Feeds

Report reams IT admins for secretly snapping student pics

More than 58,000 images captured

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

A suburban Philadelphia school district secretly captured more than 58,000 images of students and their friends and family members as a result of an "overzealous" campaign to track the whereabouts of school-issued laptops, according to an independent report.

Although the tracking technology was supposed to be used only in cases where a laptop was stolen or missing, 50,000 of those images were taken after the computers had been recovered, according to the report, prepared by a former federal prosecutor and a computer forensics firm.

Investigators blamed the privacy breach on two IT employees for the Lower Merion School District, who installed administrative software called LANrev on the school-issued MacBooks. The investigators also faulted administrators for not enforcing official policies or procedures for use of the program, which could be programed to surreptitiously snap pictures at regular intervals from the camera mounted on the monitor.

The 69-page report found no proof that anyone deliberately set out to spy on students, or that once captured, the images were downloaded. But it nonetheless blasted IT workers and administrators alike.

"Rather, the collection of images from laptops while they were in the possession of students resulted from the District's failure to implement policies, procedures, and recordkeeping requirements and the overzealous and questionable use of technology by IS (information services) personnel without any apparent regard for privacy considerations or sufficient consultation with administrators," it stated.

More than 400 images were secretly snapped of Blake Robbins, a high school student who has filed suit for invasion of privacy. Some were taken while he was sleeping or partially undressed, although the report said none of the images included nudity.

A PDF of the report is here and there's more from The Philadelphia Inquirer here. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.