Friday, February 19, 2010

More information, more questions.

Additional information has been posted on ZDNet, from the article:

"In an FAQ document, Dr. Christopher McGinley, Superintendent of the Lower Merion School District, tried to clear the air. The key points include:

   * The district has disabled the tracking system and won’t reactivate it without permission;
   * The tracking feature was included on the roughly 1,800 Apple PCs provided to high school students.
   * And the tracking feature “has only been used for the limited purpose of locating a lost, stolen or missing laptop. The District has not used the tracking feature or web cam for any other purpose or in any other manner whatsoever.”

And these messages are posted at the school district's web site:

So, we have some more information, but still a lot of unanswered questions- and maybe a bit of a contradiction.  The Superintendent claims that the monitoring software was never used for any purpose other than lost or stolen laptop recovery, but the suit alleges that an image from the laptop were used to prove a student's "inappropriate behavior"- so, how was the image captured and retrieved?  Did the student take incriminating photos of himself?

The Superintendent's letter states that

"This feature was only used for the narrow purpose of locating a lost, stolen or missing laptop."

If this is true, how about some stats to back that up- tell us how many systems have been reported missing and how many have been recovered by use of the system.  It may either prove a value of the system, or (more likely in my opinion) prove relatively useless, compounding the problem.

Let's see the logs, and I don't want to see them from the school district- an independent team needs to grab the data and audit it for the sake of transparency.