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  • LAUSD Stops Home Use of iPads for Students After Security Circumvention was Discovered


    The Los Angeles Unified School District recently suspended home use of Apple’s iPad by students until further notice following the news that a number of students had bypassed the school-installed security features on the device. Just after one week with the devices, 300 LA USD students were able to bypass the content restrictions the district had installed on their iPads, enabling them to browse sites such as YouTube and Facebook, both of which were blocked along with several other sites by the district’s policy. Administrators were still handing out devices last week when the students’ workaround was discovered.

    The district has now halted home use of the devices and scrutiny of the program has increased. Sources within the district are saying that the development may delay the rollout of the massive program that would see Apple providing an iPad for every student in the LAUSD.

    To provide further clarification, each iPad comes with student profiles on the device which has restrictions built-in. These profiles are put into place to prevent students from accessing services such as Twitter, Pandora and other popular sites. The restrictions were extended to when the devices left the campus and were taken home, leading to many student complaints about the severity of the limitations. The students who were able to circumvent the restrictions did so by just simply deleting their personal profiles, leaving them free to surf the web, tweet, amongst other things. Shortly after the circumvention method was discovered the news spread throughout the district by word of mouth and Twitter.

    With at-home use being suspended, several administrators were looking to head off further spread of the workaround as they believe that it raises potential issues regarding student safety. Two senior administrators said the following in a memo to the Board of Education and LA Schools Superintendent John Deasy:

    Outside of the district's network, a user is free to download content and applications and browse the Internet without restriction. As student safety is of paramount concern, breach of the... system must not occur.
    That being said, administrators seemed only mildly confident of their ability to keep the workaround under wraps. LAUSD Police Chief Steven Zippermean wrote the following in a confidential memo:

    I'm guessing this is just a sample of what will likely occur on other campuses once this hits Twitter, YouTube or other social media sites explaining to our students how to breach or compromise the security of these devices. I want to prevent a 'runaway train' scenario when we may have the ability to put a hold on the roll-out.
    We’ll have to wait and see how the issue is handled going forward.

    Source: The Los Angeles Times
    This article was originally published in forum thread: LAUSD Stops Home Use of iPads for Students After Security Circumvention was Discovered started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 9 Comments
    1. bigboyz's Avatar
      bigboyz -
      Why not use "Restrictions" on iOS? Its built in and it works well.
    1. slim.jim's Avatar
      slim.jim -
      Wasn't much of a profile if they were just able to delete it.
    1. Feanor64's Avatar
      Feanor64 -
      What a surprise.
    1. cmwade77's Avatar
      cmwade77 -
      This is the problem with using such restrictive settings....if they could simply say you can't use Youtube and such while at school, it probably wouldn't have been such a big deal to most of the students, although there would be a few who would hack it, simply to show that they could.

      It is pointless to be so draconian to say you can't go on Youtube or Social Media, even when you are at home with this device.
    1. Rcworship's Avatar
      Rcworship -
      Simple fact is that they can't keep inquisitive minds from attempting to get over these hurdles just to see if they can. They need to hire some apple geeks/hackers to pull it off. Maybe they could jailbreak them all and add something like folderlock😝
    1. Scotty Manley Silberhorn's Avatar
      Scotty Manley Silberhorn -
      Quote Originally Posted by bigboyz View Post
      Why not use "Restrictions" on iOS? Its built in and it works well.
      I work in 2 school systems, 1 has 1,000 student ipads, the other has 1,400 student ipads. Using mobile device management is the most efficient way to lock down the ipads, without having to touch each and every one of those ipads. Apple Configurator is flaky by itself and apple is still trying to give schools a good way to roll out ipads. There isn't a perfect process yet.
    1. Feanor64's Avatar
      Feanor64 -
      So when a kid uses Facebook on a SCHOOL issued iPad to bully another kid and then that kid commits suicide because of it...
    1. Rcworship's Avatar
      Rcworship -
      We blame the parents for doing crappy job. Well, and the kid for being a wimp...said the bully...
    1. szr's Avatar
      szr -
      Quote Originally Posted by Feanor64 View Post
      So when a kid uses Facebook on a SCHOOL issued iPad to bully another kid and then that kid commits suicide because of it...
      The problem with that line of thinking is that it ignores the fact that the same bully could just as well do the same thing on a computer or other device if they are that intent on doing it.