies.
 
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I live not far from Lower Merion School District. What the school did was completely illegal, but they'll get around it with story fabrication and politics. They always do.

Furthermore, a laptop can be tracked without turning on the webcam. Also, if it were my school laptop I would put a piece of electrical tape over the webcam lens.
 
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