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View Full Version : Pennsylvania School Spies on Students in their Homes


XnavxeMiyyep
Feb 18, 2010, 11:44 PM
According to the filings in Blake J Robbins v Lower Merion School District (PA) et al, the laptops issued to high-school students in the well-heeled Philly suburb have webcams that can be covertly activated by the schools' administrators, who have used this facility to spy on students and even their families. The issue came to light when the Robbins's child was disciplined for "improper behavior in his home" and the Vice Principal used a photo taken by the webcam as evidence.

link to article (http://www.boingboing.net/2010/02/17/school-used-student.html)

Hope the people who implemented this get in some serious trouble.

Forsaken
Feb 19, 2010, 01:17 AM
Talk about caring for their students' privacy.

Abstract
Feb 19, 2010, 03:30 AM
http://jimluiz.com/bricabrac/images/files/Pedobear-Approved.jpg

instaxgirl
Feb 19, 2010, 07:26 AM
And I think friends who put stickers over their webcams are paranoid. Urgh

notjustjay
Feb 19, 2010, 09:32 AM
How is that NOT illegal? :confused:

Disc Golfer
Feb 19, 2010, 10:24 AM
What is a high school doing issuing laptops to students in the first place?

MacNut
Feb 19, 2010, 10:55 AM
What is a high school doing issuing laptops to students in the first place?Flowers with a camera in it was a little too obvious so laptops were the next best thing.

KingYaba
Feb 19, 2010, 12:25 PM
Time to uninstall the camera drivers.

mscriv
Feb 19, 2010, 01:39 PM
Let's not forget about any teachers with school issued laptops. I bet they were being spied on too.

This is the kind of story that finds it's way into a Law & Order episode.

rdowns
Feb 19, 2010, 03:01 PM
The jackasses responsible for this should go to jail and be forced to have their incarceration viewed via webcam 24/7.

HitchHykr
Feb 19, 2010, 03:16 PM
This is "Back To My Mac" right? It can be and it has been used to recover stolen Macs, including some school Macs that were stolen from a high school in this area. I'm not condoning spying on the students but the technology has useful purposes.

localoid
Feb 19, 2010, 03:20 PM
Pa. school: Webcams used 42 times to find laptops (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/19/AR2010021902004.html)

PHILADELPHIA -- A Pennsylvania school district says it remotely activated webcams 42 times to find missing student laptops, but never did so to spy on students, as a lawsuit claims.

rdowns
Feb 19, 2010, 03:25 PM
Pa. school: Webcams used 42 times to find laptops (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/19/AR2010021902004.html)


The issue came to light when the Robbins's child was disciplined for "improper behavior in his home" and the Vice Principal used a photo taken by the webcam as evidence. The suit is a class action, brought on behalf of all students issued with these machines.

Somebody has some 'splaining to do.

iOrlando
Feb 19, 2010, 03:57 PM
question:
would you secretly do this to your gf/bf...like give them a laptop to use and then have the secret camera turn on.

i'm not sure I would want to know what they do when I wasn't there. I'm not so concerned about what they see me do when they aren't around.

localoid
Feb 19, 2010, 03:59 PM
Somebody has some 'splaining to do.

I had a principal in jr. high that frequently told students that he had an electric paddling machine in his office, something believed by only the most paranoid students...

velocityg4
Feb 20, 2010, 06:11 AM
Given the way teachers unions work. All those involved will likely get three months leave with full pay and benefits with rehabilitation at a resort in the Bahamas.

One can only hope the courts will punish them, as firing is nearly impossible. Not just drain money from the school district with no consequences for those involved.

Though I don't know if the administrators are as well protected.

question:
would you secretly do this to your gf/bf...like give them a laptop to use and then have the secret camera turn on.

i'm not sure I would want to know what they do when I wasn't there. I'm not so concerned about what they see me do when they aren't around.

No. If one feels they need to then the relationship should be ended immediately.

ucfgrad93
Feb 20, 2010, 09:10 AM
How is that NOT illegal? :confused:

I'm pretty sure that it is illegal.

sanPietro98
Feb 20, 2010, 10:57 AM
Reason #1224 why no level of government should be involved in the education of our children.

bigrell486
Feb 20, 2010, 11:49 AM
Reason #1224 why no level of government should be involved in the education of our children.

No, it isn't. This statement makes no sense.

It was the district itself that decided to do this. Not the government.

Also with no government intervention in the education of its citizens, children would be taught all types of different materials and their would deficiencies in their education in some area or another.

Even people who choose to home school their children because "no level of government should be involved in the education of our children" have to stick to the script or else your child will be considered not proficiently educated in some area or another.

The only area where government has failed with education, is no child left behind.

Sorry for the rant, but you were blaming some the government for something that had nothing to do with and it seemed like you were trying to blast some weird paranoia you have for standardization and proficiency.

sanPietro98
Feb 20, 2010, 01:38 PM
No, it isn't. This statement makes no sense.

It was the district itself that decided to do this. Not the government.

Also with no government intervention in the education of its citizens, children would be taught all types of different materials and their would deficiencies in their education in some area or another.

Even people who choose to home school their children because "no level of government should be involved in the education of our children" have to stick to the script or else your child will be considered not proficiently educated in some area or another.

The only area where government has failed with education, is no child left behind.

Sorry for the rant, but you were blaming some the government for something that had nothing to do with and it seemed like you were trying to blast some weird paranoia you have for standardization and proficiency.

The district is a government entity. The decision to "give" computers to kids was made by a pseudo-government beaurocrat, namely some superintendent.

Government control of education is inherently destructive because most of the families have absolutely NO CHOICE in where to send their kids. If a school is failing, the only recourse is to pay school taxes as well as tuition to a private school. There is no free market for schools. Why not?

And this story is an example of a "failure" by a school system. I live in the region where this happened. This is just one of many examples of school failure in one way or another.

Don't be sorry for the rant. This is a topic that gets too little discussion.

mac88
Feb 20, 2010, 01:42 PM
I can't believe this is true. I'm in shock that they thought that they could get away with such intrusion. Looks like the district is going to be bankrupt due to all the lawsuits. Good luck! :D

niuniu
Feb 20, 2010, 01:43 PM
Lawsuits and journalism are one thing.. facts are another. It's a bit far out, so will wait until we have the judgement and full details before declaring how crazy it all is :eek:

sanPietro98
Feb 20, 2010, 01:48 PM
The only area where government has failed with education, is no child left behind.

I absolutely agree with you. NCLB was a giant failure, but we probably disagree as to why.

pooky
Feb 21, 2010, 09:45 AM
There is no free market for schools. Why not?

Because the free market has utterly failed us in so many respects. Why should we let it screw up the schools, too? Would you prefer schools to be run like the auto industry? Or maybe the telecommunications industry. Health care? Banking?

1. Our schools get bigger, flashier. They get terrible gas mileage. They focus on one popular subject to the exclusion of all others, because it is what the parents want, and so it is what brings in the most money. A generation later, when the world changes, the schools are too big to change quickly, they go belly up, and our students can't compete with the Japanese.

2. The largest cities will have 3-4 different good school systems to choose from, but they will be so expensive that the poor and lower-middle class can't go. These people (often majorities in the cities) will be forced into lower-cost schools with shoddy equipment and terrible bandwidth, or will be forced to go to free schools in public places like the city center, where the schools will be so crowded almost nothing can be accomplished. Smaller towns and cities will generally have only one choice for schools, and the school corporations will rabidly fight any competing schools that try to establish, to the point of buying or burying any independent schools that get set up. Rural areas are just out of luck; if they want to go to school, they will be forced to do so by mailing handwritten letters to the nearest city (unless we privatize the mail, too).

3. Similar in distribution to the second example, but with coverage in rural areas. Individuals with learning disabilities will be ineligible to attend. To get into school, a complicated underwriting process will be necessary; any pre-existing knowledge identified by the examination will prevent the prospective student from taking classes covering those topics. This will be a broad definition; knowing the date the declaration of Independence was signed will be enough to make you ineligible for all history classes. If you know the Pythagorean theorem, you're not eligible for the entire 10th-12th grades. If the school suspects you lied about pre-existing knowledge, for example by doing well on an exam, you will be expelled from school with no chance for appeal. Costs will rise by 10% a year, yet somehow tuition will increase by 50%. Children under an employer-sponsored group plan (approx. 50% of the market) will have a significant advantage, as they can attend classes for which their pre-existing knowledge would otherwise exempt them so long as there are enough dumb children in the group to balance out the smarties.

Banking would be fun, but I need some breakfast. I think the point is made and over-made, anyway.

Rodimus Prime
Feb 21, 2010, 02:55 PM
While I agree with the school for putting the tracking software on the laptops and in theory it was a good idea. If it was used correctly it would of been great. Problem is the school failed to use it correctly.

The correct way to use it would be to find lost or stolen laptops since they do belong to the school I can not blame them for wanting to try to get them back if lost. The only other reason I could think of it being used would be during school hours providing the kid is at school.

Those are the only 2 reason I could think of that it would ever be acceptable to active the tracking software and monitor the activities.

The school failed in that respect because they used it on a failing to find a lost laptop and the student clearly was not at school.

nelsencaleb
Feb 21, 2010, 04:20 PM
If the school did this to me, I'd defiantly sue. They would owe me money even after they were shut down..I'd re-sue! SUCH AN INVASION..

What if I recorded them having sex on the desk and put it on a billboard outside of the school?

Answer: prob. get suspended or something crazy like that..

Iscariot
Feb 21, 2010, 07:20 PM
Reason #1224 why no level of government should be involved in the education of our children.

I'm getting pretty tired of the people who make my food, my car, the elevator in my apartment and my appliances knowing how to read safety instructions.

chrono1081
Feb 22, 2010, 06:08 AM
What on earth is pedobear? I see it all the time and I looked it up on encyclopedia dramatica but it didn't explain much.

Fishman9898
Mar 3, 2010, 08:45 AM
Activating the camera can catch criminals...? Yes, so can searching a suspected criminal's house. In order to invade someone's privacy like that, a judge has to sign a search warrant. There should be the same procedure for activating the camera.