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School ICT Policies Thread, Covering ourselves when it comes to policing porn viewing in School Administration; It was a while back now when I started a discussion about what procedures should be put into place to ...
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    woody's Avatar
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    Covering ourselves when it comes to policing porn viewing

    It was a while back now when I started a discussion about what procedures should be put into place to deal with pupils who access porn deliberately and there were some good points mentioned at the time - http://www.edugeek.net/index.php?nam...iewtopic&t=679

    But I'd like to turn it on it's head now, and it is something that recently happened here to me that has prompted me to ask about it on edugeek.

    The other week, I accidently came across an mpeg in a user area that had a very dodgy filename and upon opening it did indeed prove to be of a sensitive and most definatley illegal nature. It sent a shiver down my spine and I felt edgy knowing that 1) it was on the server under my control and 2) I had actually viewed it, even if it did only take me 5 seconds to confirm what it was. Because of the severity of it, I immediately went straight to the headteacher.

    In our job most of us do come into contact with material that the pupils are viewing. The majority of it turns out to be pin-up posters and the like. But occasionally, we get something more hardcore.

    My question is, how do we cover ourselves? How do we prove that we are policing what is being viewed on the network, and not looking at that material for our own gratification? Yes you can prove that a user has actually been to a particular site, but what if I have had to access that site on my own computer to identify it's nature in the first instance? Or like my recent experience I had to view the mpeg to make sure it really was what it said on the tin as it were?

    Does anyone have a policy signed by the headteacher that specifically contains language to cover themselves when it come to viewing such material in the interest of pupil safety? I am certainly going to put something together myself but if anyone has already done this, I would be interested in looking at it.

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    webman's Avatar
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    Re: Covering ourselves when it comes to policing porn viewing

    Not sure really, but one way of covering yourself is to ask a member of SMT to be with you when you are investigating.

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    Re: Covering ourselves when it comes to policing porn viewing

    @webman - im not sure this is pratical, you never know when you'll stumble across somthin dodgy.
    I have a feeling there was some new legislation brought in recently to cover internet and child porn issues, and that it made some provisions to cover the police and IT professionals conducting investigations. Anyone shed any light on this or am I getting my wires crossed?

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    Re: Covering ourselves when it comes to policing porn viewin

    I recently had to deal with similar situation. Somebody had a number of indecent but not illegal images and videos saved to his hard drive. There were also a large number of websites in the history folder which had been visited over a period of time.

    As soon as i came across the images i notified the headteacher. It was then made my job to investigate exactly what the laptop had been used for, dates times files names ect...Everything was documented. Full list of internet history over the past three months, Full list of all software he had installed, list of any other documents i found which we innappropriate, according to our school policy for computer use, which includes both use at home and at school.

    A statement of what i had found including conversations between the member of staff and myself before i found the images, and also a statement including everything i had done to the laptop to investigate the misuse. Also the document all members of staff sign to agree to use the laptop appropriatly.

    The laptop was then taken away from me and locked away with the headteacher. Infact head phoned the police as some of the websites logged were suspect.

    But i agree there should be some sort of school policy written for this kind of access. I agree that i soon as i view images etc of porn nature i am too committing the same offence, but as long as i log what ive done im safe.

    It needs to be clearer

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    Re: Covering ourselves when it comes to policing porn viewin

    Problem with that approach Dan is that you have to be very careful if you think anything is suspect at all. We have been given guidelines by county that say if we come across anything suspect/dodgy at all we have to force power off (Out at the plug or pull battery out of laptop), not touch any keys at all, defnitiely not investigate any further, lock the machine away and report it to protect ourselves.
    Now this is obviously OTT if it is just smutty. But internally we have decided that if we find something we don't follow links off the main page found, we infomr the other memeber of the team that something was found and if it is a member of staff in form the Head.

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    Re: Covering ourselves when it comes to policing porn viewin

    i agree its a risky approach and this occasion actually involved a member of staff. I suposse our headteach has always dealt with it in this manner. i remeber we had a student who had masses of images saved to his user area and we had to go through and burn them all onto cd and almost catalogue them. It would seem that the LEA agrees witrh our approach as we have never had any problems with them surrounding such issues.

    At some point the laptop has to be switched on and a full investigation made, wether this is made internally or externally is a choice. and obviously following guidlines to the letter is the best approach no matter how OTT you may think they are. The LEA supports us and that suits our current procedure.

    My main point is that thew guidelines arent clear,

    for instance ive just this minute had a member of staff come to me and say that her son accessed the internet wirelessly at home using her work laptop. Basically shes says that there were some pop ups and he was "intrested" few clicks and he was accessing porn, she wants me to clear and files that may have been downloaded and clear the history. According to our policy this is inappropriate use of school equipment, our school policy for comnputer use applies both in school and at home, manby mebers of staff forget this.

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    Re: Covering ourselves when it comes to policing porn viewing

    Getting SMT to sit with you every time you feel that something is suspicious is not practicle at all. I suppose it must be at the stage where you realise that something is serious. But the thing is, we NEVER know what we might stumble onto and if the page has been viewed on our PC, even if it's only the first link, we need to have something to cover our own backs.

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    Re: Covering ourselves when it comes to policing porn viewin

    if it's a kid looking at dodgy images, we grab the logs, take them to my line manager (deputy head) and then we print example screenshots (in full colour) to show to parents while he's there.

    if it were a staff member I would do as techmonkey suggested - pull the power, lock the laptop in the finance safe and call the police.

    We don't have the tools or training to do forensic work and any findings would not stand up in court. I would refuse any request to investigate the laptop and actively prevent anyone else from doing so.

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    Re: Covering ourselves when it comes to policing porn viewin

    If you do find anything you could always use these guys .

    More info on this thread

    They will do a check of anything you ask them - I don't know what the costs would be but could work out cheaper when you consider the man-hours it would take you to investigate incidents yourself.

    No I'm not on a commission

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    Re: Covering ourselves when it comes to policing porn viewin

    If you do find anything you could always use these guys .

    More info on this thread

    They will do a check of anything you ask them - I don't know what the costs would be but could work out cheaper when you consider the man-hours it would take you to investigate incidents yourself.

    No I'm not on a commission

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    Re: Covering ourselves when it comes to policing porn viewing

    My question really is not about how to investigate missuse. It's how to go about covering yourself if you have to look at unsavoury material.

    We combat internet missuse from three angles here already. 1) Preventative filtering with our ISP(CLEO); 2) Screen monitoring through AB tutor control; 3) Post logging and reporting through Securus.

    But all of those don't stop us from personally viewing some websites, and/or files that have been downloaded into user areas. How do we prove that we aren't the offenders other than to have a signed agreement where you promise not to look for your own gratification, and SMT/governors promise to accept that you might have to look for investigative purposes?

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    alan-d's Avatar
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    Re: Covering ourselves when it comes to policing porn viewin

    A persistant offender would have all his/her actions logged and there would be a pattern to the misuse. Your logs would show very little in comparison.

    It's a bit like being a window cleaner in this job, you don't mean to peek but sometimes you see things you'd rather not

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    Re: Covering ourselves when it comes to policing porn viewin

    would anyone send me there acceptable use guidlines for there school. network use, computer use, etc? anychance?

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    alan-d's Avatar
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    Re: Covering ourselves when it comes to policing porn viewing

    PM me your email - I'll send a copy of ours which has just passed OFTED and Auditing

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    Re: Covering ourselves when it comes to policing porn viewing

    wiki is your best friend here lots of stuff on it

    www.russdev.com/wiki



    Russ

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