Norfolk CC is using monitoring software to fight bullying and protect children from internet grooming. It has set up a managed service for primary schools and is encouraging higher schools to use a software developed by Securus to identify threats to children coming through school networks. Andrew White, integrated services …
How is this new?
They've been putting on filterning/monitoring software for years. My old school had an app that screenshotted any "unknown" exefile being opened. They also used VNC and had a server on every computer (which initially was unpassworded and led certain students to bring in their own clients and all hell broke loose for a week or two), email scanners (I've been brought up to the office for friendly banter between friends before), filtering. So what makes this different?
New IT skillz
Well its a novel way to increase the kiddies IT skillz. How many minutes will it take the little darlings to work out how to circumvent any security policies put in place and to be monitoring what pr0n the staffroom computers have been looking at..
IN UR NETWORK GRABBING UR WORDS
I can only hope that all use of the abomination that is the 'word' 'ur' will be immediately forwarded to the kids english teachers...
Been there, done that
Northumberland County Council implemented Securus over 2 years ago across the 15 high schools in the LEA. It was centrally funded but schools had the option of the product they used, most went with the Council offering of Securus. Most of them turned it off after 6 months as it was more hassle than it was worth!
Nice way forward
Teach the little kiddiewinks that it is acceptable (indeed expectable) to control people by spying on them with technology, rather than making it socially unacceptable to behave in a bullying manner, or to actually expect supervision when using potentially dangerous technology. You wouldn't think this was acceptable if a chemistry lab was run along the same principles.
Also, it'll be circumvented in about thirty seconds, just fire up something like DSL (damn small linux) on a USB key, with its Linux VM in Windows technology.
Have Securus installed at our College. Had many a great time changing the user agreement upon login, so anything I wanted, due to the agreement text file being stored in a directory I still had write access to. Years later, still not fixed.
And as said by Fraser. Yup, used to use DSL whenever I wanted to do on a site and not have screenshots taken just because a 'naughty word' came up on screen.
Despite however being captured many times, trying to break into various servers on the network, never recieved more than a small telling off of 'Do you mind not doing that'....
Our school has some software doing roughly the same thing
RM Tutor 3.
A class teacher can watch every screen simultaneously, or go remote desktop on the PC and close all the windows. Or shut the PC down remotely, log students off remotely, etc.
You can't boot from a disc, because they've passworded the BIOS (how long until I break it?) and you can't run any applications other than those in the start menu.
Attempting to do so says (badly paraphrased) "This application has been blocked by a software restriction policy. Please contact your system administrator"
And you can't change any settings (supposedly. On some of the PCs they've left the NVIDIA settings panel in the desktop context menu, so I've upped all the PCs to maximum resolution.) and you can't get to the command prompt.
Well, except on the NT4 PCs up in tech...
(After that incident they've kept a close eye on me.)
Oh, and I forgot to mention the web-sense blocking piece of rubbish. Blocks... well... everything. Used to block Microsoft.com under category Marijuana. Well, it would explain a lot.
Oh, and also the anti-virus, set up to scan all the network packets passing through on startup, pulling network speed to roughly 15Kbps, so logins take five minutes on a good day.
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