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Crime Education Privacy Idle Technology

Girls Bugged Teachers' Staff Room 227

A pair of enterprising Swedish schoolgirls ended up in court after they were caught bugging their teachers break room. The duo hoped they would hear discussions about upcoming tests and school work, allowing them to get better grades. It worked until one of them decided to brag about it on Facebook, and the authorities were called in. The girls were charged with trespassing and fined 2,000 kronor ($270) each in Stockholm District Court.
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Girls Bugged Teachers' Staff Room

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  • by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionar ... m ['oo.' in gap]> on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @01:11PM (#33357598) Journal

    Nice anti government rant. Too bad the facts don't fit. Here's the report from the independent investigation. [] The FBI investigated the case and found there was not enough evidence to convict anyone of criminal charges. Are you claiming the FBI is in cahoots with the Lower Marion School District? Are you honestly saying the FBI will not prosecute low level government employees because the FBI feels it is the right of any government employee to spy on citizens? Put down the Kool-Aid and take off the tinfoil hat.

  • by Hizonner ( 38491 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @02:50PM (#33359266)

    OK, let's just have a look at that report, shall we?

    "Activations" involving photographs on laptops issued to students were grouped into these categories:

    • "Stolen student laptops". AKA "playing cop and spying on people who probably stole laptops". 18,782 photographs, 17,258 screenshots. Probably no legal authority. If you or I had done it: probably given a pass because we were trying to identify a Bad Guy and legitimately had no idea where the machines were... however, it's also probably illegal. There's no legal exemption I know of for peeping to find your stolen property. That's for law enforcement with warrants, not random school officials.

    • "Laptops Not Returned by Students Who Withdrew from School". AKA "playing cop and spying on kids who may have stolen or forgotten to return laptops". 2,366 photographs, 1,332 screenshots. Doesn't say whether they tried, you know, calling the kids on the phone first. Report says "In any event, the wisdom and propriety of activating image tracking in these circumstances are questionable at best." Actual legal justification for doing this: zero. If you or I had done it: criminal charges probable.

    • "Missing Student Laptops". AKA "if we give them the benefit of the doubt, just taking a peek through the webcam and hoping they can recognize where the machine is". 6,693 photographs, 6,693 screenshots. Photographs probably legal if they weren't actually trying to watch any actual person. Screenshots probably wiretapping. If you or I had done it: get a good lawyer, but you might skate by claiming the screenshots were inadvertant..

    • "Image-Tracking of Laptop for Which Insurance Fees Were Unpaid". AKA "total overreaction, spying on a kid to get information about a machine you accidentally handed to him, with no suspicion of any intent to on his part to steal it, no attempt to contact him, and reason to suspect he wouldn't just cooperate with you if you did contact him, plus bonus escalation to an investigation of personal activities (probably sex chat) based on a screen shot.". 210 photographs, many taken after the precise physical location of the laptop was established. If you or I did it: criminal charges probable.

    • "Mistake Activations for Student Laptops". AKA "random incompetence". 6 photographs, 4 screenshots. If you or I had done it: honest mistake, we'd probably be OK.

    • "Activations for Student Laptops for Reasons Unknown". AKA "nobody bothered to say why", 3/10, "nobody bothered to say anything at all", 7/10. 2,507 photographs, 2,212 screenshots. If you or I did it: probably legally OK because burden would be on the prosecution to prove we did it on purpose and for invalid purposes. However, they'd probably have tried to charge us anyhow, given that it involved kids.

    US attorney's decision: "no sufficient evidence of criminal intent"... despite the intentional commission of multiple clearly criminal acts by multiple people working in concert over a long period of time. Chance that you or I would get that kind of consideration for our stupidity or ignorance of the law: approximately zero. Unless we worked for some kind of corporation or other institution with "respectability", in which case the US attorney would similarly serve "justice" by letting us go. It's amazing how much the credibility of the evidence against you varies by who you are.

    Bottom line: these people were let skate because they were "nice" types working for the "good guys" and "just trying to do their jobs". Identical behavior by an average citizen acting alone would probably get criminal charges. Identical behavior by somebody actually "anti-establishment" would probably get hundreds, maybe thousands of counts, plus conspiracy and a whole raft of add-ons, and a serious drive for a conviction... which would probably succeed, because the behavior really is illegal.

    NO, the Feds don't think it's the right of any government employee to spy on citizens. YES, the Feds won't treat your

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