Pennsylvania High School Spying Update: Draconian Policies, Suspicious Software

Dan Nosowitz:

Two computer security experts, Aaron Rhodes and a man known by his pseudonym Stryde Hax, put together an eye-opening and well-researched attack on both the Lower Merion High School that’s been accused of spying on students and the software that was used to do it. In the process, they reveal some disturbing school policies regarding the use of the laptops, and the unnerving nature of the software itself.
The writers scoured forum activity, blog posts, and publicity videos made by one Mike Perbix, the Harriton High School technical security staffer who was in charge of the use of LANRev, the software in question. They also hunted down comments from some of the more tech-savvy members of the student body, who revealed some pretty startling policies regarding the laptops.
The main points: the school-supplied (and monitored) MacBooks were required for certain classes; the included Webcams could not be disabled; the laptops could not be “jailbroken” to circumvent the security measures (and any attempt could result in expulsion); and possession of a personal computer, meaning one other than the school-supplied MacBook, was forbidden and subject to confiscation. One example, from a student:

More here.