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General Chat Thread, Detective work - help in General; I feel that you do not have the right to go looking through a flash drive because you've found it. ...
  1. #46
    gwendes's Avatar
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    Re: Detective work - help

    I feel that you do not have the right to go looking through a flash drive because you've found it. I wouldn't even put it near a network computer because it could contain all sorts of nasties designed to do damage to the network.

    Pupils personal areas of the network should be monitored and the pupils understand that this is done.

    The flash drive is personal property though, if they're not allowed in school then treat it like anything else that isn't allowed. If they are then it should be assumed that the contents are school related.

    Would you go through a mobile phone reading the text messages?

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    Re: Detective work - help

    I'd like to lol

  3. #48
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    Re: Detective work - help

    Its reasonable to look at a drive to see if you can track the owner down.

    If you find stuff that should not be in school, then yes you can do something about it. How much trouble would you be in if you gave the USB stick back full of porn? 8O

  4. #49
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    Re: Detective work - help

    Quote Originally Posted by WITCH
    I asked a lawyer friend of mine and he said that looking through the drive is suspect, whatever the policy says - UNLESS you have one as tighly written as Grumbledook says and even then, the punishments need to be spelled out before they can be applied
    Chances are the normal behaviour policy for school applies and would spell out what would happen.

    As has been said- it is personal property and should be treated as such.
    This is where it gets interesting. The parrallel of treating a USB pen as equivalent to a school locker works for me but I wonder if perhaps we should dial this back to a school bag.

    If a school bag had been left in school, unattended, no claimants then you'd be within your rights to check the bag for any indication of ownership. If in the course of trying to ID the owner you found material unsuitable for school the response would surely be the same..

    Would this situation be any different? Somehow I doubt it.

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    Re: Detective work - help

    You would only be in trouble if you knew there was a load of porn on it.

    I think it is reasonable to look at the contents of disks to try and find out whos it is. I wouldn't go through all the files to check they were ok. Simply looking at filenames will normally tell you who the property is. Graphics coursework for example would mean i could hand the disk over to the graphics teacher to ask if anyone has lost it. However, if I found a filename with Porn001 then I would raise an issue with SMT as it would be a school issue. I think it is seperating what could be called snooping into personal property and what is trying to find out the owner to return the property.

    Regardless, I think I will be adding to our AUP to cover me incase I find myself in a similar situation in the future.

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    Re: Detective work - help

    Quote Originally Posted by gwendes
    If they are then it should be assumed that the contents are school related.
    With students you can never assume that they are school related. I think contink has hit the nail on the head with the bag issue, you would open the bag to see how's it was, if you found a porn mag then you would report it. This is the same situation.

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    Re: Detective work - help

    Quote Originally Posted by NickJones
    Rubbish! I am not responsible for illegal activity carried out using information stored on students' privately-owned pen drives. Returning to the day planner analogy, let's imagine someone finds my planner in a room somewhere, turns to the details on page 1, finds my name and returns it to me. What they didn't spot was that I had bomb making instructions on page 172 - when that blows up, is that person also responsible? Absolutely not.

    But let's assume for a minute that you're right, and it is my job as Network Manager to check for risks to personal safety in the form of private data on misplaced pen drives. Surely that duty should also be extended to those pen drives which haven't been lost? So by your argument I should be taking pen drives off students (either at random or alphabetically) and checking them. I'm sorry, but get real!
    I've no idea where you've got this personal safety issue from Nick!

    You have a duty of care to pupils and staff, if a kid has something on a drive which passes through your hands, which you've opened in order to discover the owner and later turns out to cause harm then YES parents will point the finger at you and ask what the hell you were thinking. You're living in la-la land if you don't think that'd happen, we're not talking about logic here mate, we're talking about the typical knee jerk reaction that people have to IT. Nobody mentioned it making sense or you actually have a legal duty to check EVERYTHING but we all know what the public can be like and frankly yes they'd come after any IT staff that had passed the drive on without looking at it and ensuring the data and contents were safe.

  8. #53

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    Re: Detective work - help

    Halfmad - you are getting duty of care and stupid parents mixed up there. There is not a duty of care to check pen drives that go through our hands. If something is later found on there that later causes harm, then that is the parents' issue. It is their responsibility to check the belongings of their children - not ours.

    That is why we have a 'no pen drives' policy for kids. They can email stuff via their school email accounts, which is monitored, and that is it.

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    Re: Detective work - help

    Duty of care isn't as clear cut as some of you seem to think, this is one of the reasons I'm glad to be leaving the school IT sector shortly.

    You don't have a duty to check drives, however if you have checked it and find something you can't ignore it. Likewise as you've been asked or have to find the owner of it, checking it really opens up a real can of worms.

    I think if I'm ever in that situation it'd perhaps be best simply not to check the drives at all, hand them to the school office and wait for someone claim it!

  10. #55
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    Re: Detective work - help

    Can I check it, find something, look at it then deny all knowledge of knowing about it if at a later date it comes up?

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    Re: Detective work - help

    Yeah, if you get anyone who seen you with it back your story up

  12. #57
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    Re: Detective work - help

    Quote Originally Posted by Halfmad
    You don't have a duty to check drives, however if you have checked it and find something you can't ignore it.
    I think the key word there is "IF you find something". I wouldn't actively go looking at all the files on the drive, and would stop as soon as I knew whose pen it was, however IF I did find something in the course of doing this, I would act on it (if it is a child protection issue which we stumbled across, we'd legally have to act).

    Quote Originally Posted by Halfmad
    I think if I'm ever in that situation it'd perhaps be best simply not to check the drives at all, hand them to the school office and wait for someone claim it!
    Where possible, I don't open any files when trying to identify the owner - usually, the author flag on the file will suffice. If I do open a file, then I make sure it is one which is clearly school-related, e.g. "coursework draft 1.doc" as this is the most likely file to have the kid's name on it. Also remember that the student would probably be able to describe their pen drive, so if you have 4 lost ones on your desk, they could say "it's blue and has a kitten key-ring on it" and thus allow you to return the correct pen to them without ever raising this issue. We encourage our students to rename their pen drive to their name, so if we do find one we can plug it in and see the name, so can return it without ever viewing even a directory listing of the contents.

    Generally people will be happy that you've checked so that they get their pen drive back, or so that bullying/drug/etc issues get found while there is still time to deal with it, but for the 1 time in a 100 that someone takes exception to it, you need to make sure you're above reproach and cannot possibly be sued. It's sad that we have to think in this way, but that is the world in which we live.

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