Where 2010 is horribly like 1984

A suburban Philadelphia school district says it secretly captured 56,000 Webcam photographs and screen shots from laptops issued to high school students.
NYTimes/AP: Pennsylvania: School District Took 56,000 Secret Photographs

This is a shocking story, whose second chapter is the deplorable reporting by popular media which fails to ask basic questions like: 

  • Was there any indication to students that their laptop's built-in camera was on?
  • What policies did the school district follow in establishing laptop security practices?
  • What the fuck were they thinking?

Let's see what we can come up with for the first question:

...It was discovered that the school had installed LANrev security software onto all of their laptops, in case of theft.  The software was set up to take pictures every 15 seconds or 15 minutes (reports are very mixed over which it is) from the iSight camera without it showing any indication of being active.
Thousands Of Images Of Underage Students At Home Taken By School Issued Laptops, www.insanit.net, 17 April 2010

Lower Merion high school students [reported] iSight cameras powering up, as indicated by a brief flicker of the LED light next to the camera. Some students even put tape over their iSight cameras to prevent them from operating, but most were assured by the district that the light was a “common MacBook glitch.”
School district faces lawsuit over Webcam spying claims, www.macworld.com, 23 Feb 2010

Kudos & credits: The story is being tracked quite well at Stryde Hax.

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