My husband was telling me about this story yesterday since Yahoo had a video of this family on one of the morning TV shows (I think it was the "Today" show?).
The school claims they had to turn on webcams to find their laptops.
I call BULLSHIT on their explanations & claims they didn't use images inappropriately. I also think they were dead wrong & the law should ban a school from using this type of technology. How come?
A) The reasons for turning on the webcam are flimsy at best. Do we not have methods for collecting our insurance payment?
How about a GPS style tracking system for the laptops?
What about shutting off the Internet or some other computer feature that teens love to use? If you don't have access to something, the kid's going to speak up sooner or later b/c the laptop would be worthless.
If web designers can disable a website when a client doesn't pay (remember "Single White Female," anyone?) then why can't these chuckle-heads do the same? Problem solved, no invading anyone's privacy.
B) Since when does the school have ANY interest in spying on people who don't go to the school? Do you really think you have any reason to spy on the child's family members, friends, patrons at Starbucks, whoever else might be in view of the webcam?
C) If the voyeurs claimed that watching these kids was their own "soap opera," I can promise you that if there's not inappropriate use of the footage, there will be.
I'll guarantee that some administrator will try to blackmail students to permit illegal activity so future employers won't see the footage where that child was drying off from a shower or masturbating in bed. Corruption is everywhere & you're an idiot if you think these people are beyond reproach. I bet some of the ones in my high school would have LOVED to get their hands on some way to blackmail me so I'd sit back & take crap like the infamous 10th gym class or have zero credibility w/anyone who could change things for the better.
I'm pretty sure they'd go even further & threaten to ruin some student's future in the job market or getting into college. School administrators have done some sinister things to high school students in the past so I wouldn't put this past them.
So, let's sum up here:
1. To punish a student for not paying $55 for insurance, school decides to turn on software that mysteriously activates webcams for hours on end.
2. Monitors of the footage see everything you do at home from scratching your butt, drying off after a shower, maybe even having sex (and you're an idiot if you don't think there's SOME footage of that).
3. School acquires footage that could cost this student thousands of dollars over his/her lifetime b/c as we all know, once it's on the Internet everyone takes it as gospel.
4. Student has to rely on the integrity of school administrators & faculty in making a single move in the future. If student's school personnel are vindictive pieces of trash who should have long since retired or never entered education in the first place, student may have to do everything short of providing (maybe even including, for all we know) sexual services to keep this footage under wraps.
Does anyone see a problem with this? I see some big ones. One of which is that employers need to get a grip on themselves in screening applicants. Maybe they should examine the context of a situation, respect the fact that people have LIVES (unlike robots) & different personae in different situations. That's sociological fact.
The second is any school or entity being permitted to do this. I'd be pretty ticked if a workplace was doing it as well but this is even worse, considering we're dealing w/minors.
God, I can't wait to see how a court handles this. I'm still waiting for lawsuits against employers for illegal discrimination or some type of illegal activity based on what someone does on the Internet in their off time. If they find in favor of the school, I'm going to encourage my sister, any parents & any kids I like enough to home school their kids.