School 'Used Webcams To Spy On Pupils'

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by Petal, Feb 20, 2010.

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  1. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    A school in the US has been accused of spying on its students by remotely activating cameras built into their laptops.

    The case has outraged parents and pupils at Harriton High School in suburban Philadelphia and raised serious questions about privacy and ethics.
    Parents of one child have filed a lawsuit against the school district in Pennsylvania.
    They say staff told them the camera on the school-issued laptop had caught their son doing something "inappropriate" at home.
    Other parents said they were furious.
    "This laptop is part of our life 24/7, it is open all the time," said Karen Gotlieb, who has a daughter at the school.
    "I just received an email from my daughter, who is very upset, saying 'Mum, I have that laptop open in my bedroom all the time, even when I'm changing'."
    Pupils say they are horrified at the thought that staff could look into their home life.
    Carlee Pons said: "It was nerve-wracking to see that green light go on.
    "Some kids were really worried to the point of tears, calling their parents, freaking out and I know parents were definitely outraged by this."

    Students have started putting sticky-tape over the camera lens
    Another student Tom Halpern said: "We just read '1984' this year. I don't think they should be able to get into our business like this. It just doesn't seem fair."
    The school district says it will fight the lawsuit. It says cameras were only ever activated to track its 2,300 laptops only if they were reported missing, lost or stolen.
    "The security feature's capabilities were limited to taking a still image of the operator and the operator's screen," Superintendent Christopher McGinley said in a letter to parents.
    Attorney Amy Feldman said: "This has gone so far that, while we can always say there's no privacy in the internet age, I think we have to hit the point where we say this has gone too far."
    Students are taking their own direct action - putting sticky-tape over the camera lens.

  2. morning rush

    morning rush Well-Known Member

    wow thats horrible...but if they can do that, then who else can activate your cam without you knowing it? :unsure:

    thank god mine isnt intergrated...
  3. Axiom

    Axiom Account Closed

    At HOME?!! What the fucking hell... No seriously fuck that shit and anyone that comes up with ANY justification for this. I can not believe this. ANd a school! ASDHJIF

    Obviously this does not need any clarification for anyone... . . . does it? Some jackass thought that was ok.. please someone give me a reason to rip that apart. Fucking blind dumb ignorant shits.
  4. corang

    corang Well-Known Member

    Im not surprized the small amount of time I spent in high school I had a mac laptop from the school. It had a build in webcam and they could control it I remember in lunch one time a teacher opened someones wordpad or some similar program and the webcam. The teacher was typing to us and watching us it was all in good fun but at the time but it could have easily been used for other things while we were at home. I didnt even think about how it could have been used to spy on us at home till I saw this thread.

    I seriously doubt it could/would only be used to take still pictures of who was using it. Tracking with webcam is a horrible excuse with my school a pretty big sticker was put on the laptop with airplane glue to show it was school property incase it was stolen and under that was an engraving on it to say it was school property. Not to mention we were told it could be tracked. With all that why is a webcam needed to know where it is?
  5. Xenos

    Xenos Well-Known Member

    ....Awkward. And scary. =/
  6. fromthatshow

    fromthatshow Staff Alumni

    I hope that they win the lawsuit against this school. It only seems right that they should. And if my child were at that school I would immediately take them out and put them in another school, as I'm sure some parents have there.
  7. pit

    pit Well-Known Member

    Can't you imagine if the school laptop watched you masturbating at home?

    Seriously, this ultra security shit has gone too far. By the way, this happened in my school district, Lower Merion. I was lucky enough to graduate in 1983 before all this computer crap.

  8. nolonger

    nolonger Well-Known Member

    Wow. If this ever happend at my school I'd probly end up going nuts and just smash the shit outta the laptop lol :tongue:. Serves 'em right :p.
  9. Krem

    Krem Well-Known Member

    School-issued laptops. If you don't want them to see you masturbating, don't masturbate in front of it. Besides, it sounds like the computers weren't meant to be taken home. Serves you right. It wasn't their computers, what are they going to complain about? It's like dialing 911/999/etc., and then be freaked out when you find out it's being recorded. Or using a public pay-phone, and it records your conversation. When you use other people's stuff, it's exactly that, OTHER PEOPLE's. That means it's not yours. That means they can do what they want with it.

    It's childish to complain of this. That's why you should read the fine-print.
  10. Axiom

    Axiom Account Closed

    The laptops were meant to be taken home, lets make that point clear. Read up on this and you'll find the facts of that, plus it makes sense that a laptop be allowed to go home since it is loaned out to individual students and is needed for specific courses. Let alone that they are not allowed to bring their own personal laptops into the school, they need to bring monitored laptops.

    The point isnt that you shouldnt masturbate infront of it, the point is they have no right to invade your privacy, whether you are masturbating or reading a book. It is very dangerous to let this slide...
  11. thedeafmusician

    thedeafmusician Staff Alumni

    unfortunately, i'm not too surprised. the thing that really disgusts me is that they were monitoring the kid's behaviour at home too. that's a no-no.

    the schools can do what they want within reasonable grounds during school hours, at school. my school has a firewall that is a pain in the backside, and various other programs and yadda yadda to track what we're doing at school. if you dont want 'em to see your screen, then you either don't use your laptop at school or turn off your internet access. its a pain, but hey, the kid isn't the client of the school -- the parent is.

    the whole thing with school issued laptops -- well i suppose that the school's accountable for it if the laptops belong to the school, then i suppose that they can monitor their use, whether in school or out. i'm not saying it's entirely right to do so, however, for obvious reasons. it's a different case if the school insists on laptops but you get them through a supplier or something -- the laptop's yours and yours to keep.

    i dunno... i'm thinking that my point got lost somewhere along the line. what i'm trying to say is that if it's yours, it's yours to do what you want with it, and if it's through a school AND it belongs to the school (ie they buy it and then you borrow it off them) then they do have some rights... but it's still going too far.
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