Monday, February 22, 2010

Be careful Pennsylvania students, Big Brother really is watching!

I saw this article online while browsing for Apple related news (I think I need a mac intervention!) I couldn't believe what I was reading as I made my way through the article and subsequint searching that found more articles on this case. The case involves 2,000+ macbooks bought by a Pennsylvania high school that it distributed to its sudents and allowed them to take the computers home. In an effort to "locate stolen computers" the school employed a software that turned on the webcams on the computers and took still pictures INSIDE THE STUDENT'S HOMES! Some students were even called into the office for improper behavior that was recorded while in the homes. I cannot imagine the level of violation that the students (and parents for that matter) must feel about this. I don't know about the rest of you, but if I found out that my school was taking still pictures of me inside my home without my knowledge I would raise a stink like they have never seen the likes of! I think this case raises all kinds of issues about cyber privacy and where the line is drawn.The school is being brought up on charges that are similar to illegal wire tapping, but I think that this is another level all together. I can only imagine what other kinds of images that were captured that the article didn't talk about as it only addressed images of the students themselves (dads in their shorts staring into the fridge, moms getting dressed for work, creep city!) What do you all think about the rights of the students and of the school in a situation such as this one?


  1. I heard about this. I cannot believe ANY school board would sign off on something like that - if that's what happened, I think there are going to be a LOT of job openings in that school district.

    As a high school teacher, I can only imagine how disastrous that could be.

  2. I agree with Shelley: It seems they were within the bounds of their policy, but the policy itself seems less than prudent. Here's another example that's been hot on the listserv of the Journalism Education Association--this admin seems to get a kick out of it and isn't afraid to admit it: