It breaks my heart and makes me sick to have to address this. But it needs to be addressed. Bitfrost is extremely secure. However, no amount of security can protect kids from themselves. Or teachers and admins from children's actions in the USA school system.
99.999% of the time, XOs are used for innocuous pursuits. What bothers me in the extreme are the ramifications of that other potential 0.001% or whatever infinitesimal number. Now this is the sort of thing that I do not want to even think about, let alone write about. But it only takes a single incident to ruin lives.
Kids do dumb things and some kids might do some really idiot things with their XOs. What scares me out of my mind are the very real legal consequences and long term damage of having those dumb things not only in the XO's Journal, but saved to the XS.
See, the XS School Server can back up the Journal contents on an XO and restore it if needed. Sounds great! However, its a dangerous activity, and that functionality should not be used in USA classrooms, for a few reasons.
The XO's Record activity could be used as a digital version of "I'll show you mine and you show me yours." I'm no expert in child development, but that is not unheard of in the elementary school set. Or say an older sibling borrows an XO and abuses the webcam. Those pictures would be in the Journal and are legally child pornography.
I don't mean to be alarmist, but I've been reading more and more stories like this, "Ruining Kids in Order to Save Them", and it makes me very afraid.
To put it bluntly, if a kid takes inappropriate pictures and saves them to the Journal, which is then backed up on the XS, its now the nominally under control of the admin. The law might not care that you didn't look at the pictures, nor even knew they were there in the first place. But can you expose yourself to that kind of liability? If you're in the US and you're running an XS with Journal backup and restore, this is something you particularly need to think about.
The Chat Activity is great fun, but there will be some kids who abuse it. As the server admin, should you have reasonably been expected to scan the chats saved to the XS and identified a problem? Even if you're not an educator and have very little contact with the kids in the first place, blame is cast everywhere.
There have been prosecutions of folks who left their wifi networks open and were unwittingly allowing horrible things to be saved to their computers. By that precedent, an XS admin could be held culpable for things he/she never even knew about, even if the network were locked down to just XOs and the most stringent internet filtering.
Sound paranoid? Probably. I'm not a lawyer, but the stakes are too high and the potential issues too serious to even risk the possibility. And who knows? Maybe the prospect of having their images and chats archived to the XS would be a deterrent to inappropriate behavior. I personally would not gamble on that, though. Would you?
John Doe worries about children and adults in the American education system