Sunday, February 18, 2007

Pop-ups and jail time

A substitute teacher is facing 40 years for porno pop-ups during class in CT. This is despite the PCs running an unpatched, version of Windows 98 without antivirus, pop-up blockers, or spyware blockers. The teacher is being thrown under the bus by the school district on this one because parents want their pound of flesh. The only other alternative is to point the finger at the IT staff of the district for not doing a better job of network security. To be fair locking up the teacher or the staff in this case seems to be going a little too far. The children being exposed to pornography wasn't the intent of anyone involved in this case.

One thing that should be considered in relation to school libraries and even public libraries is the balance between privacy and security. One of the problems of large institutions is the desire to maintain a homogeneous environment and lack of disposable funds. Because of this the lowest common denominator in security is usually what is maintained. At the very least, a browser with a built-in pop-up blocker should be the default, antivirus and anti-spyware software has to be on every computer no matter what the operating system.

I'm hoping that she will get an appeal with a judge that actually understands that pop-ups are not sought out. I'm not holding my breath.

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