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    Interesting case- school district uses students laptops to take webcam pics of them

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/1..._n_758882.html



    Been following the story since it broke back on April 20th:
    http://www.pjstar.com/news/x74920710...tudent-laptops

    Cliff Notes: A school district in Philadelphia issues laptops to every one of its high school students. In an effort to find lost or stolen laptops they installed tracking software that would turn on the built in camera and "silently" take pictures at set intervals and send those pictures to administrators so they could determine where the laptops were being used and they were being used properly. This came to light when one student was reprimanded for what they thought was using drugs- in his bedroom- when he was in fact eating candy. As you can imagine thousands of photographs were taken of teenagers being teenagers in their own bedrooms.

    Somehow no criminal charges were brought against anyone involved... The School District just settled with apparently only 2 people for over $600,000.

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    Oh this was also very damning... but no charges filed? Amazing...
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/201...23249038.shtml

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    What is remarkable is that not only no charges were filed... but nobody was fired over this? Cannot be... but look at this -

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-19518_3-10459240-238.html

    Cost the school district and the insurer over $1 million and nobody gets fired? One wonders how this could go on... great article.
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    That is absolutely insane. Let's hope that none of those things were turned on while minors were changing in their bedroom. Some ideas make you wonder how they get out of the drawing room.

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    Let's face it - the intrusion of privacy is advancing at rapid speeds and this school laptop case is a prime example. It is done under all kinds of justifiable pretexts but in makes you wonder if in actuality the reasons are much different. Simple monitoring for one. And of course I could think of pure voyeurism. So thats why its important that tracking and monitoring systems should be two ways - or at the very least that there's some clear legal protection against such systems.

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    There was a similar app available for the iPhone. It was withdrawn though because the developer was abusing access to the subscribers' passwords.

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    Many things got past Apple but you can't really blame them since it's virtually impossible to determine whether a vendor will abuse the customers for a service it hosts in some manner. What I found disturbing about the Philadelphia case is that it wasn't some rogue developer. It was officials of the school system who were grossly abusing their right to monitor and it doesn't matter whether they were abusing new technology or the same type of privacy violation of old, e.g. hidden video tape cameras. The egregious level of the conduct is the reason for such a large award.
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