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Old Sep 26, 2013, 09:55 AM   #1
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L.A. School District Halting Home Use of Issued iPads After Students Bypass Content Restrictions




Back in June, Apple announced that it had been awarded a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Unified School District to supply 35,000 iPads to students in the district. That program was announced as a pilot effort that was projected to lead to all 640,000 students in the district receiving iPads by the end of 2014.

However, a report from the Los Angeles Times indicates that the school district is experiencing difficulties with students bypassing content restrictions on the devices, thus forcing the school district to halt the home use of the tablets and jeopardizing the full rollout of the program.
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It took exactly one week for nearly 300 students at Theodore Roosevelt High School to hack through security so they could surf the Web on their new school-issued iPads, raising new concerns about a plan to distribute the devices to all students in the district.

"Outside of the district's network ... a user is free to download content and applications and browse the Internet without restriction," two senior administrators said in a memo to the Board of education and L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy. "As student safety is of paramount concern, breach of the ... system must not occur."
Specifically, the students simply deleted personal profiles from the district-issued iPads, which then enabled them to browse websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pandora, all of which had been blocked on the devices.

Apple has long had a heavy focus on the educational market, entering a new phase with the introduction of the iPad in 2010. The company has also often discounted its product lineup for students with its yearly back-to-school program, and has pushed its initiative to bring iPads to classroom on an international scale, as evidenced by its efforts to land educational deal in Turkey that would see the country purchasing more than $4.5 billion worth of iPads.

Article Link: L.A. School District Halting Home Use of Issued iPads After Students Bypass Content Restrictions
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 09:59 AM   #2
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The iPad is a learning tool on multiple levels
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 09:59 AM   #3
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Or the title could be: "Big brother LA school district finds that kids are smarter than the geniuses who set this up".

Why would the LA School District care what the kids do on the iPads? Get a clue, the kids can surf from other devices too, and blocking it is just stupid.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 09:59 AM   #4
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I don't see why they would halt the trial because the students are using the internet at home, from what I understand the school's network still blocks the content while they're at school.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:00 AM   #5
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I'm not surprised.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:01 AM   #6
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Maybe they missed the option where the user can't remove a profile, set up by Apple Configurator...
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:02 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by centauratlas View Post
Or the title could be: "Big brother LA school district finds that kids are smarter than the geniuses who set this up".

Why would the LA School District care what the kids do on the iPads? Get a clue, the kids can surf from other devices too, and blocking it is just stupid.
because kids are stupid, one of them will meet a child predator using the iPad browsing the web, and then sue the school.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:02 AM   #8
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The only disconcerting thing about this is if the school district was deploying using Configurator. Then that may be a larger issue. ...or maybe just poor implementation.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:04 AM   #9
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So they put restrictions on their Wifi network and expected the iPads to be restricted when linked to every other network?

How asinine.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:04 AM   #10
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If it was done right, this wouldn't have happened. This one is obviously on the IT department, not the students fault.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:05 AM   #11
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The problem is that they're just using an ActiveSync profile instead of a MobileConfig profile with a MDM server to lock down these iPads.

Last edited by ShiroiShimaTora; Sep 26, 2013 at 11:06 AM.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by centauratlas View Post
Or the title could be: "Big brother LA school district finds that kids are smarter than the geniuses who set this up".

Why would the LA School District care what the kids do on the iPads? Get a clue, the kids can surf from other devices too, and blocking it is just stupid.
Big brother LA school? They paid for the devices. They can slap whatever controls they want.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by gpat View Post
So they put restrictions on their Wifi network and expected the iPads to be restricted when linked to every other network?

How asinine.
Read the article again and then submit a short paper to the class explaining all the ways your comment was incorrect.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by St0rMl0rD View Post
Maybe they missed the option where the user can't remove a profile, set up by Apple Configurator...
Yes, but most rollouts this scale are managed via MDM. Unfortunately MDM profiles are never locked the same way AC profiles can be. On top of that if you delete your MDM profile that in return will remove all profiles installed by that MDM server. It's kinda a mess.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpat View Post
So they put restrictions on their Wifi network and expected the iPads to be restricted when linked to every other network?

How asinine.
Not on the network, but profiles were installed on them so that the students were constrained by the specified configurations. The problem was that the students were able to remove these profiles and bypass the restrictions.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:12 AM   #15
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I praise the students, keep hacking the system! The students will learn from this, and the system will get stronger. Win-win.

I think the school should continue the roll-out as soon as they fix the security issue, and then set aside some reward for students who manage to break their system again. Maybe offer each student who comes up with a hack a $5000 scholarship to whatever college they get into, or something. Or some other kind of incentive.

This way the hack is reported to the people who can address the issue right away, the students learn about security and systems, and the system gets even stronger.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:14 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShiroiShimaTora View Post
The problem is that they're just using an ActiveSync profile instead of a MobileConfig profile in addition to a MDM server to lock down these iPads.
Is this true?

If so, extremely poor judgement on the school district's deployment!
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:15 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by oneMadRssn View Post
I praise the students, keep hacking the system! The students will learn from this, and the system will get stronger. Win-win.

I think the school should continue the roll-out as soon as they fix the security issue, and then set aside some reward for students who manage to break their system again. Maybe offer each student who comes up with a hack a $5000 scholarship to whatever college they get into, or something. Or some other kind of incentive.

This way the hack is reported to the people who can address the issue right away, the students learn about security and systems, and the system gets even stronger.
I doubt the schools would be willing to divert that much cash to fund their IT infrastructure (to readily fix the problems the students find). Otherwise we probably wouldn't have had this situation in the first place :P
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:16 AM   #18
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hacked? really? let me guess, they forgot to require a pass code to remove the profile?
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:19 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Rudy69 View Post
I don't see why they would halt the trial because the students are using the internet at home, from what I understand the school's network still blocks the content while they're at school.
I imagine because of potential liability concerns.

Little Johnny discovers porn using his computer or iPad that mom and dad bought for him: Uhhhhhhh, well, ain't our fault man.. boys will be boys!

Little Johnny discovers porn on the iPad his school gave him: HOW DARE THEY CORRUPT MY INNOCENT SON'S VALUES! THIS IS THE SCHOOL'S FAULT! I WILL SUE! I DEMAND COMPENSATION!
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:20 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by horsebattery View Post
I doubt the schools would be willing to divert that much cash to fund their IT infrastructure (to readily fix the problems the students find). Otherwise we probably wouldn't have had this situation in the first place :P
if they were smart, they would have searched for the most computer literate students and given then some perk for hacking it.

not necessarily money, but maybe a letter of recommendation. something like that can go a long way for someone looking for their first tech job
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:20 AM   #21
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They could use OpenDNS.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:23 AM   #22
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Sounds like they weren't allowed to surf ANYthing. Bad move by IT. If a fun device like a tablet is allowed to be nothing more than a textbook, the kids will revolt, no doubt.

My daughter's friend had a school-issued iPad last year, but she was allowed to use it for things. They Facetimed and other stuff when at home.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:24 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by DowdyFick View Post
If it was done right, this wouldn't have happened. This one is obviously on the IT department, not the students fault.
Yup.

If they don't want the kids reading Facebook, Twitter, etc... they should just do content filtering at the district level. Then once the students get home, let them be on those sites if they want.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:27 AM   #24
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The new version of Apple Configurator and iOS 7 enables web filtering for MDM solutions. So they can block social networking sites with that. Of course, first make sure the students can't remove a profile Haha.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 10:28 AM   #25
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Configurator can help. I use it at the school I work at. However, it still is not very good.

However, I think the profile is just the tip of the iceberg of the the problem. The underlying problem is no one wants to teach the kids how to be responsible. It's just easier to block unsavory sites.
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