Archive for February, 2010
A class action lawsuit filed in Federal Court in Philadelphia has shed light on a secret surveillance program targeting Americans, but this particular operation is not being run by the FBI or the NSA. It’s being run by the Lower Merion School District in Philadelphia, PA.
The laptops issued to high-school students in the well-heeled Philly suburb have webcams that can be covertly activated by the schools’ administrators, who have used this facility to spy on students and even their families. The issue came to light when the a high school student was disciplined for "improper behavior in his home" and the Vice Principal used a photo taken by the webcam as evidence. The suit is a class action, brought on behalf of all students issued with these machines.
If true, these allegations are about as creepy as they come. Most kids have their laptop in their room while getting dressed, having private discussions with friends & family, and so on. And it’s hardly necessary to mention the habit of regular masturbation of the average high school student which in many cases will involve using the very laptop. The idea that a school district would not only spy on its students’ clickstreams and emails (bad enough), but also use these machines as AV bugs is purely horrifying.
Schools are in an absolute panic about kids divulging too much online, worried about pedos and marketers and embarrassing photos that will haunt you when you run for office or apply for a job in 10 years. They tell kids to treat their personal details as though they were precious. But when schools take that personal information, indiscriminately invading privacy (and, of course, punishing students who use proxies and other privacy tools to avoid official surveillance), they send a much more powerful message: your privacy is worthless and you shouldn’t try to protect it.
The poll about our last Thursday’s Trap was closer than any other before, 47% of you voted for “Boy and 43% for “Girl” with the latter being the right answer: The model was American film director, actress, producer and screenwriter Sofia Carmina Coppola :) There is no poll this week ‘cause… well:
Photo by & with Alan Dorzbächer
“The three brothers that make up Kropp Circle have been writing songs before they could ride a bicycle. Sebastian (17), Remington (15), and Emerson (13) discovered their passion for music at a early age and have dedicated themselves to writing meaningful songs about life as they see it. Whether it’s songs about a first crush, losing a close friend, disappointment or the highs and lows of everyday teen life — Kropp Circle write about the experiences of their generation.”