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Thread: What were you thinking ?

  1. #1
    Olympic Champ RYou's Avatar
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    Default What were you thinking ?

    I can't believe a group of school officials could be this freakin dumb. Hmm, dumb isn't even close to being an adequate description.

    Pa. school used webcams to spy on students

    Thu Feb 18, 5:59 pm ET

    PHILADELPHIA ? Lower Merion School District officials brag that they give every one of their 1800 high schoolers laptop computers to "ensure that all students have 24/7 access to school based resources".

    Instead, they ensured they got a 24/7 sneek peek into students private lives by secretly monitoring webcams embedded in the laptops to spy on teens and their families at home according to a federal class action law suit filed this week in Philadelphia.

    The 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.

    Lower Merion School District officials would not comment on the accusation, but angry students have already responded by putting tape on their laptop cameras and microphones.

    Sophomore Tom Halperin described students as "pretty disgusted," and noted that his class recently read "1984," the George Orwell classic that coined the term "Big Brother."

    "This is just bogus," said Halperin, 15, of Wynnewood, as he left Harriton High School on Thursday with his taped-up computer. "I just think it's really despicable that they have the ability to just watch me all the time."

    The school district can activate the webcams without students' knowledge or permission, the suit said. Plaintiffs Michael and Holly Robbins suspect the cameras captured students and family members as they undressed and in other embarrassing situations, according to the suit.

    Such actions would amount to potentially illegal electronic wiretapping, said Witold J. Walczak, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, which is not involved in the case.

    "School officials cannot, any more than police, enter into the home either electronically or physically without an invitation or a warrant," Walczak said.

    The school district could not immediately confirm whether it has the ability to activate the webcams remotely, a spokesman said.

    "We can categorically state that we are and have always been committed to protecting the privacy of our students," said the spokesman, Doug Young.

    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. McGinley did not immediately return messages left Thursday by The Associated Press.

    The Robbinses said they learned of the alleged webcam images when Lindy Matsko, an assistant principal at Harriton High School, told their son Blake that school officials thought he had engaged in improper behavior at home. The behavior was not specified in the suit.

    "(Matsko) cited as evidence a photograph from the webcam embedded in minor plaintiff's personal laptop issued by the school district," the suit states. The behavior was not specified in the suit, which did not make clear whether the family had seen any photographs captured by school officials.

    Matsko later confirmed to Michael Robbins that the school had the ability to activate the webcams remotely, according to the suit, which was filed Tuesday and which seeks class-action status.

    The Robbinses declined to speak with an Associated Press reporter at their home Thursday. Their lawyer, Mark S. Haltzman, did not return messages.

    The U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the privacy of the home when it ruled in 2001 that police could not, without a warrant, use thermal imaging equipment outside a home to see if heat lamps were being used inside to grow marijuana. Technology or no, Supreme Court precedents draw "a firm line at the entrance to the house," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, quoting an earlier case.

    "This isn't just them spying on the kids, this is them intruding on the parents' home. Who knows what they are seeing?" Walczak said. "The courts for 80 years have said there's no greater sanctuary than a person's own home."

    The lawsuit's allegations raise new concerns about school-issued laptops, said an Electronic Freedom Foundation lawyer.

    "I've never heard of anything this egregious," said Kevin Bankston, a senior staff attorney at the San Francisco-based group. "Nobody would have imagined that schools would peer into students private homes and even bedrooms without any kind of justification.

    Students like Halperin say they mostly keep their computers in their bedrooms ? and rarely turn them off.

    "School ends at the end of the school property, so they shouldn't really be in our business at home," Halperin said.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: What were you thinking ?

    speaking as someone who works in the central office for a public school system, I'm amazed on a daily basis at the things that go on.

    This one, however, absolutely blows my mind. I cannot even begin to imagine what they were thinking.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: What were you thinking ?

    If this is true then there should be many people fired and a few jailings.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What were you thinking ?

    if i heard of this i would have jacked my monkey in front of it every day.
    but then again, i may be retarded

  5. #5

    Default Re: What were you thinking ?

    Quote Originally Posted by the518 View Post
    if i heard of this i would have jacked my monkey in front of it every day.
    What, you need an incentive to do that?

  6. #6

    Default Re: What were you thinking ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flop The Nuts View Post
    If this is true then there should be many people fired and a few jailings.
    Anyone who looked at the videos should be jailed. Fired isn't enough, in my opinion. There is a Constitution and we need to get back to it. This is embarrassing for all of America. This quote alone shows how little people respect private lives.

    "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. McGinley did not immediately return messages left Thursday by The Associated Press.

    Ahead of what curve? The one that will tell us what to do behind closed doors?

  7. #7

    Default Re: What were you thinking ?

    Quote Originally Posted by the518 View Post
    if i heard of this i would have jacked my monkey in front of it every day.
    rotflmao
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  8. #8
    Olympic Champ RYou's Avatar
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    Default Re: What were you thinking ?

    Electronic Freedom Foundation lawyer - "Nobody would have imagined that schools would peer into students private homes and even bedrooms without any kind of justification.


    Okay Mr. EFF lawyer - What kind of justification are you thinking of ? Even a freakin attorney seems to think that there is some form of justification.

    There is no conceivable justification for this act.

    Heads should roll and if this was medieval times, I mean roll.
    Life's not the breaths you take, the breathing in and out that gets you through the day ain't what it's all about. It's the moments that take your breath away.

  9. #9

    Default Re: What were you thinking ?

    Quote Originally Posted by RYou View Post
    There is no conceivable justification for this act.

    Heads should roll and if this was medieval times, I mean roll.
    Is there evidence that this actually occured? I skimmed the article and it looked like there were a lot of accusations without much to back it up.

    What kind of technology would be required to remotely log into someone else's computer and operate the webcam without them knowing? Is it likely that a public school system has that type of know-how?
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