Laptop Spying

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What future will we as a society choose? A future based on free software, or one where high school students have to cover their webcams with tape?

If you're with us, here's the plan: Create a listing of all school systems that provide every student with a laptop that includes:

  1. OS the laptops run
  2. Any security or monitoring software that's included
  3. Whether students are prohibited from using their own computers running free software
  4. A list of any additionally nasty characteristics on the provided laptops (beyond simply including proprietary software) like locked out features or remote monitoring software.


Lower Merion School District

  1. Mac OS X
  2. LANRev
  3. Students prohibited from using any other computer, or installing their own software on provided computers.
  4. Administrators can take screenshots, take photos from webcam, browse files. Administrators allegedly used webcam photos they took in students' homes as a basis for disciplinary measures.
  5. They were sued again by a second student in June 2011:

Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation

  1. Microsoft Windows XP
  2. There is some for sure, working on finding out what it is
  3. Students prohibited from using any other computer, or installing their own software on provided computers.
  4. Administrators can take control of the laptop, and take screenshots. Students subject to laptop checks.
  5. Evansville Indiana, United States of America
  6. Website:

School District 92 (Nisga'a)

  1. iBooks and Macbooks on OS X Leopard
  2. Apple Remote Desktop version 3
  3. Group policy prevents installation of software that requires admin privileges, but students are not prohibited from installing applications, and can ask teachers to authenticate if required. F/OSS applications are encouraged, and mobile applications are not prohibited or restricted. Students (and staff) are permitted the use of personal devices after a brief examination by the IT dept. to ensure they are malware-free and have up-to-date anti-virus software. Laptops are only confiscated from students for egregious behaviour or willful damage.
  4. Teachers and administration can use Remote Desktop to observe students' screens, but cannot interact other than to lock their screen if the student is off-task. Screenshots can be captured manually by the observer, but cannot be automatically taken. There is no spy software or other type of "theft-recovery" system in place. In addition, Remote Desktop access is limited to LAN use only; when student laptops are off-premises, they are not accessible to staff or administration. Students can purge local history for privacy of home surfing records (in the schools, all web traffic is recorded by the proxy server, for ALL connected devices). Use of laptops is not mandatory, and is subject to parental agreement to the Acceptable Use Policy ( All users are subject to the same policy regardless of position (student, staff, faculty, or guest).
  5. British Columbia
  6. Website:

University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT)

  1. ThinkPad T60, ThinkPad T61p, ThinkPad T500, ThinkPad R500
  2. Windows
  3. Cost of the laptop is included in your tuition. (so it costs more to goto UOIT) The laptop is "sold" for $1 upon graduation. Engineering / specialty software is removed when sold. You end up way over paying for an out-of-date laptop.
  4. Personal laptops can plug into wired jacks, but only UOIT laptops can access wireless. Most class rooms only have <10 wired jacks, unless they are a lecture hall. Since the laptop is required for some classes, you are stuck with using the UOIT laptop, unless you get a seat near a wired jack.
  5. Laptops are very slow due to bloat from anti-virus, Windows and UOIT extra software. It's an awful experience compared to using a MAC or Ubuntu Linux.
  6. Oshawa Ontario, Canada
  7. A facebook group to make the UOIT laptop optional
  8. Website:

Yuma Catholic High School

  1. Compaq laptops running Windows
  2. No idea, sorry.
  3. I believe they are prohibited, but it's been a long time since I've been involved with the school.
  4. Yuma Arizona, United States of America
  5. Website:

Colegio Internacional de Mexico

  1. MacBooks(2008,2009,2010) white for students; giving the latest model when registering in the school for first time. Black for Teachers & Staff; same rules apply.
  2. Apple Remote Version(Latests) for all Staff and Teachers. Can lock screen at will for any reason(and they do). Censorware active on max settings.
    1. There is a fee of around $800 MXN for the rented MacBook per month. No Admin access.
    2. There is a fee of around $300 MXN for _your_ MackBook(Must by white) per month. Admin access revoked. Configured by Staff from a fresh install.
  3. The download and/or installation of software is restricted(And enforced) neither widgets allowed. You can talk with SysAdmin for simple programs like XCode(Problems debugging and compiling). No other electronic(IE: cellphone, mp3 player, nettop, etc) is allowed in school grounds. Using Proprietary only software like iWork and iLife.
  4. Strong enforcement of security measures. Not able to use bootable CD/DVD and punishment for rooting is wipe and restart. Keep logs inside the school network. Only FOOS is Firefox. No addons allowed(Easy to circumvent). HTTPS drops connection raising suspicious of logging activity inside and outside school. BIOS password protected. Firmware password protected; avoids single user mode. You break it you pay it attitude. They keep broken laptops and provide a new one after "paying the damages"(A new MacBook forced by a legal contract). Not clear what happens after the computers will get "old" some rumors say students got to keep it after a wipe; teachers(Who say they neither know) suggest school will keep them.(A suggested period is 3 years)
  5. Report as of School year 2008-2009. This may be outdated or inaccurate. I invite anyone with more data to participate. I am using a handle. Any person with this name is coincidence.