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Lower Merion School's Report Says IT Dept. Did It, But Didn't Inhale 232

PSandusky writes "A report issued by the Lower Merion School District's chosen law firm blames the district's IT department for the laptop webcam spying scandal. In particular, the report mentions lax IT policies and record-keeping as major problems that enabled the spying. Despite thousands of e-mails and images to the contrary, the report also maintains that no proof exists that anyone in IT viewed images captured by the webcams."
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Lower Merion School's Report Says IT Dept. Did It, But Didn't Inhale

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  • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jeng ( 926980 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @03:55PM (#32116280)

    Not only the request to do it, but the request to stop it.

    I'm sure the school administrators requested for the access, but forgot to request for the access to be terminated once enough information was procured letting the pictures just pile up like emails in a discontinued email address.

  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @03:58PM (#32116340)
    You never know where there may be a camera, especially outside. You never know where your intertube bits may end up. Assume the worst. This is just a preview of the future.
  • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zerth ( 26112 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @04:09PM (#32116474)

    Especially considering the email that said they thought it was like watching "a little LMSD soap opera," [rhymeswithright.mu.nu]. While the statement could have been taken out of context("testing this is cool, this is like 'a little LMSD soap opera'"), it kind of implies they looked at something.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2010 @04:12PM (#32116550)

    It's interesting that the Police in various states are coming down like a ton of bricks on people videotaping them screwing up arrests, then posting them to YouTube. How is this different in terms of the wiretaping laws? I'll bet any waiver form signed by parents in order to get these MacBooks didn't include anything allowing remote monitoring. I hope the IT department isn't the only one who gets their ass reamed in this. I'm sure the FBI's investigation will go after everyone they can get. I wonder if any school administrators are planning to go to Europe or South America this summer...

  • As expected (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @04:20PM (#32116676) Homepage

    It is the minions fault, of course no one in management would ever do anything amoral.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jeng ( 926980 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @04:22PM (#32116712)

    If the school is telling you to turn on the anti-theft program on a school laptop what is your argument you would make to the administrators to let them know that what they are doing is wrong?

    Secondly, how would you know that it would be wrong for them to turn on the anti-theft tracking software in the first place?

  • Re:Boned (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Muad'Dave ( 255648 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @04:23PM (#32116730) Homepage

    But who is "you" in this case?

    Any of the school employees that had access to and/or "Dominion and Control" over the images.

    Isn't that the standard for illegal things found in your car/apartment, etc? Even if they're not yours, if you had access or dominion and control over them, you're presumed to 'own' them.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Naturalis Philosopho ( 1160697 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @04:47PM (#32117082)

    Well, if my boss told me to break into someone's house, or even to look in the windows because they though that that someone had stolen equipment from work I'd say "sure, as soon as the police officer with the warrant gets here I'll be happy to help him!" If a crime hasn't occurred, then it's not worth activating a "feature" like this. If it has occurred, then it's worth getting the police involved. If it's in between, then it's time to call your insurance company and see if they'll pay the claim for the "stolen" equipment anyway. (Most times if you report it stolen and show the police report you'll get your money. It's not your job to track down the criminals or the equipment, it's the police's.)

    To your second point, I know that common sense isn't that common, but really, unless there's a signed document from these kids parents allowing the camera to be turned on, I think that everyone involved should go to jail for at least a little while. It's illegal to film in someone's bedroom without their permission. Ignorance of the law is no excuse and all that. I know that we all love the stories about the person who used "back to my Mac" to take pictures of the criminal who took their laptop, but just wait until someone does that with a computer that's been stolen by a teenage girl and gets nailed for "creation of child porn" when they track their computer while she's dressing in the morning.

  • by zeroduck ( 691015 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @04:52PM (#32117138)
    This is what I've heard (source [yahoo.com]):

    The report says Robbins turned in his laptop with a broken screen and was issued a loaner on Oct. 20, but school officials quickly moved to retrieve it due to outstanding insurance fees. So the tracking program was activated from Oct. 20 to Nov. 4 and captured 210 webcam photographs and 218 screen shots, the report said.

    So they knew who had the laptop (not missing). They gave it to him (not stolen). They didn't attempt to recover the laptop by using reasonable measures (asking him for it back, calling the parents). But some how, spying on him for 15 days, off campus, is reasonable for not paying a $50 fee?

  • Re:Boned (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cynyr ( 703126 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @04:59PM (#32117244)
    so then everyone from the IT guys on up? Including the Governor, and state house/senate, and appointed school chairman? or? what about the whole teachers union(they are a union, one for all and all for one)?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2010 @09:18PM (#32120664)

    All those movies I downloaded - well there's no evidence to say I watched them.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @12:03AM (#32122100) Journal

    no, 42 was correct. that was clarified later. They meant they started the system 42 times. Thousands of photos each time though. "whoops" is an understatement.

    Why they spun the 42 in the first place is horrifically stupid and beyond bad pr. It's like "We only shot people using 42 guns" (but shout 42 thousand bullets) etc.

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