School Confirms Ability to Control Student Webcams

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It's a system intended for aiding recovery of stolen laptops, not conducting surveillance of their students' lives 24/7.
The school invaded the student's privacy by deciding it could punish the him for his behavior at home using the image as evidence.

If the obtained material was irrelevant to recovery of a stolen laptop, why was it not disposed of and used against the student?
Who gives the school the right to monitor and control their students' activities outside school premises?
Did the school have a warrant to obtain evidence against the student?

"Welcome to the new edition of "Big Brother". It's not like we'd ask whether you want to participate."
 
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But... Isn't Intel vPro the tool of choice for MacBook recovery? I mean, give a school some anti-theft tools, and they ignore them and go straight for the webcam. This is why you should always keep a piece of electric tape over any builtin webcam when you are not using it.

And what exactly was this 'tool' they installed to do it? Is it 3rd party, or did Apple and/or the NSA provide it?
 

rockstone1

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I go to a Highschool that provides Free laptops to all students (it is a public one as well). However, we use regular laptops (not mac books). We don't really have any privacy on our laptops- and we shouldn't. It is the school's not ours.
 

wild9

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Too many grey areas. The school's response gives practically nothing to go on, which is hardly surprising considering the case is still pending.

Did the laptop come up "lost or stolen?" If not, then why was the device's concealed camera activated?
 

wild9

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[citation][nom]rockstone1[/nom]We don't really have any privacy on our laptops- and we shouldn't. It is the school's not ours.[/citation]

Constitutional rights are there to ensure a certain level of privacy in your own dwelling. These camera's are capable violating those rights.
 

si7entsam

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it was probably just come punk kid smoking weed. I really want to know what the kid did. =D and Macbooks srsly wtf?
 

drksilenc

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ok this is all just stupid... its called mac address tracking these school's need to learn how to use there own hardware and not spy on people... if you have a mac address you can find any computer by ip address location finder for stolen laptops...
 
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I am a Computer Technician at a Middle School. In this school District only the Teachers are being provided MacBooks (so far).

The reason that MacBooks are the device of choice is simply cost. Apple has agreed to a rather good deal for the MacBooks. We also use 17" iMac Desktops and are probably going to the 20" iMac Desktops when we start replacing the computer labs.

No other computer company out there would make as good of a deal as Apple did, end of story.

So, to those crying about mis-spent money, get your facts first. Yes Apple is very expensive for Individual buyers. But they offer the best deals to the school districts bar none.

And to those who are going to cry "Apple fan-boy", I own a PC at home. Mac is too damn expensive for me.
 

lehighace06

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As an interesting detail to the story, the 'improper behavior' suspected was using pills, as it happens he was eating Mike & Ike's (capsule shaped, colorful candy)
 

lehighace06

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separately from that tidbit i provided, i have to express my concern with the freudian implications of all of the people crying "pervert" on the IT guy who snapped the shots. why in god's name would you automatically assume that the person doing this was doing anything other than their job? i am in no way defending what is clearly an invasion of privacy, but i have to disagree with any assumption on motive. i'm well aware that the internet is full of perverts, but this is a school district employee, not 4chan
 

jgiron

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school districts have contracts with computer companies and they get an educational discount as well as bulk discount depending on how many they buy. So if they bought 1000 macbooks it might have costed the $600 per laptop. I work in this industry and have 1st hand knowledge about the pricing.

However, the laptop was already purchased unless there was some kind of deposit (which doesn't make sense for students of low income houses). If the computer was not checked-out but activated (which they can track then they have a case. However, I don't believe that is the case in this situation. The VP unlawfully did this and now he has put his district, school and himself in hot water.
It's even worse that the parents/ child knew that they could be spied on. I bet those laptops will be returned to the school.
 
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Brilliant. Sue them and get a small payout while the lawyer gets rich while your taxes go up. Was it wrong yes but a lawsuit is only going to screw the very people that are initiating it. That will show them.
 

grieve

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[citation][nom]gotoman[/nom]I think the FBI should investigate to see if the computers have been used to violate the children in a pornographic manor.[/citation]
I agree...

I have a suspicion that someone has been watching a lot of children all year long.

This situation is crazy, how is there not an external investigation already! Consider every child in this school has a laptop that people can remotely turn on the camera whenever they want! this is MENTAL! AND..AND..AND the users have no idea this can be done!

Check the principles office for kiddie porn.
 

TeraMedia

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Apparently, the kid was charged with using an illegal substance. The district claims they saw the kid pop a pill (his parents claim it was a piece of candy, btw), and presumed he was a drug dealer.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100222/ap_on_re_us/us_laptops_spying_on_students

The school administrators responsible should not pass Go, and should not collect $200. I think as punishment for the crime, the Super, Principal, VP, and IT techs at the school should be forced to wear helmet cams 24x7 for 7 years (the apparent duration of the intrusions, overall). They must broadcast those cams on public web pages for all to see. For however long the camera is turned off, obstructed, tampered with, etc., those people can rot in jail. Web site ad proceeds to benefit the victims.
 

the_brute

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Was there A End User agreement?
To me its schools property. (if the kid/gardian signed anything)
And if its school property the content laws govern the situation dont they?
Before conspiraters attack, give us some facts.
And Apple products are much cheaper for government/education. Also many times the government pays Grants for the technology. (Nice to know my tax money is going to some far off school so they can each have laptops, vs my old school having 2 labs with old Win 3.11 in 2005)
 

voxleo

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Why is no one even questioning the supposed utility of activating a webcam in case someone reports the thing lost? Seems to me that might not be particularly practical since all the students at the school already are given one; precisely WHO is then going to be looking at the feed that might be able to discerne the whereabouts of the machine unless they happen to know the people that took it in the first place? At MOST I could see it being useful only after the fact, as evidence in a trial of someone who has already been accused/arrested for taking it. Otherwise it would be like trying to give red light camera tickets by captureing the drivers face only instead of by license plate and without knowing what intersection they were in and trying to guess from the scenery!
 
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The anonymous blog regarding the car cam: There is a big difference in property security cameras and giving a spy capable device directly to any person, in this case children, without express and detailed information to the ability of the spy technology. Police should be viewing in panel of others if the computer is known to be used in criminal activities. School persons should never have that ability at any level. A full investigation is needed by the authorities. A violation of trust at this level is far beyond creepy.
 
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