Technology's Dark Underbelly
When news broke that a Pennsylvania school district was using laptop computers to spy on students in their own homes, I did what seemed the only logical thing to do: I panicked. In a world where airports can view detailed images of passengers' naked bodies in the name of security, I confess I often wonder how long it will be until I find myself sitting in Room 101, tracing patterns in the dust and idly scrawling 2+2=5.
Initially intended as an anti-theft device, the laptops that Lower Merion school district was giving to high school students contained the capability to snap a picture, remotely, should the laptop ever be stolen. School officials reported their ability to recover missing computers in a meeting with school board members, but they didn't specify how.
Unresolved questions about the laptop scandal, dubbed "Webcamgate," prompted Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) to hold a special hearing to investigate the topic of students and remote-tracking software. When the school decided to hand ...1