School laptops rigged to eavesdrop

And now for something completely messed up… “Parents in the US have accused a school of spying on children by remotely activating webcams on laptops.”

A couple from Pennsylvania have filed a lawsuit against a school district which gave laptops to its high school pupils.

They say their son was told off by teachers for “engaging in improper behaviour in his home” and that the evidence was an image from his webcam.

Lower Merion School District says it has now deactivated a tracking device installed on the laptops.

The school also said:

Schools Superintendent Christopher McGinley gives details of the security feature, which he said was activated only if a laptop was reported lost, stolen or missing.

“The security feature’s capabilities were limited to taking a still image of the operator and the operator’s screen,” he wrote.

“This feature was only used for the narrow purpose of locating a lost, stolen or missing laptop. The District never activated the security feature for any other purpose or in any other manner whatsoever.”

Except, it was brought to light by a teacher saying he/she had actually used it to spy on a student.

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Brother Jonah

About Brother Jonah

Recovering Texan. Christian while and at the same time Anarchist. (like Tolstoy only without the beard, for now) Constantly on the lookout for things which have relevance to things I already know. Autistic. Proud to be Ex- air force. Out of the killing machine for 27 years 4 months and 5 days woohoo!

1 thought on “School laptops rigged to eavesdrop

  1. Brother JonahBrother Jonah Post author

    Now there’s a federal investigation into the incidents.
    According to the BBC story the teacher who spilled the beans told the kid that his behaviior was “inappropriate”. ummm…. “You’ve been a naughty boy, Mummy must spank”?

    The implications of grownups watching teenage and pre-teen kids in what the kids thought were their private rooms are more than a little creepy.

    The school district saying they had a safety net, that the function involved was ONLY used to identify stolen or missing laptops, holds no water.

    By its very nature it would have to be a software function instead of a hardware.

    Hardware changes you can’t make without a set of tools or at the very least a phillips head scrowdriver. Software, your network administrator can make the changes.

    One suggestion that’s totally anarchistic. allow the kids to use a REAL Operating system and allow them to encrypt their data.

    I can just see the Flying Shitstorm rising over that issue, which ones do you trust, the kids who have a rebellious streak broader than te Mississippi or some nameless faceless predator who snags the Admin password for the network?

    A free open source software Operating System which is built and maintained by people who have a grudge against the Corporate System (hey, the best thinkers fall into that category, if you take off the Corporate Chains from your mind in order to compete with them, heeheeheehee) Or an Openly Top-down Dictatorial Operating Siystem that’s been hacked more times than Lizzie Bordens Parents?

    Prometheus wins. Fitting that it happens at the middle of the Olympic Games, which is a celebration of Prometheus to begin with.
    It’s what the torch is all about.

    And Microsoft is one of the major sponsors of the Olympics.

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