Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Kutztown Students get Felony Charges

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the pesky-kids dept.

The Courts 825

gone6713 writes "The 13 students from Pennsylvania who were accused of hacking the iBooks provided to them by the school (Slashdot had a previous story on them back in June) have offically been charged. It seems that the admin passwords were taped to the back of the iBooks!"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Human error (4, Insightful)

bigwavejas (678602) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361808)

"It seems that the admin passwords were taped to the back of the iBooks!"

You know, I'm really not surprised to hear this. Despite all the precautions companies/ institutions take, it's typically human negligence or social engineering that leads to many compromises. While doing a spot check of security at work, I was surprised to find many employees had taped their passwords to the bottom of their keyboard or mouse.

Rule#1 make sure your users (employees, admins, etc) understand the importance of confidentiality.

Re:Human error (1)

Graviteh (907587) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361823)

Rule #2: Do not tape the passwords to the back of a laptop. Rule #3: ??? Rule #4: Profit!

Re:Human error (4, Insightful)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361832)

Rule #2 - have a sane password policy

Forcing people to have different passwords for different systems that change on different timetables is just asking for them to break Rule #1.

Additionally (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361835)

Some time ago, I made the stupid mistake of purchasing one of these legal packets of policies and legal documents to get your business going. It was all boilerplate, of course, but I decided that I could not trust the quality of the packet after reading the computer security policy provided.

This policy stipulated that passwords were only to be changed by the MIS department, and that all password requests must go through them. I have no idea what the writer (probably a second-rate lawyer) was thinking here, and I ultimately threw this packet away for this reason.

Re:Human error (5, Informative)

Heian-794 (834234) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361846)


The kids are protesting and even selling T-shirts.

A *felony* for something that, for any non-police-state-oriented mind, should result in reduced computer privileges? Outrageous.

Re:Human error (1)

Madd Scientist (894040) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361906)

the computers were a part of a curiculum... so intertwined that you could not reduce their computer privileges without denying them education. burn them.

Re:Human error (1)

Cromac (610264) | more than 9 years ago | (#13362013)

A felony charge does seem outrageous. This site: oryid=8105 [] says several of them may not be charged:
Also today, some of the kutztown 13 were offered informal adjustments. If they accept that option--they'll be monitored for several months. During that time if they perform community service and stay out of trouble no formal charges will be filed against them.

Re:Human error (4, Interesting)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361915)

Having attended and later worked in an American high school where the mentality was definitely one of suspicion and enforcement (ala prison) rather than education, I'd suspect that these passwords were taped there on purpose to try to catch and then be able to endict nonconforming students, who, the thread of thought would go, are the same ones likely to create disciplinary problems through the introduction of unrest and disobedience.

Re:Human error (0, Flamebait)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361939)

Having attended and later worked in an American high school where the mentality was...

Any chance that your high school's mascot wore a spectacular tinfoil hat? Come on. It takes a really bent imagination to picture a bunch of underpaid, overworked public school employees sitting around dreaming up IT entrapment schemes so they can lock up students (what, to reduce class sizes?).

That being said, we've got high schools in my county that are so overrun by gangs like MS13 that the other students and staff literally have to worry about getting their throats cut. So, like all tinfoil-based perspectives, there usually is a grain of truth to it.

Re:Human error (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361990)

I was thinking the same thing.

The problem with some institutions is that they don't have to (effectively) abide by the same rules as regular police - otherwise this could be thrown out as entrapment. (Maybe, hopefully, it still could - because now the punishment is also handled outside the school system.)

What I find particularly ridiculous are the "hacker" felony charges.

If you have a safe and right beside it have a post-it note describing how to open it (3 to the left, stop at #45, then 2 to the right.....) - would you be able to call the next unauthorized guy who opens it an expert safecracker?

This is a simple case of either knowing human nature too well (entrapment) or ignoring human nature and either way going the route that will scare the rest of the student into submission.

Moan ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361813)

It's shit like this that makes me want to leave the country.

Re:Moan ... (5, Interesting)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361927)

It's shit like this that makes me want to leave the country.

I sympathize to some extent actually. Read the district press release:

"Unfortunately, after repeated warnings and disciplinary actions, a few students continued to misuse the school-issued laptops to varying degrees. The disciplinary actions included detentions, in-school suspensions, loss of Internet access, and loss of computer privileges. After each disciplinary action, parents received either written notification or telephone calls. Some parents felt that the disciplinary actions were ridiculous and even expressed the feeling that their son/daughter should be able to do non-school activities and use the laptop without restrictions. Some students acknowledged that they used their school-issued laptop inappropriately at home rather than their home computer for fear their parent would catch them."

There is a simple way to fix this problem. If you don't want them to use the laptop at home, don't let them take it home.

My concern about the trend towards computerization in our schools is that students will not have the oportunity to opt-out of restrictions (say, by providing their own laptops). This is not that different from a world where everybody would be unable to opt-out of a trusted computing world, or even a Microsoft Windows world.

A second thought (IANAL) is that such heavy-handed punishment as a felony charge in this case might very well seem like cruel and unusual punishment and it might be possible to challenge the constitutionality of the law as applied to this case. Charging minors with felonies for using passwords taped to the back of the computers they were issued seems both cruel and unusual to me. However, where exactly one draws this line in this case might be fairly difficult to answer.

Finally, students have some privacy rights even regarding school lockers. It seems to me that constant monitoring might infringe upon those legitimate rights. IANAL, again though....

Re:Moan ... (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 9 years ago | (#13362008)

"There is a simple way to fix this problem. If you don't want them to use the laptop at home, don't let them take it home."

I agree with you to an extent. A computer is a general-purpose device, not a specific purpose device. If the school wanted learning machines rather than general purpose computers then they could have changed how the software was installed or they could have opted for different equipment. Oh, I forgot, the Newton eMate 300 was a flop...

The people designing this program should have realised from the outset that issuing a computer to a student is akin to throwing it away, or at least having no control over it once it enters the students' hands. If they were really concerned about security then they should have had a policy where machines had to be turned back in at regular intervals to be reimaged with newer versions of OS and productivity suite software (theoretically with security patches) and reissued. This would prevent this kind of thing from even being a problem.

"Finally, students have some privacy rights even regarding school lockers. It seems to me that constant monitoring might infringe upon those legitimate rights. IANAL, again though...."

No they don't. The locker is the explicit property of the school. The school reserves the right to open, search, change, or restrict use of lockers at any time for any reason or no reason. They can even extend such a policy, to a certain extent, to student-owned vehicles parked in the school parking lot if they have some kind of just cause (impressions of a threat to students or staff, visual drug paraphenalia, etc) to think that a crime is being committed or is eminent.

That's quite a 'hack'.... (5, Funny)

rune2 (547599) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361827)

That's like saying do not push the big red button!

Re:That's quite a 'hack'.... (4, Funny)

slughead (592713) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361853)

That's like saying do not push the big red button!

Stimpy: "What does it do?"
Ren: "That's just it. No one knows! Maaaaaaaaaybe something good. Maaaaaaaaybe something bad. But we'll never know. Cuz you're going to guard it. You won't let anyone touch it, will you?!"

Taped? (5, Insightful)

AdamReyher (862525) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361829)

While the students should face some kind of consequences, in my opinion, the sheer stupidity puts this at the fault of those "victims" rather than the students.

Re:Taped? (2, Insightful)

daniil (775990) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361860)

No, it does not. The students did it all of their own free will. Noone forced them to install and uninstall software, let alone hack these computers (and they did apparently hack them).

Re:Taped? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361872)

How did the students "hack" computers provided for their own use? Did they employ some sort of buffer overflow technique to gain shell access or something?

Re:Taped? (1)

daniil (775990) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361900)

I don't know. TFA says nothing about this, except that they're accused of using hacking tools to find the new admin password when it was changed from the password that was taped on the back of the machines.

Re:Taped? (4, Interesting)

AdamReyher (862525) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361980)

And that's why I agree they should face consequences for their actions. Let's say someone goes to downtown Miami at 2 AM in the morning with their brand new BMW. They park it, walk away leaving the doors unlocked, and the car gets stolen 10 minutes later. Who actually did the stealing? The theives, of course. Should they be punished? Absolutly. But the person who owned the car easily enabled that to happen when he should have known that 1) He was in Miami, one of the highest crimerate cities in the nation, 2) at 2 AM in the morning, 3) With a $30k+ vehicle. His stupidity opened the door for the car to be stolen. Serves him right, in my opinion. Does that make the these kids guilty, though? Absolutly.

Re:Taped? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361862)

yes, but the administrators of the school must save face. I don't think the kids are guilty of anything other than making the teachers and administrators look like fools. I blame lax security methods, but I think the worst crime committed by the involved school officials is underestimating the intelligence of the kids. Kids are just as smart, if not smarter, than we are; they just lack experience. Rather than screwing up the kids future, I'd fire the supervisor of the IT department. He/She is ultimately responsible for the security methods employed, and it will send shockwaves through the IT department so that this kind of shit won't happen again.

Re:Taped? (1)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361869)

Agreed. Can you say "attractive nuisance?" I knew you could.

Re:Taped? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361890)

No, that wouldn't apply here.

A bank would be a VERY attractive target. Does that somehow make it OK for people to rob (or crack into)?

Re:Taped? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361969)

[...] the students should face some kind of consequences, in my opinion [...]

Assuming that you by "consequence" mean punishment, may I ask why?

Typical Pennsylvania (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361830)

In Toilers of the Sea, one of Victor Hugo's lesser-known novels, is a marvelous description of how to defeat an enemy that is insidious by its nature, an enemy that has served as a symbol of the banal parasitism of evil. Towards the end of the novel, Gilliatt, the hero, is seized in an underwater cave by a devilfish, or octopus. The creature's tentacles cling to Gilliatt, and it is about to pierce his chest with its beak:

        "The devilfish is cunning. It first tries to stupefy its prey. It seizes, then waits as long as it can.

        Gilliatt held his knife. The suction increased.

        All at once the creature detached its sixth tentacle from the rock, launched it at him, and attempted to seize his left arm....At the same time, it thrust its head forward swiftly....

        But Gilliatt was on his guard. Being watched, he watched.

        Gilliatt plunged the point of his knife into the flat, viscous mass, and with a twisting movement similar to the flourish of a whip, describing a circle around the two eyes, he tore out the head as one wrenches out a tooth.

        It was finished. The whole creature dropped....The four hundred suckers simultaneously released their hold of the rock and the man.

        This rag sank to the bottom."

It is a passage our leaders ought to be made to read and learn from if they wish to successfully prosecute the "war against terrorism." The advocates and promulgators of Islamofascism, like the devilfish, stupefy their prey, and wait, then strike. Missing from the real life dilemma is a Gilliatt. President Bush is not one, nor is Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain. They attack the tentacles but, in the name of tolerance, refuse to cut off the head.

As many contributors to this publication have pointed out, most recently and succinctly by Dr. Edwin Locke and Alex Epstein in their penetrating "The Terrorists' Motivation: Islam," the trouble is not that killers have "hijacked a peaceful religion." The trouble is that Islam is not, in its fundamental tenets (if its virulent injunctions can be called "principles"), a "peaceful" religion. It is a manifesto for the conquest and destruction of all Western civilization and the establishment of a global anti-man, anti-mind theocracy.

It pursues this goal, it should be apparent by now, by employing two methods: with immediate, violent action, such as indiscriminate bombings; and by an osmotic process of invading a Western country with a fifth column that works to alter Western laws to tolerate its presence, while at the same time preaching the abandonment of those laws in favor of law based on an intolerant Koran.

The Koran cannot be compromised, repudiated piecemeal, or "modified" so that it posed no threat to the West. It cannot be "secularized" without destroying Islam. Islam can no more be "perverted" or "hijacked" than can Nazism, Fascism, or Japanese Bushido. Islamic clerics know this, as well as rank-and-file Muslims, which is why they are largely silent on the matter of terrorism, with the exception of an occasional equivocating expression of public regret for the bombings.

The most serious problem is that the current conflict is being treated as a mere "war against terrorism." It has devolved into a mere cops-and-robbers manhunt for terrorists and suspected terrorists and their cells. It may was well be put on a par with a campaign to stamp out "violent bank robberies."

This is not to deprecate the heroic efforts of Britain's authorities in tracking down the London "Islamikazies" of 7/7, which includes a "shoot to kill" standing order and the suspension of "racial profiling" to identify suspects. But that is merely rounding up and obstructing the "foot soldiers" of the Islamafascists. The parties guilty of associating with the 7/7 bombers, and with the ones who botched a second round of London bombings and who are on the run, can be replaced, according to a British report, from among 16,000 militant British Muslims.

It would be interesting to know how many American Muslims are willing to don rucksacks and commit the same sabotage here. It is possible that such a report has been written and circulated among those agencies charged with identifying and "neutralizing" such "activists." But, for fear of offending American Muslims, very likely President Bush has forbidden its publication.

If we are at war with an insidious ideology, why limit our self-preservation actions to policing an invading army, while neglecting the goals and ends of its leaders?

The octopus head of Islamofascism is: Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. To a lesser extent, one must include Pakistan and even Afghanistan, since the Taliban are apparently still active in both those countries and the heads of those countries are impotent or unwilling to eradicate it. Most of the madrasses in Pakistan are subsidized by Saudi Arabia, are a chief source of suicide bombers. One might argue that Iraq was a good starting place to eradicate our enemy. But why the U.S. should be expending lives and fortune to establish a "democratic" government there, beggars explanation and reason. After Saddam Hussein and his government had been overthrown, we should have moved on to Syria or Iran and let the Iraqis sort out what to do next. We are under no moral obligation to help anyone discover the benefits of Western institutions, not at the price of sacrificing American lives, American wealth, and American liberties, which is what is occurring now.

Our leaders must recognize that the head must be lopped off before any substantive progress can be made against alien or resident terrorists. Until they learn that lesson, the bombings and killings and mayhem will continue unabated. The devilfish has watched, waited, and struck repeatedly ever since the World Trade Center bombing of 1993. It has taken the measure of our resolve and of our ignorance. It is neither shocked nor awed.

Now, a very strange thing happened when Admiral Karl Donitz arranged the German surrender to the Allies in 1945; the European war was over.

Another strange thing happened when General Douglas MacArthur received the Japanese surrender on the battleship Missouri in 1945; the Pacific war was ended.

And a third strange thing occurred when World War Two was declared over and became history; the Allies ceased worrying that the war would continue within the borders of their own countries.

The heads were lopped off, the tentacles died when the primitive brain that guided them was gone, and the rags of Nazism and Bushido sank to the bottom.

Whatever fifth columnists and sympathizers existed in the U.S. and Britain did not carry on the fight for Nazism or the Emperor after German and Japanese governments had surrendered and were reconstituted. Many Nazis fled justice to South America, to Egypt, and other safe havens. And the Allies did not wring their hands over "human rights" and trials until after the war, in Nuremberg. Then it was the rights of the millions of murdered that concerned the judges, not the rights of the accused members of the governments guilty of those crimes.

The same thing would happen to Islam, if the West had enough self-esteem and resolve to fight the war as it should be fought: by taking the war to the enemy. Islam would scurry back into its self-made Dark Age and pose no threat to those who wished to live without vengeful mullahs and imams looking over their shoulders. Muslims who chose to remain in the West would need to learn to submit to Western laws of individual rights and the separation of church and state. If they do not choose to submit to those laws, they should be invited to emigrate to those nations whose ethics and society are more fitting to their refusal to think.

Whatever Islamic terrorist cells might exist in the U.S., Britain, France and other Western nations, would wither away for lack of funding, guidance and even purpose. They would not and could not "carry on the fight."

Where would the West be today if Churchill and Roosevelt were stupefied and adopted the Bush/Blair philosophy of fighting an enemy intent on conquest? Where would we be if they had restricted their combat operations to fighting saboteurs, provocateurs and secret agents on the "home front"? Where would we be if they had not judged Nazism and Bushido as inimical to Western civilization?

Would we have won World War Two if we had "tolerated" Nazism and Japanese imperialism as multiculturalist "peers" of our own political system, and merely sought to prevent their saboteurs from bombing schools and subways? Would we have won if we regarded Nazism as just another "belief system" that was "hijacked" by Hitler?

Where would the West be today if Churchill and Roosevelt had adopted the Bush/Blair method of confronting our enemies?

I am certain of this: I would not be asking these questions. I might not be. I might have been liquidated for refusing to bow to the Emperor or to shout "Sieg heil!"

And I have ample proof of my possible fate should I refuse to bow to Mecca. That is why I will not discard my knife of reason and my love of existence.

retardville (2, Insightful)

rocketman768 (838734) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361836)

See? This label of "hacker" to students who can read the back of a book is what is going to get them convicted of something. This is just all-around completely absurd. It's like if I were to always leave my keys in the ignition of my car: plain stupid.

Re:retardville (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361852)

Leaving the ignition in the keys of your car does not justify someone stealing it (and its still illegal).

However, I really do not understand how one can be charged with hacking into a computer provided for your own use.. thats like getting charged with breaking and entering becuase a tenant in a government subsidised house tried to repair a leaky toilet.

Re:retardville (2, Interesting)

Lucidwray (300955) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361997)

Leaving the ignition in the keys of your car does not justify someone stealing it (and its still illegal).

No, but if you leave the keys to your car in the ignition and it gets stolen. Its no longer Grand Theft Auto. Its just Theft. Amazingly the legal system is smart enough to realise that you are partly at fault for your car being stolen since you left the keys in it. What a conecpt. Accountability.

This is the same thing as writing the admin password on the bottom of the laptop.

The school officials should be charged for not properly securing public property.

Could you imagine if some highschool principal put the key to every door in a highschool under the door matt in front of each door. Once the school got robbed the general public would go ballistic when they learned the keys were everywhere. The principal would probably be brought up on charges for loosing thousands of dollars worth of school equipment.

But yet the same incident happens on a computer and nothing happens. Bizarre.

Re:retardville (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361998)

Are you kidding? In Florida, it's illegal for you to leave the keys in the ignition of your car! Kind of a nice counterbalance to the stupidity clause.

Re:retardville (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361976)

"It's like if I were to always leave my keys in the ignition of my car: plain stupid."

Hardly accurate.

It's as if you lended your car to a friend and told them they could learn in it, but couldn't drive it anywhere, but you taped the key to the dashboard.

it's absurd, but for a different reason (1)

orgelspieler (865795) | more than 9 years ago | (#13362020)

That's a terrible analogy, and you know it. It is not the car owner's fault if they leave their keys in the car and it gets stolen. That's like saying it's the girls fault she got raped because she was wearing a short skirt. The major reason this shouldn't be a felony is not the "stupid victim" theory.

The real problem here is that there isn't even a victim. The kids installed iChat AV, for crying out loud. Who was victimized by that? The PA legislature needs to revisit some of their decisions in what constitues criminal computer activity.

If anything there should have been some in-school repercussions, such as detention or sending a note to their parents. There was no reason to get law enforcement in on the action. It should be treated like any other school policy infraction.

We are seeing more and more of this sort of thing. Students do things like cheat, that are clearly against school policy. But now kids cheat on the computer. So instead of it being a school disciplinary action, schools make it out to be a criminal act, just because it took place on a computer. That's just absurd. When fake crimes (i.e. non-criminal school policy violations) take place on a computer, they don't become real crimes. And when real crimes are emulated in a game [] , they don't become real crimes.

All this inflation of an existing crime (copyright infringement, fraud, cheating, spying) just because it happens on a computer makes me sick. We already have laws that define fraud and the rest, we don't need another one that makes it "extra-illegal" just because it happens on a computer. It's the same thing with drug/alcohol use. We already have laws against speeding and driving recklessly. Why should the moving violation be any more severe if you were stoned/drunk/high at the time?

Well, I'm getting a little off topic, so I'll just shut up now.

The real crime (0, Flamebait)

ruiner5000 (241452) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361840)

is making them use Apples, and therefor training them to "hack" on a platform that has a mere 2% of the marketshare when they could be "hacking" on Windows and having a chance to make it as real time "hackers" in the real world that 90% of the computers use. Sounds like a school I want to send my kids to. Actually sounds like the typical school wasting 10's of thousands on Macs.

Re:The real crime (-1, Flamebait)

ruiner5000 (241452) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361863)

apple users never have a sense of humor. set to flamebait already by some guy who not only lacks humor, but a sense of reality.

Apple users have a persecution complex... (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361970)

This allows them to rationalize their behaviour as just because they are fighting back against a much larger and powerful...uh...foe?

Re:The real crime (1)

ruiner5000 (241452) | more than 9 years ago | (#13362001)

is that the best you zealots can do?

Password security (5, Funny)

Bayleaf (809062) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361841)

Where I work, I seem to get three levels of password security. The worst are the ones who write their password on a post-it note and stick it on the monitor. The second level are the ones who write it in a notepad and put it in their desk drawer. The really smart ones write it in a notepad and put that in their bottom drawer. Sometimes I wonder why I bother.

Re:Password security (1)

thirty2bit (685528) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361905)

Our users tape their passwords to the bottom of the keyboards. Everybody wouldn't think of looking there.

New corporate policy requires minimum of six characters, at least one number, no consecutive order letters or digits, no repeating letters or digits. No reuse of passwords in 12 months. And they wonder why people write things down...

Re:Password security (1)

Bayleaf (809062) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361962)

I let them choose their own passwords - the only requirement is length (8 characters) and standard Microsoft complexity i.e. upper, lower, numeric and punctuation characters. I hoped that they could remember things like Bayleaf1 but no, it doesn't seem to work that way. So either they write them down or every few weeks I get a call asking me to reset the password because they have forgotten it. I don't mind if they write the password down, if only they would hide it!

Re:Password security (1)

One Louder (595430) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361978)

That tells you there's something fundamentally wrong with passwords - people simply can't remember them.

Perhaps computer security schemes need to adapt to the capabilities of the human beings they serve instead of the other way around.

Just when you think something's idiot proof... (1, Redundant)

rob_squared (821479) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361843)

...the world makes a better idiot. (its a joke, laugh)

What happened to the Administrators? (5, Interesting)

dubiousx99 (857639) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361845)

If your going to charge the kids with felonies, then you should charge the IT administrators with aiding and abetting for leaving the password there.

Re:What happened to the Administrators? (4, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361878)

And the charges could be a lot more serious -- IIRC, there are some very serious laws about adults who solicit children for criminal activity. The kids need an aggressive lawyer who will threaten to "go nuclear" if the school doesn't back down.

Re:What happened to the Administrators? (2, Interesting) (745183) | more than 9 years ago | (#13362006)

...there are some very serious laws about adults who solicit children for criminal activity.

Indeed. From here, it's hard to distinguish between what happened and outright entrapment. The only defense to it would seem to be, "I didn't know the tape-dispenser was loaded..."

Literacy is a crime? (0)

dyfet (154716) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361848)

The passwords were...taped on the back?! Obviously it was a mistake on the part part of this school district to allow students to learn to read or think. Okay, a little too much sarcasm I think for Sunday morning in an otherwise sad and particularly disgusting example of misuse of the criminal justice system.

Surely the best route of action... (5, Insightful)

Satorian (902590) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361850)

Yup, just go ahead and charge them for curiousity and doing something perfectly natural.

Make sure to slap the hungry monkey's wrist that sees a stick next to an ant hill. Does wonders for intellectual development on a macro- and microscale.

Funny, isn't this the American Way (5, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361851)

Isn't it? To make example of certain people to buy the compliance of the rest of us (sheep)?

Especially in highschools. Or maybe just PA (I live 20 minutes from Kutztown). I remember a girl getting treated like a drug dealer because she a)bought aspirin to the school and didn't hand it over to the school nurse (so that she could subsequently go back to the school nurse when it's time to take them - talk about being treated like a 5 year old) and b)giving one to her friends that had a headache.

IIRC, she was kicked out of the district.

Variations of this heavy-handedness happens so often everywhere that I'm surprised it makes the news anymore. I think Columbine made it worse because now the administrators are going apeshit over every little thing - turning the schools into a sort of police state.

What would be news would be the punishment fitting the crime. But then the school administrators would have to admit that they are mostly at fault in this case (really: taping the passwords to the back of the computers?!)

Re:Funny, isn't this the American Way (2, Interesting)

dlZ (798734) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361961)

I remember a girl getting treated like a drug dealer because she a)bought aspirin to the school and didn't hand it over to the school nurse (so that she could subsequently go back to the school nurse when it's time to take them - talk about being treated like a 5 year old) and b)giving one to her friends that had a headache.

A bit over ten years ago when I was in high school yet, I was kicked out for a short time (it was later reversed because of how stupid it was) because I brought in a pair of heavy scissors and had them in my bag. OH, these scissors were required for a class I was taking, and we weren't allowed to leave them in the class. But I was charged with bringing a dangerous weapon into the school. It all happened because an x-gf was mad at me and told someone in the administration I had a weapon, when in reality all I had was the scissors, books, and some pens/pencils and paper. (I don't believe she knew I even had the scissors, she just thought me getting hassled by the school cop would be funny. I hadn't talked to her in months at this point, I have no idea why she decided to do this out of no where, besides the fact we were stupid high schoolers.) Talk about sane policies, though. Can't let kids have the proper supplies for class! I'm surprised I didn't get 5-10 for every pen or pencil, I mean, I could stab someone with them, right?

Re:Funny, isn't this the American Way (1)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 9 years ago | (#13362000)

With the exception of a few days here and there (for airplane flights and such), I've carried a pocket knife since the 6th grade.

(I'm not that old, but I'd imagine that the powers-that-be at school would wig out about that these days.

Amercia... (1)

anonieuweling (536832) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361856)

land of the free? Even at this 'laptop crime' level I see a trend. I do hope the kids that did this will fight back HARD to let them know how ridiculous the situation is. Time to call eff?

Direct action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361858)

Kutztown Borough Police department
45 Railroad St.
Kutztown Pa. 19530

Is it just me or is that a police department that's begging for a tide of unwanted mail?

Hack? (5, Insightful)

Doc Squidly (720087) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361861)

Really, can't we get the media to stop using the work Hack in this way? Finding a password taped onto a notebook isn't hacking.

Sure, they may have used the computers in way which they shouldn't but, they didn't have to hack them.

I know, I know... the average Joe couldn't tell the difference between anything remotely technical but the media shouldn't be encourage it.

I think I'll go let Windows Hack into my neighbor's unsecured wireless access point.

Hacking? why call it hacking (1)

ravenII (835685) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361864)

If passwords were given, it is the fault of the admins. As per students they could be charged with what they did afterwards. But could admins could be charged with faliure to do their job? or baiting the students

Get me that school's phone number. (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361866)

I'll be happy to lead the way in /.'ing their phone system with my phoned-in question of "Why, public citizens?" until they answer.

Sorry, this is publicly federally-funded property. The 1st Amendment protects their freedom of expressing themselves on any federally-funded property.

Let's get that phone number, I've got time to remind them that they're responsible to me, the taxpayer.

Re:Get me that school's phone number. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361925)

Re:Get me that school's phone number. (4, Informative)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361942)

Let's get that phone number, I've got time to remind them that they're responsible to me, the taxpayer.

Even more fun would be if the article had given a link [] to the school website. That would learn 'em.

Re:Get me that school's phone number. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361999)

Best I could do was the athletic office, just ask them to transfer you, I guess:

Kutztown Area School District: Athletic Office (610) 683-7817

Yes and no (3, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361871)

First, I will agree that felony charges here is rather extreme, and someone isn't thinking. A few days of detention (for both the students and the security administrator) would be more appropriate.

But the fact that the passwords were on the back of the iBooks does not mean everyone was free to use them at will.

I can tape the key to my house on to the front door of my house, and while that is extreme stupidity on my part, that does not give you permission to unlock the door and come inside.

Re:Yes and no (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361929)

I can tape the key to my house on to the front door of my house, and while that is extreme stupidity on my part, that does not give you permission to unlock the door and come inside.
Hmm. I think a more appropriate analogy in this case would be if you're renting a house, and the landlord says "Don't ever use the cupboard under the stairs. I've locked it so you won't be tempted to have a look at all the interesting things inside. Here, I'll give you the key for safe keeping".

Re:Yes and no (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361968)

I can tape the key to my house on to the front door of my house, and while that is extreme stupidity on my part, that does not give you permission to unlock the door and come inside.

However, your insurance company won't pay out.

More than just using the taped password (4, Insightful)

Cerdic (904049) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361873)

From the article:

Now that's not the only thing that the kids are accused of doing, they also turned off the monitoring software (Apple Remote Desktop?) and even used it to monitor the admins. In addition, they're accused of using hacking tools to find the new admin password when it was changed from the password that was taped on the back of the machines.

Also, if you click on the little update link at the bottom of the story, you'll see that the kids were also found to be downloading pornography. Might sound innocent to some of you, but adults / the school can get in trouble for "allowing" them access to X-rated material.

Now, a third degree felony sounds harsh, but they still need some punishment. If they had stopped at using the password taped onto the back of the computers I'd feel sorry for them, but they were spying on admins and using other means to get the password once it was changed.

One more bit (1)

Cerdic (904049) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361902)

I posted too early... The updated link [] says that they were offered "informal adjustments." If they agree to be monitored and stay out of trouble for several months, charges will be dropped.

Re:More than just using the taped password (1)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361926)

The pornography means zilch as far as the charges go except they can use it to prevent the religious from supporting the "criminals".

Re:More than just using the taped password (4, Insightful)

stevew (4845) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361946)

yep - the other little detail folks are not mentioning here is that the kids used some sort of rootkit equivalent to find the password AFTER it had been changed.

Doesn't that qualify for breaking and entering?????

These kids aren't angels...and whoops - there was consequences for their illegal actions..oh and to make sure everyone here gets that. These kids committed a crime. They KNOWNINGLY violated the machines by using the admin password they weren't suppose to have. Look - if I leave my house unlocked, does that make it any more wrong for someone to enter and start taking my things?

The other issue is that these are still kids, and if they're under 18.... it isn't on their permanent record. If you guys are constantly going to make excuses though about oh- it wasn't that bad, then the rest of the rules of society might as well fly out the window as well.

This is my Hometown...let me tell you something... (5, Interesting)

BiO_FeNiX (908968) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361874)

I went to this high school and grew up in this town. Let me tell you this...The system administrators never had a firm grip on the students, I assure you...and they had been outdone several times before this. Suffice to say, the school tends to overreact about things that they don't understand...and Computers is one of those topics. I work in IT now and now that I understand security and such, I realized how much my high school sucked about security...they never really thought about it. Anyways...its kind of amusing to find my hometown on Slashdot...its little more then a farming town with a college in it. My graduating class was 140 people.

L8tr all.

Re:This is my Hometown...let me tell you something (1)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361896)

My graduating class was 140 people

Your class was just about 10 times larger than my class.

Regardless... (2, Interesting)

sexyrexy (793497) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361876)

Only the sensationalist news media has called the teens "hackers". Believe it or not, most judges understand the difference, and their defense lawyers will at least argue the point enough to inform any jury that gaining access is not the same as hacking.


The law is not about hacking, it is about Unauthorized Entry. You don't have to pick the lock to be somewhere you shouldn't, and you don't have to cut through any fences to be prosecuted.

Re:Regardless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361956)

Except that you can cut through a fence, tresspass, stumble and then sue the land owner. Even if the fence was in perfect condition, there were sign up say "do not enter" etc. Yup, good old American dumb legal system.

Re:Regardless... (1)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 9 years ago | (#13362002)

youre one of those people who would flip out if someone downloaded an mp3 and then bought the album later, arent you?

teenagers are not exactly known for impluse control or logical action. leaving this breadcrumb out was asking for trouble, and the IT administrators if not the school district is equally responsible for expecting children (not just any children, children with huge volumes of hormones coursing through their bodies) to behave themselves when GIVEN the key to the machine.

like a government, teenagers are not likely to give up things granted to them, so its not surprising they made a game of it.

in summary, telling teenagers to behave and then giving them the means to disobey you = misbehaving teenagers.

Re:Regardless... (1)

sexyrexy (793497) | more than 9 years ago | (#13362017)

I'm 20 years old for god's sake. When I was in high school I did the same thing (except I wasn't stupid enough to get caught). My point is simply that the law is the law, and I summarized what that particular law says. No one can escape it. No one should be able to. If you get caught you pay the price.

If a warning label was attached to the laptops... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361879)

...that read:

"Acceptance of this laptop may expose your child to FELONY charges"

Would any of the parents allowed their child to have one?

This is only the beginning... (4, Insightful)

UpLateDrinkingCoffee (605179) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361881)

in our increasingly vengence based culture. Some principal or admin got his feathers ruffled that student's would actually use the passwords taped to their computers and is now on a rampage to bring them into submission or destroy their lives. I'm surprised they haven't been labeled terrorists by now. This goes way beyond this school district... witness the proliferation of "no tolerance" policies. Everyone makes mistakes, especially teens... we as a society should be focused on correcting mistakes and giving people the chance to learn from them. It's only those who refuse to recognze they made a mistake or continually fail to learn from them that need to be dragged in front of the courts.

Re:This is only the beginning... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361964)

we as a society should be focused on correcting mistakes and giving people the chance to learn from them.

"Learning from mistakes"?? Don't be silly, these people were in highschool! Oh wait.

STFU, liberal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13362009)

It is LIBERAL policies like yours where we try to "understand" the source of the criminal behavior that leads to so much of it. Rest assured that once we have put a few bad apples behind bars for this kind of shit, the rest of them will not be so quick to follow up.

In My HS (1)

blinksilver (889330) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361886)

The password that were tapped to the machines were the ones you were suppose to use. This is just silly, its not hacking if no subversive activties happen to aquire the password or to "hack" the software on the machine. I mean i don't like iChat, but its far from damaging to the school system.

At what point does "Hacking" begin (4, Insightful)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361887)

And "looking at what people give you" stop ?

I'd assume they'd WANT me to know the admin password if it was taped to the back of the laptop.

and with this news.. (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361892)

I'm crossing Pensylvania off the list of states where I'd ever live. Felony charges?. Geez, maybe suspend them from school for insubordination, but giving them a criminal record is.. well criminal.

They are taking this too far, IMHO. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361910)

Kids are kids, and are of course going to be curious and try to stuff they know they shouldn't be doing. An admin password taped to the underside of the computer would be tempting for a rational, intelligent adult to use, much less a school-age kid!

Hell, if the admins are taping obvious admin passwords to student computers, how lax is the security on the rest of the school's network, where data like student names, addresses and grades are kept? I think the school district/board/admins/whoever are going after these kids with such zeal to keep the spotlight off what would be, in any other industry, criminally negligent network administration and security.

I think we should all take a moment to be thankful the network admins at that school district aren't working anywhere where their incompetence would cause serious trouble, like a financial institution.

Email the teachers! Here's their addresses! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361913)

Here are a few addresses for some teachers at that school. If you disagree with this school's behavior then let your opinion be known!

More to this story (4, Informative)

guice (907163) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361914)

This story is short and doesn't give the fully story of what happened.

*At first* the passwords were on the laptops (not exactly tapped; they were apart of some tapped data. It didn't say "Password:" if that's what you're thinking).

After the admin changed them all, the kids then used a brute force cracker to break the passwords which they found on the local machines (password file?) and proceeded to install unauthorized software.

They were punished multiple times and they still continued to do it. Calling the cops on them was a last resort the schools were forced to do.

You can read more of the full story here: wn.hackers.ap/index.html []

More to here than meets the eye (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361920)

I'm posting this because a lot of people are going to be writing about how outraged they are that the students got arrested for using the password on the back of the machine.

If you read the article, you also probably read this:
In addition, they're accused of using hacking tools to find the
new admin password when it was changed from the password that was taped on the back of the machines.
And also:
Now that's not the only thing that the kids are accused of doing, they also turned off the monitoring software (Apple Remote Desktop?) and even used it to
monitor the admins.
So this isn't just a simple case of using the written down the admin password. There's also been a count of computer theft added to the charges, so I don't know what that's all about.

Fuck kid is going to use his OWN laptop. (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361951)

And if they don't let him use his own laptop in the school there will be a lawsuit.

The sensible action (1)

male (71469) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361931)

Would have been for the school to take back the laptops from any student breaking school policy. The kids broke the rules over and over again, take away their toy. Why was there a lawsuit in the first place? Something is missing from this story....

honesty (0, Troll)

slashdotnickname (882178) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361934)

Yes, the administration was stupid for taping the passwords and someone in their office definetly needs to be punished, but what happened to the value of honesty?

We all love to complain about crooked politicians and evil corporations, and yet when an individual's honesty is tested we give them a pass... "it's the school's fault that the students hacked into their lent laptops" ...bullshit!

These students came to a diverging path... and instead of taking the high road and telling someone about fixing the security hole, they chose to abuse it.

Fuck 'em.

Re:honesty (2, Insightful)

Blondie-Wan (559212) | more than 9 years ago | (#13362019)

Right, so let's charge them with felonies! Yeah, that's sensible.

Ok, so punish them, sure, but felonies? Do you also favor beheading as punishment for jaywalkers? Their punishment is so ridiculously disproportionate to the "crime" it's galling.

Calls for nuking them from orbit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361940)

> Felony charge for... using admin passwords taped to the back of the computer

If it were my kids getting this kind of BS treatment, I'd be suing school district for damaging my kid's reputation and future earning potential. But not just the district as a defendent entity: it would be personal so I'd go after the *individuals* on the school board, executive administration and IT department. No pension, house, IRA, etc. for you, I got liens on your *ss. If the board members have "real" jobs I'd go to their employers and ask them if they could afford to continue employing people with such poor judgement - what kind of liability could that kind of person cause you, Mr. Employer?

And then there's civil rights vios and malpractice by the DA...

Felony charges my *ss. You want Win-Lose where my kids are concerned I'll turn it around to Lose-Win by any means possible or if that's not possible only Lose-Lose or "scorched earth" will be an acceptable option.

Tell the Cops and DA what you think (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361943)

Theodore Cole Jr.
Chief of Police
Kutztown Burough Police Department
45 Railroad Street
Kutztown, PA 19530
Phone: (610) 683-3545
Fax: (610) 683-9270

Mark C. Baldwin, Esquire
  District Attorney
  Berks County Services Center
  633 Court Street, 5th Floor
  Reading, PA 19601
  Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

No wonder our education system sucks (1)

Facekhan (445017) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361945)

How can we ever expect students to think for themselves when teachers and administrators are totally incapable of it?

Re:No wonder our education system sucks (1)

hotdrop (907046) | more than 9 years ago | (#13362012)

We cant, and we dont anyone whose gone though highschool in recent years can relate. They dont want you to think, they dont want you to be an intelegent human being that questions what he is presented instead they want you to do boatloads of meaningless work that is nither intelectualy challengining nor interteresting so you can get the grades and they can look better on the district comparison study they release every year.

Call or mail the Kutztown PD (4, Informative)

nxtw (866177) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361952)

Police [] :
45 Railroad St.
Kutztown, PA 19530
(610) 683-3545

Borough of Kutztown [] :
45 Railroad St.
Kutztown, PA 19530
(610) 683-6131
fax (610) 683-6729

Kutztown Area School District [] : District Administration
50 Trexler Ave.
Kutztown, PA 19530
(610) 683-7361
fax (610) 683-7230
more addresses and phone numbers for the District []

I find the quote "We are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom." at the bottom of the Borough's webpage inappropriate for this town.

Please Understand the Context (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361955)

Hey everyone, just a reality check here.

These kids are being prosecuted under the class of felony, because laws in place for _years_ in Pennsylvania, USA have ruled thus. It is not unjust, it is not unwarranted. The kids are charged not merely with abusing an administrative password, but with pursuing the access from which they were told to refrain.

Please read more about the situation. These kids were punished and reprimanded several times, and the admin password changed. However, they insisted on using password cracking tools to assault the systems and discover the new passwords, instead of merely letting bygones be bygones. They continued their actions against the will of the school administration, and pushed the limits of the situation. When the school ran out of punishments available to them, they forwarded the incident to the local police, not unlike if the situation instead had been repeated violence or drug abuse.

The fact that the kids (and their parents) are begging for leniancy and asking the school to simply look at it as a game the kids played, and reward the students for their "ingenuity" is simply absurd. They caused the school to lose money on IT personell who had to spend their time chasing down the kids, and resetting the comprimised laptops.

I've heard it quoted in a couple places that it would take a mere "hour per laptop" to fix the problems encountered, and that the school should simply fund that time, instead of punished those who explot the systems. Math time /.'ers! 600 laptops * 1 hour apiece = 600 hours. One tech, working a 40 hour week, only fixing those laptops, would be at the task for 15 weeks. Add in more techs, with 40 hour weeks devoted only to this task, and it reduces. Who sees a problem with this situation?

Take a minute to read and learn, before you flame the local and state governments for harsh "unmerited" penalties. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, remember? If you're not smart enough to know the consequences for your actions, you shouldn't be doing them. Especially computer hacking.

This is obviously what the parents want (4, Insightful)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361958)

If not a single member of the board of education loses the next election over this then I will chalk this up to this being the will of the people and forget about it.

Whoever taped those passwords to the back of the computers needs to be fired. Whoever gave that person a job needs to be fired. Whoever has the authority to demand that the people above must be fired immediately but hasn't needs to be fired.

But this isn't happening. Rather than start demanding even a fleeting glimpse of intelligence within the public schools the parents simply get together and whine that the people they voted for have their heads so far up their rectum that you can't distinguish a fart from a whistle don't engage in sphincter-yoga.

Yes, there is the possibility that these parents didn't vote this particular schoolboard (and mayor , who allowed this particular police chief and DA to make such stupid decisions), but I'll hedge my bets and say that either they voted for them or didn't vote at all.

Are they demanding the resignation of the board? No.

Are they demanding the resignation of the DA? No.

Are they even promising to vote for somebody else in the next election? No.

So if they don't care enough to actually DO something about the situation, why should anybody else?

Stupid World (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361974)

What good does all of this do? That's the question you must ask when looking at a case like this. I'd argue that no good will come of this. I've done lots of "illegal" things with my computer over the years. You know what? If I would have been caught as a teen, I would have gone so bad. It would have pissed me off enough that I more than likely would have become a full fledged sociopath.

The thing is, nearly anyone with an IQ over 150 has the potential to snap very quickly - if you are better than everyone else why not teach them all a lesson? Charging intelligent young people with crimes like this is just going to breed malcontents, law breakers, and home grown terrorists. If you are smart enough to pull down six figures a year but because of a stupid computer crime conviction you can only get a job at Taco Bell you are going to be one bitter mother-fucker.

abusing admin account was only the beginning (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361975)

It was one thing to essentially commandeer borrowed government property. (It doesn't matter if they negligently made the key available for use or not.) They also went about expanding their control first by blocking the admin's ability to monitor then by breaking into the admin account again... it was not taped to the computer the second time.

Afterward, they went on to monitoring the admin.

This is their defiance of authority and that's the message here.

On one hand, I think it's "harsh" what is being done to the kids -- I really do. But there's a larger picture here that should be acknowledged.

How many times have you been completely and utterly insulted by children who know there's nothing you can do about it. That is, in essence, what has happened here. When it was realized that the kids were breakign rules, they were essentially given the chance to straighten up when they were discovered and their admin passwords changed. The kids responded by being even mroe defiant and even aggressive about it.

We have a cultural mess on our hands. I'm just sick enough of defiant children to endorse the reaction we are seeing here. You can't spank children any more. Somehow it became a crime. You can't even talk "mean" to them -- it's somehow psychological abuse as well. As a culture, we cannot control the children. And it's clear that most parents will not regulate their offspring as well... (at least without fear of criminal problems much of the time)

I have two sons of my own and at the moment, my biggest problem is getting them to tell the truth. I haven't seen evidence of anything worse... not yet anyway. Respect for authority is a critical lesson in life that needs to be learned. If we have to make 13 examples of these kids, then so be it. It could help in changing the path for millions of other kids out there... kids that will one day grow up and lead this world. And if you think I'm over-reacting myself, look around you at the many "adults" out there who are early evidence of the things to come... people who never actually grew up and took responsibility for themselves. Examples are not hard to find.

Respect, in general, should be restored as a key value in our culture and at the core of respect is fear of what might happen if you don't.

Same stupidity that gave them the ibooks (0, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361982)

Now is their downfall, with its "no thought^Wtolerance" policy for hacking.

What, pray tell, do some kids in high school need ibooks for? While those of you who live in the US, are under 22 and have laptops might disagree, the rest of us realize that there really is a world out there outside of your parents' basement. This is not a flame. My point is that the kids with the laptops are not qualified to weight in on their necessity.

So back to my question - why do these kids have laptops? To IM each other, surf porn, and pirate music? I, and countless students before me, survived high school w/o a laptop. Heck, I had a typewriter, for those "really important papers". How is knowing how to create tables in MS Word a life skill that high schools should teach?

Can anyone provide a real, quantifiable benefit to kids having these $$$$ trinkets (at my expense)?

A prayer to Jesus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13361983)

Dear Jesus,

I heard about the glorious creation of yours called humans that filed charges against high school students because these students were apparently smarter than the administrators.

Dear Jesus, I am from this part of the country many years ago and there was a lot of inbred people (against thigh will) there and none too bright. The smart ones moved away, so the people remained there were basically lower than the 50th percentile.

So now that they've heard the word "hacker", the under-average DA conspired with the underaverage school administrators to "send a message" and "teach them a lesson".

I suppose, dear sweet Jesus, that these people thought these boys were bright and would probably leave anyway. So now they'll go to one of the local teacher's colleges (like, um, Kutztown), and become products of their environment's mediocrity.

Dear Jesus, please send the cleansing AIDS and Cancer down on these school administrators and the DA so that they may know that the mediocre shouldn't be allowed to pass judgement over people who are brighter than them and kids with a better future than them. Please have it come quickly to them and make them go onto your heavenly bosom so that we on earth no longer have to deal with them, because clearly, Jesus, only you are smart enough to deal with them.

Make it come hard, fast, and make it hurt. And if you give them AIDS, make sure its in some ironic way that makes people laugh at them.

In thigh name we prey.
Ahhh, Men.

Really illustrates the problems with this law (3, Insightful)

Crashmarik (635988) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361984)

You have the implicit right not to have your travel patterns monitored when you rent a car, but a school has the right to watch what students do with PC's ???.

Then again it really shouldnt surprise me that incompetent people in the I.T. field wind up blaming everyone around them for their faults. In this case it seems they managed to get a sympathetic ear out of their local PD. Its sad that, you can have people harbor a child molestor and not be charged with so much as obstruction of justice, but here you have children being charged with unauthorized use of devices placed in their possesion.

IANAL but the fact that the schools handed the PC's to the students, said use them to do their work will probably knock down any charges concerning them. It will be really hard to prove unauthorized access when they were handed the quipment and given access to the network. Taping the password the back of the machine should also throw out any claims that the systems were meant to be secure.

This case shows what happens when legislators make law without understanding what they are trying to legislate or considering the consequences. If this application of the law is held valid it will allow any corporation, organization or group to take revenge on any employee or member that uses its computers and is disliked. To do so, all that would have to be done is change an employee manual or circulate a policy memo in a way that it would either not be read or misunderstood, and then call the police when someone keeps on doing what they had been doing.

Wow, I'm lucky! (1)

zachriggle (884803) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361992)

It seems that the school tech administrators are gettnig more anal retentive every day. Compared to these guys, I lucked out. Banned from school computers for life for downloading PuTTy. (To get my homework nonetheless. I had misplaced the file on my webserver, and had to move it so that I could download it. That's it.)

If they get this... (1)

greypilgrim (799369) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361993)

Then I should get the death penalty.

At my college I was testing an advanced system recovery disk I was making, and part of it was a windows password recovery system. I demonstrated the disk to my prof, he was very interested, so I showed him how I can use it to recover passwords. I got the admin password and the school-wide bios password right in front him, he thought it was neat.

Lets be reasonable, what I did, definitely not good, but what these kids did, who cares? What school kid with access to computers has not done this?

Entrapment, anyone? (1)

suspected (907639) | more than 9 years ago | (#13361996)

I'm no lawyer, but I fail to see how they even managed to file these charges. This case is, in every sense of the word, entrapment. The children were forced to use these laptops and are now charged for misusing them. Legally speaking, the school has no grounds to stand on.

Sad world it is. (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 9 years ago | (#13362005)

They're kids, they're expected to pull of stuff like this and in reality they're learning as a result. Probably more than some classes they're taking. Of course the district has underpaid IT staff and so needs to use the law instead of computer security to enforce its policies. The HS I went to was amazingly lenient in such matters, probably because it didn't want bad PR and partially because it understood that certain activities were inevitable and not too damaging. Potentially the IT staff knew they were overworked and that too many things were half-asses to hold people liable once they find the visible flaws in them. I think the only one who got suspended was for trying to change grades.

Imho, the worst punishment should be a suspension for a few days and a week at worst. Furthermore, the district has now got at least one student who is at least marginally intelligent and creative with computers. In other words, they have someone to double check any new security system for flaws or even to suggest security systems. You know, do things that will actually teach kids something. Sadly, schools don't care about children learning or being creative but only about standardized tests and sports it seems.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?