+ Post New Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 21
Wireless Networks Thread, secret monitoring with UltraVNC / italc in Technical; Small private school in mainland Europe. Teacher checking email on networked computer. Pupil comes up to him and says he ...
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    43
    Thank Post
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Rep Power
    0

    secret monitoring with UltraVNC / italc

    Small private school in mainland Europe.
    Teacher checking email on networked computer.
    Pupil comes up to him and says he just saw the teacher's screen on the tech's computer.
    Teacher did not get a pop-up or warning that the tech was connecting to that computer.
    Teachers (or pupils) have not been told about any monitoring policy, nor signed an AUP.

    Further investigation reveals UltraVNC is installed on all the school's computers.
    (although, supposedly UltraVNC does not have a stealth mode without hacking it).

    1)
    I suspect iTalc or some other software is being used (piggybacking on UltraVNC).
    Does anyone know of monitoring software that has a stealth mode?
    If it is likely to be iTalc, how can I tell if iTalc clients are installed on the machines?

    2)
    Fair enough if the tech is doing random monitoring. We like him and he's got a job to do. What we are really worried about is if our creepy, power-hungry headmaster is sitting in his office watching what we do on our whiteboards all day without telling us. Is it possible that the technician has iTalc installed on his own PC, and that the headmaster also has his own version in his office?

    3)
    Is this kind of secret monitoring illegal in Europe? Especially when you're doing it to children?
    If not, is it at least common practice to be open about it, and to get an AUP signed?
    Shouldn't parents also be advised of it?

    Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2

    DaveP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Can't talk now: The mother-ship is calling!
    Posts
    8,784
    Thank Post
    351
    Thanked 1,274 Times in 870 Posts
    Blog Entries
    4
    Rep Power
    1126
    We use iTalc and I can confirm [for the version that we have: No hacks or modifications] when we connect to a workstation [to view or control] the user is not informed by the software.

    HTH.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    43
    Thank Post
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Rep Power
    0
    Thanks for that confirmation.

    How can i tell if iTalc is actually installed?
    We see UltraVNC listed in the program files and in the start menu.
    But I can't see anything related to iTalc. Does it run as a service?

    Cheers

  4. #4

    DaveP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Can't talk now: The mother-ship is calling!
    Posts
    8,784
    Thank Post
    351
    Thanked 1,274 Times in 870 Posts
    Blog Entries
    4
    Rep Power
    1126
    You can tell if iTalc is installed at a particular station because [here at least] the green iTalc icon:



    appears in the system notification area for students and staff.

    Yes there is an iTalc service which is required if iTalc is to work.

  5. #5
    steve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    West Yorkshire
    Posts
    1,043
    Thank Post
    22
    Thanked 177 Times in 123 Posts
    Rep Power
    51
    UltraVNC can easily be used to monitor without the user knowing.

    All you need to do is remove the system tray icon (done via the registry) - we have done this in the past to monitor student PCs without them being able to stop it.

    Not sure about this but does ultravnc record connections in the windows event log?

  6. #6

    glennda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Sussex
    Posts
    7,799
    Thank Post
    272
    Thanked 1,134 Times in 1,030 Posts
    Rep Power
    349
    RealVNC will record in the Event log the time of connection and also the source IP - not sure if this is the same for UltraVNC tho

  7. #7

    Dos_Box's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Preston, Lancashire
    Posts
    9,843
    Thank Post
    583
    Thanked 2,162 Times in 987 Posts
    Blog Entries
    23
    Rep Power
    627
    3)
    Is this kind of secret monitoring illegal in Europe? Especially when you're doing it to children?
    If not, is it at least common practice to be open about it, and to get an AUP signed?
    Shouldn't parents also be advised of it?
    It depends on what you class as 'secret monitoring'? Usually AUPs will state that computers will be 'monitored', and I have often taken this to include remote viewing. It also raises the question 'What are you afraid of?'. Ususally I never watch a teachers machine (ever), or indeed any pupils comouters during lesson times. During break times it is common practice to keep an eye on what the little darlings are doing, as some of them are guarentted to be up to no good.
    Of course seeing a teachers machine open in a remote viewer could also be a completely innocent thing if the technician is testing a new remote feature or config.

  8. #8

    glennda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Sussex
    Posts
    7,799
    Thank Post
    272
    Thanked 1,134 Times in 1,030 Posts
    Rep Power
    349
    The Technician could have also been fixing a problem for the teacher! This is the kind of place you have to give trust to technician's, along with full access to data in sims etc. If there is no trust for the technicians who 99.9% of the time do things legitimately half the problems with computers never get fixed. As most of the time you spend 10 mins walking across the site to literally press ok and reboot or something like that! Total waste of time when you can do it in a a couple of mins at your desk.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    43
    Thank Post
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Rep Power
    0
    Firstly, let me say that we don't have a problem with the technician. We would be perfectly happy with him doing some monitoring as part of his remit, as long as everyone was made aware of it, informed to what extent it was being done, what the monitoring was actually aiming to achieve, and what sanctions could be imposed for misuse. At the moment there is no written policy and no AUP. This situation obviously needs to be changed, but other than that we have no problem with the tech doing his job.

    However, we are sickened by the thought of the headmaster sitting in his office watching what teachers are projecting onto their whiteboards, obtaining automatic screen captures throughout the day and taking manual shots of emails, without anyone ever suspecting. I can guarantee that if there is even a slight suspicion that he's doing this, all teachers will immediately stop using the school computers.
    Last edited by Anti; 12th May 2010 at 12:10 AM.

  10. #10
    enjay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Reading, Berkshire, UK
    Posts
    4,485
    Thank Post
    282
    Thanked 196 Times in 167 Posts
    Rep Power
    75
    I have no issue with technicians and teaching staff having remote monitoring and control software, and for classroom management a stealth mode is essential. We have two products here, NetSupport School (RM Tutor) which is used in the IT Suites as a teaching tool, and TightVNC which is not quite silent as it turns the wallpaper off, and this is installed on all computers and used by IT Support.

    I think the issue comes down to why it is in place, and trust/responsibility of the person/people using it. IT Support using it to offer quicker assistance is fine, teachers using it to keep a class on topic is fine, headteachers using it to "check up" on teachers, perhaps less so, although not completely outside their remit, mind you. IT Support could spend the day snooping on staff, but are trusted not to, in the same way as we are trusted not to read files or emails in people's MyDocs folders.

    I think you potentially have an issue in that this is, apparently, being done without the staff being aware of it, either via an announcement from The School or an AUP. I don't think the school is actually breaking any laws by having covert monitoring in place (they can do what they want on their network), however they would have a job pursuing any disciplinary action based on what they see with it.

  11. #11
    zag
    zag is offline
    zag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    3,762
    Thank Post
    897
    Thanked 416 Times in 350 Posts
    Blog Entries
    12
    Rep Power
    86
    This kind of monitoring is standard in most schools.

    I wouldn't worry about it.

    We run Italc here and have the possibility to look at anyone's screen but I don't use it unless there is cause to, especially for staff.

  12. #12

    nephilim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Dunstable
    Posts
    11,783
    Thank Post
    1,623
    Thanked 1,877 Times in 1,395 Posts
    Blog Entries
    2
    Rep Power
    422
    What is your role at the school? It would be better to help you knowing the role you play. EG if you are a teacher, are you worried that your practices will be called into question? Are you the Network Administrator worried that the technician is conducting illegal surveillance?

    I personally monitor the staff and children, I have it open on a laptop on my desk and the staff know. I RARELY look at what they are doing unless something catches my eye.

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    43
    Thank Post
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Rep Power
    0
    > if you are a teacher, are you worried that your practices will be called into question?

    Yes. But it has little to do with defending our teaching practice. There are ongoing issues of management distrust and control, and this would be another indication that the person is not doing a good job of running the school.
    Last edited by Anti; 12th May 2010 at 12:11 AM.

  14. #14
    enjay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Reading, Berkshire, UK
    Posts
    4,485
    Thank Post
    282
    Thanked 196 Times in 167 Posts
    Rep Power
    75
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti View Post
    There are ongoing issues of management distrust, incompetence, maliciousness, control, etc. and this would be another indication that the person is not doing a good job of running the school.
    Sounds like the distrust goes both ways here.

    Is it inherently wrong for the HT to use technology to monitor what their staff are doing during lesson times? Also let's not totally lose sight of the fact that the only person you KNOW to be using this technology is not the HT at all but IT Support.

  15. #15
    jsnetman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    887
    Thank Post
    23
    Thanked 134 Times in 126 Posts
    Rep Power
    39
    We use abtutor here and it also does not display any warnings when viewing a romote machine, in fact I have not seen any software that does this apart from the likes of logmein and so on, which are not really lan products. I have in thumbnail view 350 PC's on our lan and yes I use it to actively monitor pupils for use of games and so on. I will only monitor a teacher or support staff at the request of a senior manager. From time to time I open a teachers machine accidentally when I'm roaming around the thumbnails or when they request assistance. I have to agree with some of the posts here that if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing you should not mind this type of monitoring/support.

SHARE:
+ Post New Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. UltraVNC + Windows 7, your configurations?
    By mrbios in forum Windows 7
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 27th April 2010, 09:39 AM
  2. [Joke] I Need to tell you a secret..
    By Gatt in forum Jokes/Interweb Things
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 4th April 2009, 02:57 PM
  3. UltraVNC 1.0.2 MSI package
    By ranj in forum Windows
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 10th October 2007, 10:17 PM
  4. UltraVNC Single Click
    By plexer in forum Windows
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 10th January 2007, 04:09 PM
  5. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 26th October 2006, 12:37 PM

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •