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Old 02-19-2010, 07:55 AM   #1
Fredkc
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Default PA School uses Laptop WebCam to spy on kids

Just lovely. I would like to see the whole bunch go to jail for the illegal spying, intrusion on families, but also NEVER teach again, having been caugh taking pictures of under-age kids without anyone's consent.

If anyone of us had been caught doing this, we'd be up on porno charges.

PA School District Using School-Issued Laptop Webcams to Spy on Students

A class action lawsuit filed late yesterday in Federal Court in Philadelphia has shed light on a secret surveillance program targeting Americans, but this particular operation is not being run by the FBI or the NSA. It’s being run by the Lower Merion School District, in the old-money Main Line suburbs of Philadelphia, PA.

The complaint, filed by minor high school student Blake Robbins and his parents, alleges that the school district has been spying on the activities of students and students’ families through the “indiscriminant use of and ability to remotely activate the webcams incorporated into each laptop issued to students,” all without the knowledge or consent of any of the students or parents involved.

Through a one-to-one laptop computer initiative funded by state and federal grants, each of the approximately 1,800 students in the school district’s two high schools, Harriton High School in Rosemont, PA and Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, PA were issued a webcam-equipped personal laptop computer. The initiative, according to remarks by Superintendent—and defendant—Christopher McGinley on the district’s Web site, “enhances opportunities for ongoing collaboration, and ensures that all students have 24/7 access to school based resources and the ability to seamlessly work on projects and research at school and at home.”

What students and parents did not know, however, was that the 24/7 access goes both ways. According to the complaint, nowhere in any of the documentation accompanying the laptops or otherwise disseminated to students and parents was any reference made to the ability of the school district to remotely activate the webcam embedded in each laptop at any time, according to the district’s discretion.

How the capability was discovered should be enough to put any who value civil liberties and privacy on the edge of their seat. From the complaint (emphasis mine):
On November 11, 2009, Plaintiffs were for the first time informed of the above-mentioned capability and practice by the School District when Lindy Matsko, an Assistant Principal at Harriton High School, informed minor Plaintiff that the School District was of the belief that minor Plaintiff was engaged in improper behavior in his home, and cited as evidence a photograph from the webcam embedded in minor Plaintiff’s personal laptop issued by the School District.
It was only then that Blake Robbins’ father, Michael, verified from Assistant Principal Lindy Matsko that the school district did in fact have the capability of remotely activating the cameras embedded in the district-issued laptop computer wherever the computer may be situated and regardless of whether the student is using it, and that the school district could at any time choose “to view and capture whatever images were in front of the webcam, all without the knowledge, permission or authorization of any persons then and there using the laptop computer.”

The school district’s conduct, the plaintiffs allege, runs afoul of not only the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, but also a laundry list of federal and state laws intended to protect the privacy of people and stored information alike. This includes the Electronic Communication Privacy Act, the Computer Fraud Abuse Act, the Stored Communications Act, §1983 of the Civil Rights Act, the Pennsylvania Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act, and Pennsylvania common law as well.

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Last edited by Karen; 02-19-2010 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 02-19-2010, 08:57 AM   #2
Steve_A
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Default Re: PA School uses Laptop WebCam to spy on kids

Hi Fredkc,

Be careful America, slowly but surely it seems that you are losing your liberties.

The youngster has only filed a COMPLAINT and at this stage is not sueing the school authority. I would have stomped all over them!

Scandalous.

Best regards,

Steve


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fredkc View Post
Just lovely. I would like to see the whole bunch go to jail for the illegal spying, intrusion on families, but also NEVER teach again, having been caugh taking pictures of under-age kids without anyone's consent.
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Old 02-19-2010, 11:14 AM   #3
morguana
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Angry Re: PA School uses Laptop WebCam to spy on kids




what is our world coming too? this is madness! thanks fred for posting this, i guess the answer is nothing given by 'tptb' is free, there is always a catch.

i hope the path of light shines on this issue
m x
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Old 02-19-2010, 01:12 PM   #4
lindabaker
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Default Re: PA School uses Laptop WebCam to spy on kids

I would like to know who authorized the "two-way capability" in this purchase decision. There's the story. Find the sales persons and see who told what to whom. Was there an informed choice (between one way or two way) given to the district? Who decided that the two way webcams were okay? Did the administrators making the purchase know, or did someone above them let it all fall into place, planning to hack it once everything was set? Creeps me out, and I'm glad someone blew the whistle on behalf of all of those innocent children.
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Old 02-19-2010, 02:00 PM   #5
Stargazer1965
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Default Re: PA School uses Laptop WebCam to spy on kids

Isn't it great that stupidity just leaks all over itself??

These things just don't "happen" because a feature just happened to be installed on the loaner.

There was a conscious decision somewhere up the food chain....I doubt that the real person will take the fall but at the very least...stupidity brought it to light.

Thank the creator for the truly stupid PTBs....Peace Y'all
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Old 02-19-2010, 03:25 PM   #6
sunflower
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Default Re: PA School uses Laptop WebCam to spy on kids

I am not computer savvy but the thought crossed my mind: what if I bought a laptop with a webcam embedded in it, might not the same thing happen to me? I have read and heard that digital tv's have a tracking mechanism in them. True or not, I don't know.
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Old 02-19-2010, 03:33 PM   #7
Céline
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Default Re: PA School uses Laptop WebCam to spy on kids

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunflower View Post
True or not, I don't know.
a scary thought indeed..

Fred..what a horrible thought...

sigh.
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Old 02-20-2010, 01:38 AM   #8
dddanieljjjamesss
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Default Re: PA School uses Laptop WebCam to spy on kids

Those bastards.
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:09 AM   #9
Moxie
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Default Re: PA School uses Laptop WebCam to spy on kids

I discovered a new search engine called StartPage that does not gather search data nor your computer ID... check it out! From what I've read, all other search engines gather information about YOU and what you search out online. Check out the Solution thread and get on board, very worthy presentation!

http://us2.startpage.com/eng/protect-privacy.html
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Old 02-25-2010, 02:18 AM   #10
xbusymom
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Default Re: PA School uses Laptop WebCam to spy on kids

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunflower View Post
I am not computer savvy but the thought crossed my mind: what if I bought a laptop with a webcam embedded in it, might not the same thing happen to me? I have read and heard that digital tv's have a tracking mechanism in them. True or not, I don't know.
I kind of thought something was up when my laptop, that I bought in 2006, suddenly started to turn back on by itself in 2008, after I had shut it down by the software (I still have to do a manual hard-shutdown for it to stay off)...

and then a few months back - I came across this...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQ4iIM8Eljc
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:30 AM   #11
Aztar
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Default Re: PA School uses Laptop WebCam to spy on kids

Quote:
Originally Posted by xbusymom View Post
and then a few months back - I came across this...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQ4iIM8Eljc
Fake

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4y_il7On6Q&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8Iiszxm1QI&feature=fvw

Last edited by Aztar; 02-25-2010 at 03:37 AM.
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Old 02-25-2010, 04:09 AM   #12
xbusymom
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Default Re: PA School uses Laptop WebCam to spy on kids

ok... oops... open mouth insert other foot... sorry folks...

but the trouble with my laptop still persists... even after wiping and reinstalling everything back on it from scratch (3 times since sept 2007)...
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Old 02-25-2010, 05:17 AM   #13
lisa
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Default Re: PA School uses Laptop WebCam to spy on kids

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunflower View Post
I am not computer savvy but the thought crossed my mind: what if I bought a laptop with a webcam embedded in it, might not the same thing happen to me?
My high-tech fix: Put a piece of tape over the camera

xbusymom, not sure if any of this causes your problem: http://forum.dvdtalk.com/archive/t-292541.html

Last edited by lisa; 02-25-2010 at 05:21 AM.
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Old 02-27-2010, 05:08 AM   #14
xbusymom
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Default Re: PA School uses Laptop WebCam to spy on kids

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisa View Post
My high-tech fix: Put a piece of tape over the camera
hahaha-
duck tape...?

*(and thanks for the link- I will check it out)
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