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US schools gave kids laptops during the pandemic. Then they spied on them

Summary

According to one survey, 81% of teachers in America said their schools monitor devices. Students are not always aware

 

Quotes

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According to recent research by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), “86% of teachers reported that, during the pandemic, schools provided tablets, laptops, or Chromebooks to students at twice the rate (43%) prior to the pandemic, an illustration of schools’ attempts to close disparities in digital access.”

The problem is, a lot of those electronics were being used to monitor students, even combing through private chats, emails and documents all in the name of protecting them. More than 80% of surveyed teachers and 77% of surveyed high school students told the CDT that their schools use surveillance software on those devices, and the more reliant students are on those electronics, unable to afford supplementary phones or tablets, the more they are subjected to scrutiny.

Thousands of school districts across the United States have installed surveillance software on school-provided devices to monitor their students’ online interactions. If a student emails or chats with another student saying they’ve been thinking of hurting themselves or that there is trouble at home, an AI bot or a human moderator watching over the messages in real time can send an alert to a teacher or administrator, allowing the teacher to jump in within minutes and ask if everything is OK.

It’s not clear whether students are going to benefit from this surveillance, or if it is merely going to reduce schools’ liability when an act of violence or self-harm takes place. If teens are in need of help, it seems obvious that the best way to protect them is to ensure they have trusted adults in their lives they can turn to. A snooping AI is no substitute for that.

 

My thoughts

The document for the survey has been linked (2nd one) below in case you want to take a deeper look into it. But anyway, Surveillance on School issued devices. This, honestly imo, isn't really all that great. Teens are really sensitive to their privacy and having that taken away, isn't really great. I can probably understand surveillance during class times. But surveillance outside of school times, and that too in private and personal mediums of communication, sorta inexcuseable. I mean sure, this is supposed ot be "for the children" (and maybe I'm biased seeing as I am myself one of this demographic (just outside of the US)) but that still isn't right in my book. And I pretty certain that that surveillance includes closing down what the average teen would likely be doing behind locked doors. Yea, still, even in cases where the child is indeed suffering, I can see them more likely going to someone they can trust (altho, if they don't have someone then I see the issue). But enough with my rambling, I feel this qoute sums it up pretty nicely:

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Teens deserve privacy for the same reasons the rest of us do: to not have our rights trampled on, feel paranoid and be disciplined for minor transgressions. Besides, teens need their privacy to create confusing memes and frantic new TikTok dances. It’s their job to freak out adults; we need to give them the space to do it.

Sources

The Guardian

CDT

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I thought it was common knowledge that work/school laptops are always monitored? I mean it's supposed to be a work device

 

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I mean... Yeah?

If you get a laptop or phone for your school or workplace, assume you're being spied on and they know everything you do on this device. It's not a "personal device" that you've bought with your own money, it was "given" to you, by them. They expect you to only do work on this machine.

In addition, if you are ever asked, after logging into some services like MS Teams, if you want to allow your "organization" to manage your device, which is ticked by default, DON'T accept that, untick it and select "No, sign in to this app only" at the bottom. Otherwise you're giving whoever manage your email domain access to your stuff, which they could even remotely wipe if they so wished.

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So lets be clear, there is a difference between monitoring programs while on in the dedicated time that the class is running vs monitoring outside of those hours. The first is 100% acceptable IMO and exactly how things work in a real classroom, with or without computers. The second is 100% unacceptable, for all the aforementioned privacy reasons.

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Aaaaah, America, never change.

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What's funny is the students who are doing questionable things are the ones who are also bypassing and getting around the content filtering. It's an endless game of cat and mouse. I think it's mainly a liability thing though as most schools opt in for coverage instead of preventive measures. A great example is the number of schools with cyber security insurance instead of security. They are "covered" monetarily from cyber attacks but don't actually do anything to prevent them. 

ƆԀ S₱▓Ɇ▓cs: i7 6ʇɥפᴉƎ00K (4.4ghz), Asus DeLuxe X99A II, GT҉X҉1҉0҉8҉0 Zotac Amp ExTrꍟꎭe),Si6F4Gb D???????r PlatinUm, EVGA G2 Sǝʌǝᘉ5ᙣᙍᖇᓎᙎᗅᖶt, Phanteks Enthoo Primo, 3TB WD Black, 500gb 850 Evo, H100iGeeTeeX, Windows 10, K70 R̸̢̡̭͍͕̱̭̟̩̀̀̃́̃͒̈́̈́͑̑́̆͘͜ͅG̶̦̬͊́B̸͈̝̖͗̈́, G502, HyperX Cloud 2s, Asus MX34. פN∩SW∀S 960 EVO

Just keeping this here as a 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The issue is not just that they can look at what's on the screen, it's that many schools were also able to remotely turn on the students' cameras and monitor their devices inside and outside of class times.

Is it plugged in? Is it turned on? Are you sure? No, really. 

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33 minutes ago, J-from-Nucleon said:

If a student emails or chats with another student saying they’ve been thinking of hurting themselves or that there is trouble at home,

Ah yes, spying in the name of "Security".

 

Also everyone else taking it as normal just because it's a "work device"? it's just... sad, not surprising though as a lot of people take for granted that someone that's "on top" of them at a company has a right to spy on them. This corrupted system treats people like objects, that's for sure, so whoever gets to have a tiiiiiny amount of power like a pathetic manager gets drunk on it and acts like he owns anyone below him.

 

The pandemic has shown us how far the tentacles of corporations (and schools???) can reach, actively monitoring and controlling people at their own houses, this whole thing just looks like a class-b comedy dystopian movie but it's real, it's real and the masses -like always?- aren't doing anything, they just say "oh well, otherwise I'll lose my job" and accept being humilliated and treated like garbage, because let's be real, we're all disposable in the eyes these clowns with delusions of grandeur, the moment you start to question anything or raise your tone you're out of a job, the moment you're no longer submissive you're no longer productive for them.

 

Oh, and a bit off-topic: I've read an article not so long ago saying something like "people start and finish working on time while at home" as if it was a crime..... if your job is from 8AM to 4PM you're supposed to be there at 8 and leave at 16, doing extra hours is employee's choice and should be paid as such, no "could you please stay for a while today?" or "Sam couldn't be here on time could you cover her until 8?" but once again this is taken as normal while it's not.

I have a job and I'm always on time, if I'm asked to cover someone then I won't have a problem (mainly) but ask for some extra hours forms to be filled and signed like the law mandates, I don't work for free 🙂

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They forgot that most humans have a need for privacy,or rather they knowingly chose to disregard it.

Security at the expense of privacy is never a good thing.

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I assume that if I don't own the device that it's being monitored. 
I also assume that if it's not on a FOSS based OS that I installed that the company is monitoring some aspects of what I'm doing. 
Same goes for the websites I visit - though I have SOME trust for LTT (at the very least they appear willing to disassociate data with posts - I'll likely churn accounts here every 5ish years) 

 

 

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1 hour ago, J-from-Nucleon said:

Teens are really sensitive to their privacy

🤣🤣🤣🤣😂

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*teachers activate and able to use the students webcam or microphone to blackmail or invade privacy*
 

as it's one thing when a teacher forgets the camera after a school meeting/hour and does some ****, than someone having this access after hours or when not connected or using school services.

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1 hour ago, Mel0nMan said:

The issue is not just that they can look at what's on the screen, it's that many schools were also able to remotely turn on the students' cameras and monitor their devices inside and outside of class times.

In most States, this is a crime, btw.

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So a Government organization loaned laptops to kids and there is surprise that they (owners of the laptops) accessed them?

 

First off - Dont take handouts, nothing is free

Second off - Dont use it for personal stuff, its a loaner school laptop

Third off - GUBERMENT

 

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very long, expand to read:

Quote

 

my high school used a program called netcontrol2, bloody thing was a rootkit, it booted itself up as a DRIVER so students couldn't easily disable it. it had the ability to lock mouse and keyboard and when teachers felt like it, they could lock the ENTIRE computer with a big 'your computer has been locked' screen that blocked every fucking thing including THE FUCKING CONTROL ALT DELETE MENU.

 

teachers could see everything you did, private convo's with family members (a few students had to since their parents were either separated, divorced or something else), looking at ebay when you had free time, developing a game for personal reasons (this happened, a kid was using a vm to help develop a game and teachers got shitty, thought he was PLAYING one and managed to get his device wiped clean, he didn't even have the ability to backup his vm so he could continue on a different device)

 

it got so bad i heard rumors that a fucking task force was assembled to find ways of disabling rootkit2, they found 7 ways and in the 5 years i went they were never found out, they passed their crown down to the younger gen and told them to continue this. it was defeated multiple times, kids used flash, booting into another os and doin the old sethc exploit, one kid even managed to figure out what the master admin password was and used it to disable it DOMAIN WIDE THEN CHANGED THE FUCKING PASSWORD! THE LEGEND!

(which took IT one week to reverse but it was a peaceful week for us students)

 

netcontrol is designed for local networks so it doesn't work over the internet thankfully (their online help desk provided me with this info). i wouldn't be surprised to see my old high school still use it and at least students are safe from the teachers at their house, it still ran in the background like the little shit that it is, but it couldn't do anything without a connection to the control server. the thing looked like it was made back in the xp days and was never changed. (their website as well, seriously it hasn't been changed since windows vista)

 

if your child really needs a laptop for school, provide one that yourself, some schools might disallow this for 'security reasons' but some don't and are happy to give your kid access to the school's internet and local network resources so long as you keep the device up to date and ensure that your kid doesn't install some virus. if you can get them a linux powered device (NOT CHROMEBOOK THOSE THINGS ARE NOTHING BUT A PRIVACY VIOLATION) this would be preferable since ya know, windows and privacy don't really exist together anymore, some high schools still run windows and don't touch Chromebooks or alternatives, many are transitioning to Chromebooks so try the BYOD with them.

this kind of software shouldn't exist, PERIOD, anyone who thinks otherwise really needs a crash course on privacy and WHY IT'S A HUMAN RIGHT.
i will forever support the shutdown of this kind of bullshit, and you should to.

 

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As literally everyone else seems to be saying, a school device is akin to a work device and the school still owns the device and is free to do whatever they want with it. If a student is using the device they are (usually) required to sign a waiver saying that the school is monitoring their device and they understand that they have the ability to look up and see what they're doing at any time. If you don't want to be watched, dont use a device you don't actually own. The district is responsible for content that is shown through devices they own. And honestly, these things are passed out for schoolwork to be done, the districts realize that they'll be used for leisure tasks as well like watching youtube and thats fine but you cant expect the school to allow you to get away with anything under the sun when you're using their device. This is a privacy concern, but it's also a liability issue for them NOT to watch the device.

 

But then you had to throw in this weird crap about webcams being turned on and im like yeah no thank you heck that. Get it out of there. Jesus that's creepy for some random person to just turn on your camera out of nowhere.

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29 minutes ago, Haaselh0ff said:

As literally everyone else seems to be saying, a school device is akin to a work device and the school still owns the device and is free to do whatever they want with it. If a student is using the device they are (usually) required to sign a waiver saying that the school is monitoring their device and they understand that they have the ability to look up and see what they're doing at any time. If you don't want to be watched, dont use a device you don't actually own.

not true, its both work and personal device. sure I know someone in a more business oridented enviorment that might have a personal and business device that is hooked to their servers. Also they can't do anything they like, as there is many laws and personal content/privacy they should NOT be allowed access to, unless YOU revealed this while in a "business/work" environment not when you are at home, etc, unless its a part of an "exam/test program" at home. While the example of the use of camera or mic, there has been some talking about those being exploited by schools, not sure if in this case what access they had (normally or able to easily modify).

 

also this seems more invasive than other remote control access softwares, as in how it's shown its active and what it does and when it does something. (sometime businesses might be better at). If you don't know you are "spied" on, also not sure by who or what, that is a big concern. More so when you are in private or not using their services and treat the device as any other device and not a business tool/device. Which is a lot easier to have when you have one private and one for business (although mix-ups can still happen).

 

3 minutes ago, CTR640 said:

America, the land of the filth😂

while they test some crap in the US. they are not the only ones that has this issue.

In the EU this is more obscure or rather less talked about and could go under the rug of some, leaving the US to have more conflict and discussion on the subject and maybe dealing with it before the EU. Although some things are just... wayyy to slow in the US too.

Edited by Quackers101
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8 minutes ago, Quackers101 said:

not true, its both work and personal device. sure I know someone in a more business oridented enviorment that might have a personal and business device that is hooked to their servers. Also they can't do anything they like, as there is many laws and personal content/privacy they should NOT be allowed access to, unless YOU revealed this while in a "business/work" environment not when you are at home, etc, unless its a part of an "exam/test program" at home. While the example of the use of camera or mic, there has been some talking about those being exploited by schools, not sure if in this case what access they had (normally or able to easily modify).

 

also this seems more invasive than other remote control access softwares, as in how it's shown its active and what it does and when it does something. (sometime businesses might be better at). If you don't know you are "spied" on, also not sure by who or what, that is a big concern. More so when you are in private or not using their services and treat the device as any other device and not a business tool/device. Which is a lot easier to have when you have one private and one for business (although mix-ups can still happen).

 

while they test some crap in the US. they are not the only ones that has this issue.

In the EU this is more obscure or rather less talked about and could go under the rug of some, leaving the US to have more conflict and discussion on the subject and maybe dealing with it before the EU. Although some things are just... wayyy to slow in the US too.

Indeed. The EU isn't much better than the US but it is true EU is very slow like the USB-C thing.

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5 hours ago, TetraSky said:

I mean... Yeah?

If you get a laptop or phone for your school or workplace, assume you're being spied on and they know everything you do on this device. It's not a "personal device" that you've bought with your own money, it was "given" to you, by them. They expect you to only do work on this machine.

In addition, if you are ever asked, after logging into some services like MS Teams, if you want to allow your "organization" to manage your device, which is ticked by default, DON'T accept that, untick it and select "No, sign in to this app only" at the bottom. Otherwise you're giving whoever manage your email domain access to your stuff, which they could even remotely wipe if they so wished.

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Are you tired of "Allow my organization to manage my device"? -  MSEndpointMgr

 

I think there were some people saying the laptops they bought the school was trying to force some program on them that would grant them access to pretty much everything too, so it's not necessarily a school laptop thing. The bigger issue is when it has a webcam and mic that can just always be recording without your knowledge or consent.

 

#Muricaparrotgang

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3 hours ago, Taf the Ghost said:

In most States, this is a crime, btw.

Especially considering teens... hormones... coming of age... "experimenting..." I think the picture is painted. It's one thing to monitor the sites they go to, whatever, but being able to record them without knowledge or consent is illegal and creepy.

#Muricaparrotgang

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4 hours ago, comander said:

I assume that if I don't own the device that it's being monitored. 

I assume that even if it IS their own device that it's being monitored. was already happening on school grounds with schools requiring certain software to be installed on student's computers to connect the the school network.

 

If you're connected to a network you don't personally control, you're being monitored.

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Judge the product by its own merits, not by the Company that created it.

 

Don't dilute <good thing> by always trying to focus on, and drag conversation back to, <bad thing>.

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