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PA Laptop Spying Inspires FSF Crowdsourcing Effort 135

Posted by timothy
from the inspiration-comes-from-many-places dept.
holmesfsf writes "Creeped out by the Lower Merion School District's remote monitoring of students? Check out the Free Software Foundation's response to the laptop spying scandal and help build a wiki listing of school districts that provide students with laptops, so that the FSF can campaign against mandatory, proprietary laptops."
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PA Laptop Spying Inspires FSF Crowdsourcing Effort

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  • Great idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @09:46AM (#31463546) Homepage Journal

    Hopefully this situation will be a stepping stone to help the public understand the role that computers play in our personal lives.

    I switched to GNU/Linux in 1998 because lights on my external modem flickered each time I used RealPlayer to play files that were on my own computer.

    • GPLv3 tracking software [preyproject.com] Demand opensource! Demand that these school districts spy on their students only using free as in speech software.

      • yup (Score:1, Troll)

        If they do that, then any student can disable it, and every student can then use that one student's non-spying version.

        The perfect solution would be to have no spying in the first place, but since you haven't offered any way to do this, having software freedom is indeed the next best solution.

        • Do you really think it's that simple? Do you think, somehow, that students couldn't figure out how to similarly disable whatever software is running to active the webcam if they had known about it. The machine is user configurable. Similarly, having the source is no guarantee of security either unless you think mystic code audit gurus are going to step through the portal from geek nirvana to audit the entire software loadout of every system. As we have seen on numerous previous occasions, having the source
        • by sqlrob (173498)

          If they don't have root and the BIOS is password protected? I didn't know Linux was that insecure.

    • I switched to GNU/Linux in 1998 because lights on my external modem flickered each time I used RealPlayer to play files that were on my own computer.

      Did the lights on your modem flicker when using RealPlayer for Linux? [real.com]

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      the problem with this is the FSF is RMS. The man is so ultra radical he uses a Loongson Netbook [usesthis.com] because that is the ONLY portable that fit his ultra radical idea of "free". So are the FSF gonna demand that school districts by truckloads of underpowered Loongson netbooks to be "free as in freedom"?

      And according to TFA anything that runs Windows, OSX, Flash, hell pretty much any current tech except for a completely "free" Linux, excuse me, GNU-Linux, is totally out of your control and therefor they will figh

      • problem with that is anybody who has tried to run a completely free Linux like GNUSense knows what a royal gnuisance that is.

        Fixed that for you.

  • Meh. (Score:4, Informative)

    by XPeter (1429763) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @09:48AM (#31463558) Homepage

    At the high school I attend, all the desktops and laptops allowed on school property have a form of remote monitoring installed (Web Sense, NetOps, along with Deep Freeze).

    The problem is relatively easy to fix, though. I use my home computer as a proxy to get past Web Sense, and give myself admin rights to disable the NetOps and Deep Freeze. All students should know how to do this, and I teach as many how to as I can. Fuck the "monitoring" they do, this isn't China.

    • Re:Meh. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Enleth (947766) <enleth@enleth.com> on Saturday March 13, 2010 @10:00AM (#31463612) Homepage

      1. Install VirtualBox.
      2. Install Windows as a guest (preferably the same version as host if it is Windows, or some believable version if the host is a *nix or whatever).
      3. Start the virtual machine in full-screen mode, with automatic USB and CD pass-through.
      4. Let them install all the crap they want, smiling and thanking them for it.
      5. Save the sate of the virtual machine just in case it's suddenly needed sometime in the future.
      6. ???
      7. Prifot, and a crap-free computer with a good VM system installed for other uses.

      • by Enleth (947766)

        As a side note, I wish Slashdot swapped the "Submit" and "Continue Editing" buttons. It's too easy to click the former much too quickly by accident, as can be seen in the above post.

      • by XPeter (1429763)

        I've thought of doing that as well, but that'd probably work better in something like the Lower Merion case; where the school was supplying students with laptops to take home. This is not the case here, as all the laptops and desktops with said monitoring software are always on school grounds and constantly being used by other students and not just myself.

        • by Enleth (947766)

          Ah, OK. I thought you meant that when a student wants to use his own laptop on the school grounds, they want to install some crap on it, as well as installing it on the school hardware.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by XPeter (1429763)

            They tried to do that when I started to bring my netbook to school almost daily. I fought them over it, and eventually won the right to keep my netbook free of NetOps and Deep Freeze. All school internet is locked down with WebSense though, which meant I still had to use a proxy.

      • by forkazoo (138186)

        1. Install VirtualBox.
        2. Install Windows as a guest (preferably the same version as host if it is Windows, or some believable version if the host is a *nix or whatever).
        3. Start the virtual machine in full-screen mode, with automatic USB and CD pass-through.
        4. Let them install all the crap they want, smiling and thanking them for it.
        5. Save the sate of the virtual machine just in case it's suddenly needed sometime in the future.
        6. ???
        7. Prifot, and a crap-free computer with a good VM system installed for ot

    • by berryjw (1071694)
      Um, dude - you've just admitted to a felony. If it doesn't belong to you, you have no rights to do anything with it, without the owners permission.
      • by XPeter (1429763)

        They have no rights to install this software without the students knowledge.

        • by maxume (22995)

          How are you working around it if you don't know it is there?

          • by XPeter (1429763)

            Obviously being the geek I am I've snooped around and gained knowledge. But 99% of the poor bastards in school have no idea what is really going on, though.

            • by maxume (22995)

              If your concern is truly that the other students don't know about it, going to a school board meeting and asking them to make it a district policy to notify users of monitoring software would accomplish a great deal more than subverting the software on the computers that you make use of.

              I guess the blocking proxy announces itself pretty well though.

        • by tepples (727027)
          Consider this scenario: All students are informed of the monitoring software installed on school-district-owned computers. If they decline monitoring, the school declines to give credit.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bmo (77928)

        I call BS.

        How is that a felony? Explain using examples and US law.

        I'll wait right here.

        --
        BMO

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        If it doesn't belong to you, you have no rights to do anything with it, without the owners permission.

        Some laws just beg to be broken.

        God bless this kid for being ready to perpetrate crimes against the state at such an early age.

        When he figures out that the real threat comes from corporate power over our lives, he'll be formidable. We need more 16 year-olds like this.

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          If it doesn't belong to you, you have no rights to do anything with it, without the owners permission.

          Some laws just beg to be broken.

          God bless this kid for being ready to perpetrate crimes against the state at such an early age.

          When he figures out that the real threat comes from corporate power over our lives, he'll be formidable. We need more 16 year-olds like this.

          Have you ever worked as a sys admin at a school? You have to lock the hell out of the computers. If you set a room of. say, 20 computers and leave them unlocked by the end of the week you'd be lucky if one is still usable.

          Really, what do you expect. You have people being forced to attend an indoctrination camp against their will, so they lash out however they can.

          • by WCguru42 (1268530)

            When I was in high school we had a professor that somehow got a room full of computers (about 20) so she could teach C programming, system administration (windows and debian) without any of the schools typical restrictions on the computers. For sys admin we built the computers up from scratch, installed windows server and debian and went through the certification process for windows admin. It was a lot of fun, but being a room full of 16-18 year old boys (save for one girl) you learned quickly to never le

            • by XPeter (1429763)

              When I was in high school we had a professor that somehow got a room full of computers (about 20) so she could teach C programming, system administration (windows and debian) without any of the schools typical restrictions on the computers. For sys admin we built the computers up from scratch, installed windows server and debian and went through the certification process for windows admin. It was a lot of fun, but being a room full of 16-18 year old boys (save for one girl) you learned quickly to never leave your computer unlocked because every time you did you either got goatse or some other undesirable images. I can see why, in general, school computers are locked down so tightly.

              The school computers (Or at least my schools computers) are pretty shit on security, if you know what you're doing. It only took me a few days to figure out how to shut down any computer on my districts network, amongst other devious things.

      • Dude, whatever you're smoking, I hope I never get any.

        Felony? Citation needed. FELONY?!?! Without credible citations, I have to say you're full of something smelly. It's a school, and it's school property. I suppose that if some kids in gym class try playing baseball with a soccer ball, they've committed a felony because they're using the ball in an unapproved manner?

        Get real.

      • Wrong. At most they'd have a civil case against him for the cost to restore the machine.
      • Are you quite serious?

        The school might get upset, and take disciplinary action, but we're most certainly not talking felony territory here. A felony would be cracking into a system you don't have permission to use at all, or outright stealing a laptop (and even that, in many states, would depend how much the laptop is worth). It's not a felony to use a machine you've been granted permission to use. Now, certainly, if you go outside the scope of how you're supposed to use it, they might take it away and take

        • by pnutjam (523990)
          Hopefully you are training them to use a regular account for normal work and only elevate their privileges when they need to.
    • by bmo (77928)

      Some free tech advice. Take it or leave it.

      Disabling DeepFreeze is silly, because it's far more effective at combating malware than any "close the barn door after the horse has bolted" anti-virus.

      Maybe disabling DeepFreeze helps you get away from being net-nannied but then you become vulnerable to the likes of the Russian Business Network.

      Enter DeepFreeze password
      Make your changes (like your VPN)
      Refreeze

      Just make sure you put it back when you return the laptop, out of courtesy.

    • The problem is relatively easy to fix, though. All students should know how to do this, and I teach as many how to as I can. Fuck the "monitoring" they do, this isn't China.

      Did you to a lawyer about the risks you and the students are taking?

      Their parents and guardians?

      The ones who will be in no very forgiving mood when their kids miss graduation?

      Did you talk to your wife?

      Ever hear the phrase "Jail Bait?"

      Mucking around with minors and the law is dangerous:

      "Twenty-seven year old geek arrested as ringlead

      • by Skapare (16644)

        But, quite obviously, they don't lock them down right. If the smart kids can open 'em back up, and the supposed lock down just inhibits other proper uses, then it's done wrong. The right way would be to lock them down in a way that allows all law abiding activity appropriate for kids of age involved, while prohibiting all else, and done in a way even the smart geek kids know isn't worth bothering to crack. It's the school admins that need much educating if a bunch of kids know more than they do.

      • by gnapster (1401889)
        What the deuce? It seems pretty clear that GP is a student, not a teacher. XPeter might have to worry about their own graduation, but really; Jailbait? Take a chill pill.
    • We had some of that in my highschool. Those who could get around it didn't try to teach the others though, we just put all the steps in a .bat file and copied the file onto flash drives.
  • FTA: "any proprietary software is a computer that you don't control". How many people know half of what's going on with "Free" software? How many people not "into" tech know why free software is any different? And, how much free software is actually so thoroughly audited that everyone knows everything it does?

    At some point, you have to take someone's word that the software you are loading on your computer is "trustworthy", unless you're going to write it all yourself. And even then, how much of that c

    • There's no proposal that can solve everything. Of the proposals that exist today, free software is just far and away the best situation life's offering.

      It's not about *you* being free to read and change the source or distribute modified versions, it's about *all users* being able to do this. "freedom 3 [gnu.org]" makes this clear:

      "The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the sour

    • by dfcamara (1268174)
      Free software IS inherently more trustworthy. Maybe it's not that easy to audit, or that isn't enough people auditing every major project, but it's in a degree above of audibility from closed source applications.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      Free software isn't inherently more trustworthy, it simply moves the trust relationship around.

      "Moving the trust around" is hardly as trivial as you make it sound.

      In fact, it's the way truly free societies are supposed to work. You could sum up the philosophy of the US Constitution with the words "Move the Trust Around".

    • by pla (258480) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @11:04AM (#31463960) Journal
      At some point, you have to take someone's word that the software you are loading on your computer is "trustworthy", unless you're going to write it all yourself.

      Yes and no.

      Yes, I don't personally audit every line of code I run on my computers, so in that sense I "trust" the FOSS community to act as a pretty damned effective first-line defense against most of the common crap commercial vendors try to pull (whether Sony rootkits or WGA or Energizer's recent scandal).

      But also "No", in that if I notice some suspicious activity in a program I use, I can have the relevant source open in front of me five minutes later to see why it did what it did - Did it just get confused by a DNS timeout? Did it legitimately (it not necessarily with my permission) try to update itself to handle my request? Did it try to report everything I've done in the past 24 hours to a remote server in China under the guise of a "bug report"? With commercial software, I can at best block its action at the firewall and see what breaks; With FOSS, I can know what it did and act accordingly.


      Free software isn't inherently more trustworthy, it simply moves the trust relationship around.

      Yep, it does. And I'll trust a million strangers with no commercial interest in my life over a single CEO who sees me as a "resource" any day of the week, thankyouverymuch. And as a side-bonus, it also places more of that burden of trust right back on my shoulders. And while I may not always act in my own best interest, I do unwaveringly trust myself.
      • Pla, I mostly agree with you but I want to expand your point...

        But also "No", in that if I notice some suspicious activity in a program I use, I can have the relevant source open in front of me five minutes later to see why it did what it did

        You didn't say it but you probably would re-compile from those sources and compare the binaries too.

      • Hell I don't trust anyone at all, including me, myself and I becaue "Me has done things not in accordance with Long Term Goals - Myself has done things not in my own best interest - I because I have been PEBKAC stupid" so it's nice to see someone admit to trusting myself.

        Seriously, these are the reasons I run as a standard user. It forces me to stop and think "Is this a good Idea" when something wants/demands admin privs.

  • Every time I see the word crowdsourcing, I read it as crowdsurfing. I, for one, try to avoid being near anywhere that RMS is crowdsurfing.
  • "so that the FSF can campaign against mandatory, proprietary laptops."

    As if Free Non Proprietary Laptops won't in any way be used to spy on students.

    THIS IS THE WRONG BATTLE, FSF.

    The battle should be for privacy, not against proprietary laptops.

    I say this as a Free Software user.

    --
    BMO

    • by langelgjm (860756)
      I had the same thought at first, but the summary says both mandatory and proprietary. I don't think they should ask schools to stop using or offering proprietary software, that's unrealistic, but what is the need to make it mandatory? If a student or their family truly wants to opt out for some reason, that should be permitted.
      • by bmo (77928)

        As far as I know, you can opt out of having the school laptop. Even if they don't allow you to opt out on paper, you can still keep the thing in a closet and return it at the end of the school year.

        The problem is monitoring software. This was likely illegal since these students *can't* agree to it legally (they can't sign contracts) and the parents didn't know it was there, either. At last check, the FBI was investigating the school for ECPA violation. I hope someone goes to jail over this.

        Free software

  • When will RMS stop using his proprietary laptop?
    • by langelgjm (860756)
      Last I heard RMS was using a Longsoon based machine from China that supposedly has open technical specs, etc.
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by maxwell demon (590494)

        And was the machine actually built according to those specs? Did he verify it?

      • by DAldredge (2353)
        The Longsoon processor contains patented technology licensed from MIPS.
        • by langelgjm (860756)

          Actually the WP article [wikipedia.org] on the subject says the processor was specifically designed to avoid infringing the patent, but that they bought a license to be able to sell it as "MIPS compatible".

          Then later they supposedly licensed entire architectures from MIPS, but IIRC what I read about RMS's machine dates before that happened. Also just because they license the architecture doesn't mean what they produce is potentially patent infringing; they could just be playing it safe to avoid trouble.

  • The author is completely besides the point:

    When the software on your computer is proprietary, then you can't know whether the light is coming on because of a glitch or because the camera is actually running.
    Unless you both know programming and have lots of time to dig into the code, you don't know either (and even then, the machine might have been manipulated already at the BIOS level, and may be hiding the changes from you).

    But even more to the point: The original source he quotes explains:
    The webcam could

  • Excuse me? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by berryjw (1071694) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @10:23AM (#31463744)
    For all those with a knee-jerk reaction to this, consider it from this perspective: You've just spent millions of dollars, building a network infrastructure, programming servers and switches and routers, creating images and an environment to handle all of this, all for a very specific task. You're saying there's *nothing wrong* with me using what you've built, however I want to, and you've no right to watch how I use it? If so, I'm coming to your place, no reason for me to ever spend a dime on tech! Hmm, does this logic apply to your car? Or bank account???
    • Re:Excuse me? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lena_10326 (1100441) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @10:44AM (#31463862) Homepage
      Spending millions of dollars and loaning out hardware doesn't give school officials the right to remotely activate and control the laptop webcam and spy on children in their own bedrooms--potentially while undressing. People are pissed not due to knee jerk reaction, but because what the school did was fucking creepy.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by BitterOak (537666)

        Spending millions of dollars and loaning out hardware doesn't give school officials the right to remotely activate and control the laptop webcam and spy on children in their own bedrooms--potentially while undressing.

        But children love strangers to watch them undress in their bedrooms. Haven't you ever used ChatRoulette?

    • by bmo (77928) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @11:57AM (#31464300)

      No, you don't get to monitor people through your network, unless it's for monitoring how the network is working. Not without notification to the users (who in this case can't sign a contract legally).

      You *do not* get carte blanche to monitor users simply because you spent money and built a network. In order to do that, you need to get a waiver from the users of that network.

      If you're going to secretly monitor minors using your network, you are a creepy fuck and you deserve to go to jail because you've just violated the ECPA.

      *BMO throws a copy of the ECPA and a copy of Netlaw at your head*

      --
      BMO

  • Governance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DaveGod (703167) on Saturday March 13, 2010 @10:28AM (#31463768)

    The issue isn't proprietary laptops nor the student's control over them. It's bad governance. A bad decision arising from good intentions simply not thought out nor with proper controls and disclosure in place.

    With good governance they never should have made a decision that would so obviously bring the school into such disrepute. With proper controls they could demonstrate how the function could not be abused, or at a minimum that abuse would be detected. With proper disclosure the school kids and their parents could have objected and this farce never would have happened even with the school having made the bad decision. With proper disclosure there is an entirely different scope for alarm - spying on kids with their knowledge is appalling but without them knowing, that's really something.

    Using non-proprietary laptops merely adds one avenue for detection of the wrongdoing here. It's trivial compared to the other causes of the failure that need to be rectified, starting with the removal of the entire board responsible for the decision because of their utterly incompetent governance.

  • Opportunism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ralish (775196) <ralish@g m a i l . com> on Saturday March 13, 2010 @10:44AM (#31463860)

    Is it just me, or does this just reek of opportunism? What the school in question did was appalling, but it has nothing to do with the open-source vs. closed-source debate, or the proprietary vs. open debate, it's just raw and basic ethics. This is about people's basic right to privacy, as well as the ethical conduct of system administrators. Windows doesn't stop you installing open-source software, and Linux doesn't stop you installing proprietary software. Neither operating system will stop a system administrator from installing nasty software.

    Presumably the FSF would feel a lot better about this if the students were being spied on from laptops running Linux with open-source spying software? We could mask the presence with an open-source rootkit, and upload the data to a FreeBSD server running Apache and a MySQL database. Then this would be just fine. Groups that hijack legitimate issues in order to advance their own agenda are sickening. Jack Thompson likes to do this to advocate video game restrictions, pro & anti gun control groups do this whenever the latest gun violence story hits the news, and now the FSF joins in. I knew they'd been progressively losing sanity over the years, but I thought even this was beneath them.

    • Windows doesn't stop you installing open-source software

      The 64-bit version of Windows blocks installation of unsigned software that runs in kernel mode. It also blocks installation of such software signed with a homemade certificate unless you start the computer in "Test Mode", in which case always-on-top "Test Mode" notices appear in the corners of the screen.

      • by Blakey Rat (99501)

        You didn't get around to disputing the grandparent's point.

        Windows *doesn't* stop you from installing open source software. There are no rules against having an open source driver certified with WHQL.

        Now you can complain that no open source groups have done that, if that's even true, but that's hardly Microsoft's fault, now is it?

        • by tepples (727027)

          There are no rules against having an open source driver certified with WHQL.

          What you say is true of some licenses, but it defeats what some advocates feel is the point of free software. GNU General Public License version 3 requires those who distribute binaries to provide Installation Information at marginal cost along with the rest of a covered work's Corresponding Source. In the case of Windows KMCS, Installation Information appears to include the private key of your code signing certificate, and disclosing it violates the certificate's contract. One way to work around this would

          • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

            by Blakey Rat (99501)

            I don't want to debate the nuances, because I really don't care. I just hate it when people reply to a post without addressing it, and wanted to point out that you were guilty of that.

        • by DAldredge (2353)
          This is slashdot, EVERYTHING is Microsoft's fault.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The FSF is not about open source software. The FSF is about protecting the personal freedoms of computer users. As such, a case like this where the privacy of computer users is compromised without their consent is of great interest to the FSF.
      • by Ralish (775196)

        I understand, but my point is would FOSS have stopped the actions of the school? The answer to me seems to be no, there's nothing in Linux or any other mainstream operating system that would inherently block such software from running that has the capability of intrusive monitoring of a user. So the argument that Linux and/or free software would in some way have stopped the event from occuring is nonsensical. The licensing of an operating system is irrelevant in so far as any OS in the hands of an abusive a

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Skapare (16644)

      This event opened our eyes to the POTENTIAL for abuse by a group of people that typically is known for a greater propensity to be abusive.

      And there are issues about even the program itself. For example, requiring kids to use that computer and not the one that they already have at home, which for some can be a space issue (where do I put it). It also imposes property care obligations on people that don't necessarily need to have it. In some cases students cannot leave their school provided laptops at school

    • Back in the early 80s, RMS decided the world needed Free Software.

      A rather simple plan would seem to suffice:

      1. Build it
      2. Advocate it

      Since a lot of people work on free software, the FSF has decided it doesn't need to focus its efforts on that any longer, but should rather advocate its viewpoints.

      Building it required an understanding of software. Advocating it requires an understanding of people.

      Us nerds are often more plentifully endowed with technical competency compared to our skill with people. RMS even mor

    • by hduff (570443)

      Presumably the FSF would feel a lot better about this if the students were being spied on from laptops running Linux with open-source spying software?

      Perhaps with Linux, the webcams would not have even worked if they required proprietary drivers? No spying then.

  • Facts: 1. the school told students who did not pay the laptop fee to not remove the laptops from school 2. the kid's parents did not pay the fee 3. kide removed laptop 4. school staff randomly inventoried laptops 5. school staff discovered laptop missing 6. staff activated anti theft program... Student broke rules and got busted, doesn't matter if it was a laptop or getting caught smoking on school surveilance web cam. how is this any different than someone using MoblieMe to find their missing iphon
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Facts: ...

      Student broke rules and got busted, doesn't matter if it was a laptop or getting caught smoking on school surveilance web cam.

      how is this any different than someone using MoblieMe to find their missing iphones??

      It's different because of the potential to take pictures of a child while he/she was dressing 'exposes' the picture taker to child pornography laws, especially when the kids did not know about the camera. It only takes a SINGLE picture to put the person taking the picture at risk for years of prison time.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Student broke rules and got busted, doesn't matter if it was a laptop or getting caught smoking on school surveilance web cam

      Single most important fact, which you neglected: He didn't get busted for taking the laptop home, he got busted because the photograph taken by the surveillance cam made somebody believe he was popping pills.

      He got busted by the school for behavior that did not happen at school. Nevermind the fact that the "pills" turned out to be candy, because it's not even relevant. I don't care if he was shooting up, they shouldn't have had the ability to "catch" him in his own home.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's different for one very important reason: The parents and children were never informed of the presence of this capability, and never had an opportunity to consent to it. Furthermore, it's not clear if it would be legal even with informed consent.

      Correcting your analogy of "getting caught smoking on the school surveillance cam", you could say that the school had extended its surveillance cam into every student's home. Possibly legal? I don't know, but certainly not without informing those parents/chi

    • its diferent as the system was set up in such a way that it would produce child porn - which is a strict liabilitry offence. If they just had an ability to track the location they would be fine.

      Why has the pricipal and the entire tech team not been suspened/fired and be under investigation?
      • set up in such a way that it would produce child porn

        Uhm, no, it COULD produce child porn, or adult porn, or a reality TV show, etc...

        • by mjwalshe (1680392)
          over time it would, the system was setup so it had to at some point - that is the down side of strict liability you cant say oops that was a mistake.

          The pricipal and teh scholl techies are very lucky the states doesnt have UK style tabloids they would have destoyed their life and carrear and if he was unlucky stired up a lynch mob by now
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You need to read the constitution. The school is the government and monitored him in his home without a warrant.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fnord666 (889225)

      Facts: 1. the school told students who did not pay the laptop fee to not remove the laptops from school 2. the kid's parents did not pay the fee 3. kide removed laptop 4. school staff randomly inventoried laptops 5. school staff discovered laptop missing 6. staff activated anti theft program.

      Citation needed please. This is the first I have heard of items 2,4,5 and 6.

  • I don't know about the proprietary laptops comment. I guess I don't care if its a proprietary laptop or not, but they should be standardized.

    It would be a total mess is they didn't keep some control of the computers and hardware. All the hardware should be the same. This makes it so much easier for the IT department when every single laptop is the same model number. This makes replacements easy. If its hardware, swap the hard drive into a spare unit and everything works. All the drivers are the same. I

  • by Max_W (812974)

    In Soviet Russia the laptop is watching you. No...wait...

  • FSF can campaign against mandatory, proprietary laptops

    Presumably, optional proprietary laptops and mandatory open-source laptops are OK?

    That's right, only closed-source software is used for nefarious purposes, right?

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