You know, I was kind of hoping my first “regular” blog post would be about something funny. It’s not.
Take a gander at the article below, it describes how the Lower Merion School District of Ardmore, Pa. generously issued 1800 laptop computers to students, then used the built in web cams to spy on them. Take a look, I’ll wait here.
Read this (opens in a new window – google the name of the school + laptop if you want even more info)
Ticked off? I am. I’m hoping that something will bubble up over the next few days and we’ll discover that the allegations are false. Although I’ve read several articles on this, and I think we need to expect the worst.
See, for me this hits close to home. My daughter is starting high school next year, and while they aren’t issuing laptops (at least not yet), I now shudder to think what could happen if they did.
Frankly, I’m not sure what I’m more irritated about – the fact that they used the webcams to spy, or the fact that they were actually arrogant enough to contact parents / students about apparent “inappropriate behavior”. You’d think SOMEONE at that school would have thought, “Gee this just doesn’t seem right, I wonder if we’re crossing a line”.
Instead, the “We know what’s best for you” side took over. And hey, if we happen to catch that cute 16 year old or her hot mom getting dressed, well, oops. You gotta wonder (and be sickened) by what must have been going on in the backroom of the IT department under the guise of either “monitoring our equipment” or perhaps “what best for our students”.
Just think, give the kids laptops and you can take a snapshot of the room where the laptop is turned on at any time. The fact that it was probably a minor’s bedroom (and a felony) didn’t seem to matter much to them.
In addition, what if it was left in another room, say of a non student? If I were a parent, I’d be seriously worried about the laptop that was sitting on the dresser when I got out of the shower. Hmm… Was that turned on? Can’t recall…
Frankly, the whole thing is criminal and those that perpetrated it should prosecuted. Period. I guess there was some wavier they signed that indicated that the school could remotely monitor the computer in the event of theft, but it was not disclosed that they would use the webcam for this purpose. (Which is kind of stupid anyway – how does taking a snapshot of a strange room in a strange house help you locate the computer? Were they hoping to get a picture of some mail sitting near the computer and get the address of that? These are educators?)
Besides, it’s all BS anyway when you consider the laptop of the student confronted for his “inappropriate behavior” wasn’t stolen or reported as such, so why was the school “monitoring” it in the first place? Some form of misguided, voyeuristic self-righteousness?
In my opinion, (and that of anyone with an ounce of common sense) activating a webcam remotely goes WAY over the line. I’m sure if the school would have said they could use the webcam to spy on anyone in front of the computer, there would have been around 1800 laptops sitting in the school warehouse.
In the end, I guess if you accept a laptop from a school you should read the fine print (that in this case wouldn’t have helped anyway) and then come straight up and ask them if they are going to spy on you with it.
And seriously think about investing in a roll of black tape for the webcam before firing it up.
EDIT: Turns out they thought he was selling drugs – Mike And Ike Candy looks like pills apparently…
Also, I think I have the time fixed, sorry about that
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