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  1. #1
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    Default School used student laptop webcams to spy on them at school and home

    School used student laptop webcams to spy on them at school and home Boing Boing

    Not a Canadian story but still makes you wonder who thought this was a good idea.


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    Expert Forum User The Ultimate London Mom! mamabear's Avatar
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    Holy shit. Wow.

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    OMFG!!!!!!!

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    It's interesting to read about (and all the comments). I work in the same environment and I'm able to “spy“, but so are teachers/staff etc. There is no hiding the fact that we have this software installed - it actually has a lot of use for computer lab wide presentations, demonstrations, etc. It also allows teachers to block internet access/specific websites while the console is connected. It's installed on classroom and lab computers.

    The thing is, with the current version that we are using - a bar pops up on the top of the screen when the console is connected. Students/staff know that they are connected to the console and could be monitored at any time.

    Is this possible? Absolutely - but why? If I happen see you looking at illegal material on school time or breaking laws - I'm probably going to take a screen shot and forward it to administration so they are at least aware of the situation. If you see that bar pop up on the top of the screen and you're doing something sketchy - it's time to stop.

    Schools don't have an IT staff member on site all the time, generally we're in charge of multiple sites - and if we get low on work - we're sent to other locations to help out with individuals with higher work loads.

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    Expert Forum User The Ultimate London Mom! PancakeMom's Avatar
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    I don't think anyone would question the monitoring of material being used on the computer. Most parents would agree that there should be rules as to what their child is looking at. The part that is bothersome is the use of the webcam. Can you use the webcams? If a student, who is most likely under 18 is using this computer in their bedroom and is being watched while changing (or worse, think 15 yo boy), or conversations are being listened to that is beyond invasive it is illegal. Why would anyone want to be able to monitor students via webcam in the first place if it wasn't for shady reasons? I wouldn't want my dd's school to have a camera operating in my home.


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    Quote Originally Posted by PancakeMom View Post
    I don't think anyone would question the monitoring of material being used on the computer. Most parents would agree that there should be rules as to what their child is looking at. The part that is bothersome is the use of the webcam. Can you use the webcams? If a student, who is most likely under 18 is using this computer in their bedroom and is being watched while changing (or worse, think 15 yo boy), or conversations are being listened to that is beyond invasive it is illegal. Why would anyone want to be able to monitor students via webcam in the first place if it wasn't for shady reasons? I wouldn't want my dd's school to have a camera operating in my home.

    And couldnt the school shoot them in the foot with distributing child pornography if its found that people saw these kids changing etc?

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    How stupid is that? To use it in their homes to spy on them. There's going to be some serious job loss over that one.
    Last edited by Jasmin; 02-20-2010 at 10:41 AM.

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    You would think that this would not even be legal. I mean if you are in your own home would that not be a violation? Crazy and scary to think about.
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    Reading more into it... The student took a picture and stored it on the computer. The school board found it and action was taken. I believe in this instance it was drug use.

    Personally, there's a huge bias on both of the articles that I don't agree with here.

    At one of my husband's schools a student was found with large amounts of pornography. I think it's along the same idea that appropriate action be taken if found.

    School property is just that. I don't care what people do on there own computers, but as soon as you start storing stuff that you shouldn't be. IT gets involved. There are certain things that we are required by law to report, etc.
    Last edited by a_bun_in_the_oven; 02-20-2010 at 11:10 AM.

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    Expert Forum User The Ultimate London Mom! PancakeMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a_bun_in_the_oven View Post
    Reading more into it... The student took a picture and stored it on the computer. The school board found it and action was taken. I believe in this instance it was drug use.

    Personally, there's a huge bias on both of the articles that I don't agree with here.

    At one of my husband's schools a student was found with large amounts of pornography. I think it's along the same idea that appropriate action be taken if found.

    School property is just that. I don't care what people do on there own computers, but as soon as you start storing stuff that you shouldn't be. IT gets involved. There are certain things that we are required by law to report, etc.
    I think you are still missing the point. No one is arguing that inappropriate content on the computers is not allowed. We can also agree that if a child has stored a picture of himself doing something illegal on the computer action can be taken. The issue here is not that they can see file or pictures on the computer but that they can activate the webcams and watch the users in their own homes.


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    Expert Forum User The Ultimate London Mom! PancakeMom's Avatar
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    I have finally made it through most of the comments. There has been no confirmation that the picture taken was BY the student at all, that was just a comment made by someone and hasn't been proven yet.

    My fav comment so far tho has to be-
    Apparently ceiling cat isn't the only one who watches you masturbate.


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    That's really sick. Give a teenagers computers to use at home, then watch them? I think there's way more going on than just invasion of privacy. I hope they file child porn charges against whoever was watching them.
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    I think it's very crucial to figure out who took the picture in question. If the student took the picture himself then he's an idiot, but still I don't think it's the schools job to punish him. If what he stored on the computer is criminal then they should inform the police.
    If the school has taken the picture then that's really creepy, scary and a class action suit is justified IMO.
    If the school has software installed to take pictures but hasn't used it, then I think they need a serious slap on the wrist, the software has to be de-installed and students need to be taught how to disable the webcam (really, bubble gum will do that job just fine, but there might be a more sophisticated way as well)

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    Think about how many times a year you hear that yet another teacher is found out to be a pedophile. Soooo many people that are drawn to work with kids have NOT been found out yet. This nifty little cam would be perfect for someone to spy on kids who happened to leave the computer on and decided to undress, have sex, masturbate, whatever. TOTALLY wrong, and how on EARTH does any school come to the decision to allow such a thing??? As if ALL those with this power will follow the rules and not inadvertently catch a teen girl in her underwear. I can totally see it, and sorry for all those teachers that follow the rules, but you and I both know there are a LOT of people in any profession that shouldn't be there, and would be using it inappropriately.

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