LA school district puts the brakes on massive iPad deployment after students find gaps in security

by Doug Drinkwater

September 26 2013

Some students at schools within the LA Unified School District have found a way around security settings (Image: LA Times)
Some students at schools within the LA Unified School District have found a way around security settings (Image: LA Times)

The Los Angeles Unified School District has been forced to temporarily halt the initial roll-out of up to 640,000 iPads after some students discovered how to bypass security settings.

The first tablets were rolled out to students at Theodore Roosevelt High School, Westchester High and the Valley Academy of Arts and Sciences, but the $1 billion program has since been stopped after more than 300 students found out how to remove security restrictions inside the first week.

As The Los Angeles Times reports, students discovered that, by deleting their personal profile information, they could remove restrictions on their iPads in order to install their favorite apps, browse all websites, socialize on Facebook and Twitter and even stream songs via Pandora.

In a leaked memo obtained by the newspaper, School District Police Chief Steven Zipperman said that he made the decision to prevent a “runaway train scenario”.

"I'm guessing this is just a sample of what will likely occur on other campuses once this hits Twitter, YouTube or other social media sites explaining to our students how to breach or compromise the security of these devices," wrote Zipperman.

"I want to prevent a `runaway train' scenario when we may have the ability to put a hold on the rollout."

The district is now apparently considering how to move forward securely with the project, but has for the mean time banned students from using the iPads at home.

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