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Author Topic: School district spying on kids at home  (Read 11179 times)

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Offline Rico

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Re: School district spying on kids at home
« Reply #30 on: February 23, 2010, 07:14:21 AM »
We'll see.  I really doubt that anything signed said, "We can spy on your kids at anytime.  Even when they are not at school and half naked in their rooms at home."
All they had to do was sign something that says the school has monitoring devices in the computer and will use them at their discretion.

Well, they were not made of aware of the webcam software and use.  Here is a quote from one of the articles on this:

The school district has admitted that parents had not been informed of the software's installation or operation.  "This notice should have been given and we regret that was not done."  said Dr. Christopher W. McGinley, superintendent of schools for the Lower Merion School District.

The FBI is also now investigating since wire-tapping like this breaks several Federal laws.  I'm telling you, the district is in deep poo-doo.

Offline spaltor

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Re: School district spying on kids at home
« Reply #31 on: February 23, 2010, 08:18:51 AM »
Even if that had signed something, that LARGE majority of things parents/schools/business/etc sign would hold no water in court at all.  They're not legally binding at all.  But the issuing body wants the signee to think that they are, so they won't press the issue.  That how they unnamed "they" can get away with as much as they do - no one questions it.

Offline Bromptonboy

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Re: School district spying on kids at home
« Reply #32 on: February 23, 2010, 04:43:49 PM »
I'll bet you that any other school districts out there that are giving laptops to students are scrambling.
Pete

Offline KingIsaacLinksr

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Re: School district spying on kids at home
« Reply #33 on: February 23, 2010, 08:10:11 PM »
Thus the reason I'm glad for my own computer.  But, ductape works just as well :P

This is wrong on a lot of levels.  Sure makes me wary of buying computers from such a local source again.  Still, that's why my camera has a cover over it.  In case someone tried to hack and take a picture.  Going to be one black picture they are going to get back. 

As per encrypted Wifi, tbh, its really not that well protected.  Its mostly to keep the average consumer out.  Hackers probably could easily hack it, and even myself have been able to access protected wifi networks before.  There are tricks to it.  Even non-unlawful. 

King
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Offline Rico

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Offline ChadH

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Re: School district spying on kids at home
« Reply #35 on: April 18, 2010, 02:00:58 PM »
The high school my youngest son is currently attending has recently announced that they will be issuing laptops to their students next year. In the announcement they did confirm that the laptops will be equipped with cameras. This particular story was the first thing I thought of. I'll be watching to see what happens over the next couple of years.

Offline Rico

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Re: School district spying on kids at home
« Reply #36 on: April 18, 2010, 02:06:17 PM »
What continues to impress and shock me more than the story itself is that there are school districts out there that can afford to buy and pass out laptops to students.  Most school districts are really suffering these days for $$$.  Laying off teachers and closing schools.  Not sure what the taxes are like in these areas that give out laptops to use.

Offline ChadH

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Re: School district spying on kids at home
« Reply #37 on: April 18, 2010, 02:57:03 PM »
Frankly Rico, since our school board recently announced some upcoming big budget cuts, I wonder where the money is coming from as well. I haven't had a chance to do any real research on the story. Ted Waitt, one the co-founders of Gateway computers is from this area. Waitt continues to be philanthropically active locally, so it wouldn't surprise me if they were a donation on his part. Purely speculation on my part though.

Offline Rico

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Re: School district spying on kids at home
« Reply #38 on: April 18, 2010, 04:11:33 PM »
Frankly Rico, since our school board recently announced some upcoming big budget cuts, I wonder where the money is coming from as well. I haven't had a chance to do any real research on the story. Ted Waitt, one the co-founders of Gateway computers is from this area. Waitt continues to be philanthropically active locally, so it wouldn't surprise me if they were a donation on his part. Purely speculation on my part though.

That would be one way to explain it - if the laptops were donated specifically on their own.  Still, it seems a bit of a shame when so many are struggling to keep their jobs in schools to see this happening.

Offline KingIsaacLinksr

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Re: School district spying on kids at home
« Reply #39 on: April 18, 2010, 09:00:35 PM »
What continues to impress and shock me more than the story itself is that there are school districts out there that can afford to buy and pass out laptops to students.  Most school districts are really suffering these days for $$$.  Laying off teachers and closing schools.  Not sure what the taxes are like in these areas that give out laptops to use.

*Warning, bitter short post ahead*

Post removed by Tim because frankly it added nothing but bitterness.

King
« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 09:02:18 PM by Kingisaaclinksr »
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Offline KatzeKitty

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Re: School district spying on kids at home
« Reply #40 on: April 24, 2010, 10:58:12 AM »
Regarding the cost of the laptops, basic school-grade laptops are only a few hundred dollars (think $300 "netbook").  Compare that to purchasing multiple copies of required texts for three-six years (assume $400 'puter over four years = $100/year... not bad at all).  Plus, the laptop provides the advantage of up-to-date materials.  Some of the texts these kids have to use are woefully out of date.  This technology also allows for the savings of printing and paper as assignments and other "handouts" can be shared online.  Plus, no more hassle for the kids who don't have computers at home and therefore have more hurdles in getting their work done, getting the learning/grades they are capable of, and potentially enjoying learning.

In our high school, there's a kid enrolled in the regular curriculum via skype and other technology because he cannot physically attend classes and sit in desks... some kind of degenerative back problem, I think.  He "attends" class through his computer, and his teacher can see if he's understanding the material because he can see the expression on the kids' face (I've heard from math teachers that this is the primary way to really know if someone's "getting it").

Ok, I'm done :)

~katekitty

Offline Bromptonboy

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Re: School district spying on kids at home
« Reply #41 on: April 24, 2010, 11:41:17 AM »
This all took place in an area of the western Philadelphia suburbs that is very affluent.  It is usually rated as the top school district in Pennsylvania (Lower Merion).  The school taxes are very high in that school district, giving them the money for these sort of projects.   Just a few miles away in the Philadelphia school district, things are quite a bit different.
Not fair, but there it is.
Pete

Offline Jobydrone

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Re: School district spying on kids at home
« Reply #42 on: August 17, 2010, 12:30:58 PM »
http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20100817_U_S__ends_webcam_probe__no_charges.htmlU.S. ends webcam probe; no charges
By John P. Martin

INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

Federal prosecutors on Tuesday closed their investigation into Lower Merion School District's secret use of software to track student laptops, saying they found no evidence that anyone intentionally committed a crime.

The decision, announced by U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger, ended a six-month probe by the FBI into allegations that district employees might have spied on students through webcams on their school-issued laptops.

In a brief statement released by his office, Memeger didn't disclose details of the investigation, but said agents and prosecutors concluded that charges were unwarranted.

"For the government to prosecute a criminal case, it must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person charged acted with criminal intent," his statement said. "We have not found evidence that would establish beyond a reasonable doubt that anyone involved had criminal intent."

The announcement represented an unusual step for federal investigators. The FBI and U.S. Attorneys' offices rarely acknowledge when they begin or end a criminal inquiry.

Memeger's predecessor, Michael Levy, disclosed the probe in February because of the community interest and visibility in the allegations, he said at the time. Memeger's announcement on Tuesday was intended "to close at least one part of this matter" before the new school year opens, he said.

His decision came a day after the Lower Merion School Board adopted new policies governing how, when and why staff will track the take-home laptops Lower Merion issues to every high school student.

Henry E. Hockeimer Jr., a lawyer for the school district, welcomed the news.

"The district is certainly gratified that after a hard look into this matter, the FBI and United States Attorney have concluded that no criminal conduct occurred," Hockeimer said.

He noted that it was consistent with the findings of internal investigation that he supervised earlier this year.

The FBI probe included interviews with the two school district information technology employees who were suspended with pay when the laptop tracking program came to light in February. Both had the authority to activate the laptop tracking software and access webcam photos, though have denied any wrongdoing.

The district has maintained that technicians used the software only to find lost or missing laptops, but acknowledged that staffers often forgot to turn off the tracking system after they turned it on.

Hockeimer declined to say whether either suspended employee will return to work this fall, saying it was a personnel matter.

Meanwhile, two civil lawsuits over the laptop monitoring program remain unresolved. Both were filed by students who claim the district invaded their privacy by secretly snapping hundreds of webcam photos, including shots of them inside their homes.

The students' attorney, Mark S. Haltzman, said the prosecutors' decision bolstered the need for new laws. He noted legislation proposed by U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (D., Pa.) that would expand wiretap laws to cover technology such as laptop webcams.

"The inability of the federal government to prosecute those persons involved in the spying on the LMSD students and their families through school issued laptops underscores the importance of Sen. Specter's efforts to amend the criminal statutes to close the loop holes in our current laws," Haltzman said.

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Offline Rico

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Re: School district spying on kids at home
« Reply #43 on: August 17, 2010, 01:12:44 PM »
Lame!  So as long as you don't "intentionally commit a crime" it's still ok?? 

Offline X

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Re: School district spying on kids at home
« Reply #44 on: August 17, 2010, 01:38:20 PM »
Lame!  So as long as you don't "intentionally commit a crime" it's still ok??  
For this particular charge, it makes sense. We do a lot of things without criminal intent and still get prosecuted for it. We are fortunate when we don't. Take for instance your hosting of videos. I'm 100% sure they could sue for copyright infringement. You mean nothing illegal, but I'm pretty sure that if they did file charges, you would be very pleased if they passed down a similar ruling. They made a very bad mistake. It wasn't a criminal mistake, but I'm sure that they will still have to deal with civil charges. It's one thing to pay fines an another to go to jail over it.

 




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