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  1. #1
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    US school accused of web spying

    US school accused of web spying


    By Angela Harrison
    BBC News education reporter


    The school district says the laptops had a "security device"

    Parents in the US have accused a school of spying on children by remotely activating webcams on laptops.

    A couple from Pennsylvania have filed a lawsuit against a school district which gave laptops to its high school pupils.

    They say their son was told off by teachers for "engaging in improper behaviour in his home" and that the evidence was an image from his webcam.

    Lower Merion School District says it has now deactivated a tracking device installed on the laptops.

    It says the security feature was only used to track lost, stolen and missing laptops.

    But it was deactivated on Thursday and would not be re-instated without informing students and families, the district said.

    'Stages of undress'

    The Lower Merion School District gave the laptops to all 1,800 students at its two high schools with the aim of giving them access to school resources around the clock, according to its website.

    Michael and Holly Robbins are suing the district on behalf of their child and all the children in the district issued with the laptops.

    They allege the school district invaded their privacy and are guilty of "wiretapping" by putting children under covert surveillance.

    Images captured may consist of minors and their parents or friends in compromising or embarrassing positions, including in various stages of dress or undress
    Lawsuit claims


    In their lawsuit, they claim the webcams were activated remotely and images were taken which could have included anything going on in a room where the laptop was placed.

    The legal papers say: "As the laptops were routinely used by students and family members at home, it is believed that many of the images captured and intercepted may consist of images of minors and their parents or friends in compromising or embarrassing positions, including in various stages of dress or undress".

    On Thursday, the Lower Merion School District posted a letter to parents on its website saying it had always "gone to great lengths" to protect the privacy of its students.

    In it, the Schools Superintendent Christopher McGinley gives details of the security feature, which he said was activated only if a laptop was reported lost, stolen or missing.

    "The security feature's capabilities were limited to taking a still image of the operator and the operator's screen," he wrote.

    "This feature was only used for the narrow purpose of locating a lost, stolen or missing laptop. The District never activated the security feature for any other purpose or in any other manner whatsoever."

    However, the district had carried out a preliminary review of security procedures and had disabled the security-tracking program, he added.

    The district would now conduct a thorough review of the existing policies for student laptop use and look at any other "technology areas in which the intersection of privacy and security may come into play".

    "We regret if this situation has caused any concern or inconvenience among our students and families, " he said.


  2. #2
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    Ahahahaha... LOL WTF were they ever thinking?! If you're that stupid, you definitely deserve to be taken out by a lawsuit. Remote operated webcams in the rooms of minors?? WTFF?

  3. #3
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    Sad part is that civil service or government employees cannot be fired. Odds are a huge amount of taxpayers money will be paid to the victims and the morons responsible for this ridiculous act will continue to collect large salaries and generous pensions.

  4. #4
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    No suprise there, just look at what information people plaster all over facebook and the like, a perfect database of what everyone is up to etc. It is interesting to note that you cannot delete your account, only "deactivate" it and the resent controversy over the security settings that had it open to everyone to see by default. Governments must be laughing at how easy it is and in fact there is plenty of information of the CIA's ties to facebook:


    Facebook - the CIA conspiracy

    By Matt Greenop

    Global Research, March 12, 2009
    The New Zealand Herald - 2007-08-08

    Facebook has 20 million users worldwide, is worth billions of dollars and, if internet sources are to be believed, was started by the CIA.
    The social networking phenomenon started as a way of American college students to keep in touch. It is rapidly catching up with MySpace, and has left others like Bebo in its wake.
    But there is a dark side to the success story that's been spreading across the blogosphere. A complex but riveting Big Brother-type conspiracy theory which links Facebook to the CIA and the US Department of Defence.
    The CIA is, though, using a Facebook group to recruit staff for its very sexy sounding National Clandestine Service.
    Checking out the job ads
    does require a Facebook login, so if you haven't joined the site - or are worried that CIA spooks will start following you home from work -check them out on the agency's own site.


    The story starts once Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had launched, after the dorm room drama that's led to the current court case.
    Facebook's first round of venture capital funding ($US500,000) came from former Paypal CEO Peter Thiel. Author of anti-multicultural tome 'The Diversity Myth', he is also on the board of radical conservative group VanguardPAC.
    The second round of funding into Facebook ($US12.7 million) came from venture capital firm Accel Partners. Its manager James Breyer was formerly chairman of the National Venture Capital Association, and served on the board with Gilman Louie, CEO of In-Q-Tel, a venture capital firm established by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1999. One of the company's key areas of expertise are in "data mining technologies".
    Breyer also served on the board of R&D firm BBN Technologies, which was one of those companies responsible for the rise of the internet.
    Dr Anita Jones joined the firm, which included Gilman Louie. She had also served on the In-Q-Tel's board, and had been director of Defence Research and Engineering for the US Department of Defence.
    She was also an adviser to the Secretary of Defence and overseeing the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is responsible for high-tech, high-end development.
    It was when a journalist lifted the lid on the DARPA's Information Awareness Office that the public began to show concern at its information mining projects.


    Wikipedia's IAO page says: "the IAO has the stated mission to gather as much information as possible about everyone, in a centralised location, for easy perusal by the United States government, including (though not limited to) internet activity, credit card purchase histories, airline ticket purchases, car rentals, medical records, educational transcripts, driver's licenses, utility bills, tax returns, and any other available data.".
    Not surprisingly, the backlash from civil libertarians led to a Congressional investigation into DARPA's activity, the Information Awareness Office lost its funding.
    Now the internet conspiracy theorists are citing Facebook as the IAO's new mask.
    Parts of the IAO's technology round-up included 'human network analysis and behaviour model building engines', which Facebook's massive volume of neatly-targeted data gathering allows for.
    Facebook's own Terms of use state: "by posting Member Content to any part of the Web site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license to use, copy, perform, display, reformat, translate, excerpt and distribute such information and content and to prepare derivative works of, or incorpoate into other works, such information and content, and to grant and authorise sublicenses of the foregoing.


    And in its equally interesting privacy policy: "Facebook may also collect information about you from other sources, such as newspapers, blogs, instant messaging services, and other users of the Facebook service through the operation of the service (eg. photo tags) in order to provide you with more useful information and a more personalised experience. By using Facebook, you are consenting to have your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States."
    Is the CIA really providing the impetus and the funding behind the monster growth of this year's biggest dot com success story? Maybe only the men with the nice suits and ear pieces can answer that.
    Fahn Cahn's

  5. #5
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    Isn't facebook tieing in with google and gmail stuff, ie one password to access all? OH, and poxy youtube, also youtube etc I think is taking a lot more notice of your mac address rather than just your ip as when you are using different accounts in different browsers you now get knocked out of the last one big brother is here.

  6. #6
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    Correct me if I am wrong but from what I read the laptop belongs to the school and is *meant* to be used for school purposes.... If that is the case the school has every right to monitor what their equipment is being used for..... Most companies *like mine* monitor/lock down all laptops that are used for work purposes.... If someone (like the students) think they have the right to use those for other purposes they are mistaken...(usually that is covered in the agreement you sign at receipt of the laptop)..
    The student shouldn't be using the laptop that way and the moronic parents are just looking for their payday.... there is absolutely no responsibility (implied or other wise) on the part of the student or the students parents.....
    I hope a judge tells these morons to pay more attention to what their children are doing. Just like the security guards up in Seattle no one is willing to take responsibility for their own actions any more.... Just easier to blame it on someone else...
    Thats insane.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikster View Post
    Ahahahaha... LOL WTF were they ever thinking?! If you're that stupid, you definitely deserve to be taken out by a lawsuit. Remote operated webcams in the rooms of minors?? WTFF?

    Its not likely to be *remotely operated webcams* More than likely just a recording software similar to a key logger... And as such was recorded as it having happened and being posted somewhere...

  8. #8
    The Dentist English Noodles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AjarnJonesy
    the moronic parents are just looking for their payday.
    A sign of the times, even seen it on here. Parents using their children as 'tools' for financial gain.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AjarnJonesy
    Its not likely to be *remotely operated webcams* More than likely just a recording software similar to a key logger.
    Nope.


    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    "The security feature's capabilities were limited to taking a still image of the operator and the operator's screen," he wrote.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AjarnJonesy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by nikster View Post
    Ahahahaha... LOL WTF were they ever thinking?! If you're that stupid, you definitely deserve to be taken out by a lawsuit. Remote operated webcams in the rooms of minors?? WTFF?

    Its not likely to be *remotely operated webcams* More than likely just a recording software similar to a key logger... And as such was recorded as it having happened and being posted somewhere...
    Perhaps rereading the article might help you...

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