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Old 09-29-2008, 11:31 AM   #1
Daemon Poster
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 766
Default Computer Monitoring Software: Potential Abuse?

Hey guys,

I need to write a speech for my Model United Nations course on the potential abuse of computer monitoring software. My school recently started a program where every individual receives a tablet. They are also using software called "SynchronEyes" to monitor our usage. They will begin using it this week, so we haven't actually had any time with it...however, on their website (http://www2.smarttech.com/st/en-US/P.../Features.htm), they outline it's features:

Share screens
Demonstrate a concept or example by sharing your screen or any student screen with the rest of the class. You can also take control of any student’s computer and guide them remotely through a particular task.

Respond to students individually
Encourage students to ask you questions using the software, so everyone else can concentrate. As well, students can ask for extra help confidentially and not in front of their classmates.

Create and monitor chat sessions
Chat with students directly, or create a controlled chat environment between individuals or groups.

Show video
Broadcast any multimedia file to individual student screens or to the entire class.

Customize settings
Personalize the settings to suit your unique teaching needs.

Capture screens
Take a time- and date-stamped screen capture of any student’s computer to show progress or to document misconduct.

Monitor all screens
Observe the screens of all students in your class directly from your computer, even those using dual monitors.

Use a variety of supervision options
Several teachers, aides or administrators can simultaneously monitor student computer screens in your classroom.

Control online access
Keep students focused on learning by blocking their access to the Internet or specific applications, including games or software programs.

Launch applications
Remotely launch and close applications on each student’s desktop to keep class time structured.

Lock computers
Prevent distractions by locking down individual computers, selected groups of computers or the entire lab.

Transfer files
Send documents to students or collect students’ assignments directly from your computer.

Turn off all computers
Shut down all computers simultaneously with a single mouse click.


My speech concerns abuse, not privacy infringement (another member from my group is doing this). Have any of you had any experience with similar software, where perhaps "controller" abused their power (as you can see, they have a TON of power....[although you can easily turn off the software if you know how...but the teachers can see you've turned it off ])

I'd love an anecdote if you can provide me with one (they make for really powerful speeches). So anyway...besides the obvious, can anyone think of "unique" ways that teachers, IT staff, etc, could use this software and abuse it?

For reference, here is the contract students have to hold themselves to:


"Acceptable Use Policy
I understand that my Tablet, email account, and all other ZIS IT services and resources are to be used for educational purposes.

I understand that streaming video or music, social networking sites, instant messaging and chat, video games are not allowed during class time unless permitted by a teacher.

I understand that creating, accessing, displaying, producing, storing, circulating or transmitting pornographic or offensive material in any form or medium is against school rules and in some cases against the law. (Including sending, posting or displaying offensive images, language or any other type of offensive content including the bullying, harassment or intimidation of others.)

I will not intentionally disrupt network traffic with high bandwidth use such downloading music, videos, or online gaming.

I will not give out my password to anyone nor use someone else's password or log-in identity and I understand the dangers of giving out personal information.

I will not deliberately introduce any virus, worm, Trojan horse or other harmful or nuisance program or file, or deliberately circumvent any precautions taken by the school to prevent this from happening.

I agree to comply with trademark, copyright laws, data protection laws and computer misuse"



One more thing:

I'm looking for things in which the teacher isn't aware he/she is abusing the system. Like...we're not allowed to install Chrome, so it'd be considered abuse for us to install it, even if we weren't knowledgeable of it. Honestly, no teacher is going to go into a student's laptop and say...delete their files. I need something that teachers wouldn't be aware that they're abusing it....
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