Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

QOTD: Should Schools Use Laptops to Watch Kids?

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 97 comments

Over the last few weeks there's been a lot of controversy surrounding the issue of schools monitoring students using school-owned laptops.

Media coverage of the lawsuit filed by student Blake J. Robbins of Philadelphia has been extensive. Robbins was disciplined for "improper behavior in his home" by the Vice Principal of his school and the VP provided a photo taken by the webcam as evidence.

The school has since said the monitoring software was installed to help identify thieves and maintains that the tracking-security feature was limited to taking a still image of the operator and the operator's screen. According to the school district, this feature has only been used for the limited purpose of locating a lost, stolen or missing laptop. A FAQ from the superintendent of the school district, Dr. Christopher McGinley, says the tracking feature or web cam isn't ussed for any other purpose or in any other manner whatsoever.

Today a new case has come to light in which a school in New York has been using monitoring software to keep an eye on students during classes. Very different to the school in Philadelphia, Vice Principal of the Bronx-based school, Dan Ackerman, openly admits to monitoring what the students are doing during school-time; though it's unclear if they keep an eye on them outside of school hours.

Today's Question of the Day is: Do You Think Schools Should Be Allowed to Monitor Students Via School-owned Laptops?

Discuss
Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the News comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 36 Hide
    Mousemonkey , February 26, 2010 11:04 PM
    HELL NO!
  • 28 Hide
    the_krasno , February 26, 2010 11:26 PM
    What? NO! What kind of question is this Jane? D:
  • 25 Hide
    h0llow , February 26, 2010 11:26 PM
    If i had a kid, I'd also agree. HELL NO! There are enough low life pedos out there. So... What if he is one? That's my feeling.
Other Comments
    Display all 97 comments.
  • 36 Hide
    Mousemonkey , February 26, 2010 11:04 PM
    HELL NO!
  • 20 Hide
    Shadow703793 , February 26, 2010 11:23 PM
    mousemonkeyHELL NO!

    Couldn't have said it any better. This is a clear violation of privacy (esp. for a female student).
  • 28 Hide
    the_krasno , February 26, 2010 11:26 PM
    What? NO! What kind of question is this Jane? D:
  • 25 Hide
    h0llow , February 26, 2010 11:26 PM
    If i had a kid, I'd also agree. HELL NO! There are enough low life pedos out there. So... What if he is one? That's my feeling.
  • 24 Hide
    zerapio , February 26, 2010 11:27 PM
    Silly question... NO
  • 24 Hide
    goldrocker , February 26, 2010 11:29 PM
    I'm surprised You even considered asking the question. Ofcourse not! Especially not by laptops that activate and film you while you're away from school. Let that be a parent's job.
  • 16 Hide
    wenty , February 26, 2010 11:29 PM
    Lets just let the government and school systems have our kids...... That way the parents can focus on being slaves to the elite.

    The American family system is broken.

    Time to wake up people.
  • 13 Hide
    4ILY45 , February 26, 2010 11:34 PM
    Via Webcam? Over my dead body!!
    can't they just packet sniff the student's laptops when they are at school?
  • 24 Hide
    shadow187 , February 26, 2010 11:41 PM
    Watch the pedophiles flock to teacher positions.
  • 3 Hide
    swisscheez , February 26, 2010 11:42 PM
    Why dont the kids just put a piece of tape over the webcam when they arent using it? Bam, multi-million dollar lawsuit with a pennys worth of tape
  • 13 Hide
    guitarpeggio , February 26, 2010 11:42 PM
    If
  • 19 Hide
    guitarpeggio , February 26, 2010 11:43 PM
    swisscheezWhy dont the kids just put a piece of tape over the webcam when they arent using it? Bam, multi-million dollar lawsuit with a pennys worth of tape


    Because the kids shouldn't be the ones correcting the situation.
  • -1 Hide
    swisscheez , February 26, 2010 11:52 PM
    guitarpeggioBecause the kids shouldn't be the ones correcting the situation.


    The problem doesnt necessarily lie with the schools either.
    Today i was in an army recruting office and noticed a piece of tape over the microphone on a recruiters laptop. Im sure his superiors do not install any software to monitor his voice, but this is just a counter-measure from anybody hacking into the system and monitoring.
    The piece of tape wud be a safe guard from the schools and anybody else who decides to sneak some malware onto these kids computers.
  • 0 Hide
    96stangman , February 26, 2010 11:57 PM
    F
  • 15 Hide
    kelemvor4 , February 27, 2010 12:06 AM
    Shadow703793Couldn't have said it any better. This is a clear violation of privacy (esp. for a female student).

    Wow, sexist much?

    swisscheezThe problem doesnt necessarily lie with the schools either.Today i was in an army recruting office and noticed a piece of tape over the microphone on a recruiters laptop. Im sure his superiors do not install any software to monitor his voice, but this is just a counter-measure from anybody hacking into the system and monitoring.The piece of tape wud be a safe guard from the schools and anybody else who decides to sneak some malware onto these kids computers.

    Or even better, don't get laptops with webcams built in. I work for a fortune 100 firm, and I don't do anything that requires a "special" level of security; however our company buys laptops and cellphones with no camreas. Too much risk of spying/corporate espionage. It's not hard to plug a webcam into a usb port if you actually need one.

    On a side note, perhaps the schools could get them computers that they'll actually be able to learn skills from which could help them get a job.. just a thought.
  • 5 Hide
    steve9207 , February 27, 2010 12:09 AM
    swisscheez makes a good point; if the only way to obtain one of these school issued laptops was to abide by some CRAZY monitoring policies like this, then sure, they can just put a piece of electrical tape over it, which would surely block it out.

    On the topic as a whole; is it really the school's job to monitor what the student is doing OUTSIDE of school? I could possibly see monitoring the activities on the computer (what sites, applications, etc) are being used to make sure it's within the guidelines of the intended use / legal. But certainly not monitoring personal behavior.
  • 2 Hide
    False_Dmitry_II , February 27, 2010 12:20 AM
    I want them to not spend taxpayer money on MACBOOKS, when they could at the very least buy normal $500-600 laptops. Though preferably netbooks instead.
  • 1 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , February 27, 2010 12:40 AM
    NO. Plain NO. Violation of privacy.
  • -6 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , February 27, 2010 12:41 AM
    False_Dmitry_III want them to not spend taxpayer money on MACBOOKS, when they could at the very least buy normal $500-600 laptops. Though preferably netbooks instead.


    University's make most of they're budget through the cost of entering school , not through the cost of tax payer money. Hell getting into a university costs about as much as 10 or 20 Macbook pro's if they're the expensive kind.
Display more comments