ACLU: School-issued computers allow administrators to spy on students at home


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The American Civil Liberties Union is calling out Rhode Island’s student computer programs for allowing school officials to remotely spy on students with the devices, including at home.

Most of the state’s school districts issue laptops to students for free that they’re allowed to take home, but the deal comes with a catch. The so-called “1-1” programs typically allow school officials to remotely access the computers for any reason, at any time, including when students take the devices home, reports.

The access, written into school policy, often grants students no expectation of privacy, which gives officials unfettered access to files, emails, the computer’s webcam and microphone, as well as individual keystrokes and websites visited by whoever uses the device.

more here

16 Comments on ACLU: School-issued computers allow administrators to spy on students at home

  1. “Well I guess I better put My Girlfriends top back on”

    “I wouldn’t do that If I were You Dave”

  2. The computer is “free” what are you complaining about?

    Here is a solution: if you don’t want Big Brother synced into your computer go buy your own.

  3. If anyone had an embarrassing photo of a teacher, or better yet an administrator, it might be amusing to hold it up to the webcam from time to time.

    Another thought: tape an ear bud over the microphone hole and play an audio file of someone reading Richard Mitchell’s The Underground Grammarian articles skewering the educationist establishment.

  4. I’m confused.. isn’t the ACLU joined up with the teachers union? Only a matter of time before the left completely annihilate one another..

  5. I get the annoyance at free things and complaints by the recipients about those free things, but why should the schools paying for the computers give them the right to make pictures of kids sleeping and whatever else they might be doing in their bedrooms? That’s creepy.

  6. First, just have the kids take a close-up picture of their teacher. Then, print the picture and caption it with “Hi, Mrs. _So-and-so_!” When the tablet is not in use, keep it powered-up and have the tablet’s camera pointed at the picture up close – and cover the microphone with gum.

  7. First clue should have been that memo instructing all students to leave the laptop open and facing the shower stall and/or bed at all times…

  8. Also, take the computer home and lock it in the trunk of the car for three or four weeks.
    The gawkers may have declined by then.

  9. Government over-kill.

    The only thing that should be on the device is GPS tracking software so they can locate it if it has been stolen.

    OTHERWISE, normal computers and computer labs RESET the device back to its original state whenever the administrator wants to clear out everything but original programs.


  10. This has been going on for a while:
    10.12.10 04:30 pm
    School District Pays $610,000 to Settle Webcam Spying Lawsuits
    “The original suit was based on a claim by Robbins, a sophomore at the time, that school officials reprimanded him for “improper behavior” based on photos the computer secretly took of the boy at home last fall. One picture shows him asleep at home last October.
    That “behavior” turned out to be pill popping. The family said their son was eating Mike and Ike candy, his lawyer claimed.”
    They took over 4000 pictures of the kid.

  11. @j in VT; That’s the story that was quoted (among some others in the story). One school board that the ACLU went after agreed that there would be no monitering unless there was “imminent danger” or there was a “Federal Warrent” to allow it. That’s overkill as well. If you’re going to lend school property the school has a right to ensure that it’s being used correctly (and for legal purposes) and this could mean monitering key strokes and internet usage and the files. I don’t think it means activating the camera and mic. There ought to be a fair middle of the road policy that satifies the needs of the school to make sure the notebook isn’t used to set up a porn site at the same time a students basic right to privacy is respected.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.