Will people ever learn???? Updated! X2

There is NO such thing as a free lunch! Just caught this –

Suit: Pa. school used webcams to spy on students

PHILADELPHIA – A suburban Philadelphia school district used the webcams in school-issued laptops to spy on students at home, potentially catching them and their families in compromising situations, a family claims in a federal lawsuit.

Note the important words- “school issued laptops.”  The laptops belong to the school folks- not to you the parents or you the kids. Taxpayer payed for I am sure.

According to the article kids are now putting tape over the webcams and microphones on the units.  One student quoted in the article mentioned his class had just read Orwell’s “1984.” Hell of an object lesson huh?

And here is a quote from the Superintendent-

The affluent district prides itself on its technology initiatives, which include giving Apple laptops to each of the approximately 2,300 students at its two high schools.

“It is no accident that we arrived ahead of the curve; in Lower Merion, our responsibility is to lead,” Superintendent Christopher W. McGinley wrote on the district Web site.

Wonder how many parents actually went to the school board budget meetings where the outlay for this was approved?

h/t mcnorman for the link to the pdf of the lawsuit.

I wish them all the luck in their lawsuit- but – the laptops do not belong to the students- they are the property of the school district. Is it actually wire tapping or intercepting personal info if the district is taking info from computers they own??? Though the students in our district are not issued laptops the school district does have an internet use policy that every parent and student has to sign before the students can use the school computers and it does say- specifically– that the District reserves the right to review, copy and/or examine any information that resides on any of the schools’ computers or networks. Is there a similar consent for the parents and students in the Lower Merion School District? I suspect so.

Common sense people, common sense!

Saturday 2/20/2010

The MSM is all over it today. Just me left this link over at Uppity Woman’s place

Student says school webcam spied on him at home

As I suspected-

To receive the laptop, the family had to sign an “acceptable-use” agreement.


In an “acceptable-use” agreement, the families are made aware of the school’s ability to “monitor” the hardware, he said, but it stops short of explicitly explaining the security feature. He termed that a mistake.

And they thought “monitor the hardware” meant what?

I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT approve of the school peeping in children’s bedrooms but repeat-again- Common Sense people!

I thought the teenagers in this country were oh so techno savvy? I guarantee you those kids knew those computers had web cams built-in and were making use of them to post on Facebook and other sites. And how many of those parents pay for the GPS monitoring on their kids cell phones so they can track the whereabouts of those kids? How many parents use the cell phone service to go online and monitor their kids messages, photos, downloads?? WAKE UP! If the government gives you a gift horse you better look at more than just its mouth- because it is in all probability a Trojan Horse.

This is going to be very, very interesting.


14 Responses

  1. I can’t believe that this vice principal would think there would not be a problem handing a pic taken via the cam in this kid’s house? Talk about pedophile heaven.

    • Well, educational bureaucrats would never be the brightest bulb in a pack of 1 watt bulbs.

  2. True true mcnorman- they all talk about internet safety and not giving out personal info etc etc- then turn around and spy on the kids in their homes. But hey- the laws only apply to us little people, not to Big Brother.

    I wish I could find it- there was a TV piece on a school last week. The principle was showing the reporter how he (the principal) could activate ANY of the webcams in the computers the kids were using in school. It showed him taking a snapshot of a girl fixing her hair, a boy playing an internet game- but this was only IN the school- not at home.
    No idea how this is gonna turn out- I hope these people have learned never to take anything from the government.

  3. Good luck to that school district trying to fight that one. They are gonna have a hard time. Logic says they will come out of it with egg on their face and a decision against them of some sort. If all the district has to do is just flip some switches to activate the webcams/microphones ona student’s machine, imagine the outcry when that ability falls into the wrong people’s hands. The sex offenders are salivating at something like this, and the voyeurs are lurking in the shadows. Simply wrong.

    A real shame that an “educated” person, and “educator” himself, is unable to understand the significance of the problem. And this perosn in in a position of power????

    • I agree tht what the school did is wrong- plain and simple looking into another person’s home is perverted. Hoerver, I am going to hold off until I hear or see what the district’s policy on use of these “free” laptops says. Surely in such a rich district they have a lwayer in charge of CYA?

  4. In reply to your comment on the Cross:
    PPM, do not wory. The guardian angels are looking out over these guys too. Friday Joy Ride Is A Scream

  5. Sorry about typos. Long fingers smacking away at the keyboard…

  6. Oh man…that’s just wrong on so many levels! So that means if my daughter had the lap top in her bedroom on her desk, the Principal can sit home and watch her undress for bed at night? I can’t imagine that the courts would allow that. Heck, I own my own computer and I want to put a piece of tape over the webcam now!

    • correct! the article tells how the whole thing came out- a kid was confronted by a school official with an accusation of “innapropriate behavior” in his home- photo evidence. Dumb, dumb, dumb!
      It is going to be very very interesting- wonder if it will stay in the news or if they will settle?

  7. I’m so weak in tecno-knowledge, so I don’t get how they can activate a web cam remotely? Obviously I understand how a person can activate it themselves on the computer, but how could the district “control” laptops from school?

    • Sorry to be away for so long- I put my back out again brushing my teeth. The technology I believe is similar to what they use in cell phones and cars for GPS tracking. the newsies are all over this tody so I am sure it will all come out and they will explain it so even I can understand it LOL

  8. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that any adult shall be viewing a child when that child is under the assumption that he/she is safe and secure in the privacy of his /her home. The only exception being said child’s parents or legal guardian. Would it be okay for Mr. McGinley to peer into a students bedroom through her bedroom window. I challenge that community to seriously consider replacing your superintendent with one that doesn’t condone pedophile type behavior to take place under his watch. Take action to set a precedent that will send out a message to all of America and its school that says “Hell no you don’t”!

    • Welcome David and thanks for coming by.
      I think I can safely say that all of us here, author as well as commenters, agree that the behavior of the school was perverted. Most, if not all, of us have children and are horrified by this intrusion.

      My point is this- where were the parents in this very rich school district when the school board was meeting to talk about issuing these computers? The students interviewed on tv said they had jsut finished reading Orwell’s 1984. Too bad they learned this way just how intrusive government can be- IF YOU FALL INTO IT!

      Hopefully, this sad, disgusting episode will teach a lesson to students and parents – not only about web safety- but about what happens when you take “gifts” from the government.

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