Safe surfing and emailing in public schools


Using public computers presents unique problems for those who surf the web and deal with email and the problem is greatly magnified in our public schools.  The mass production of USB flash drives has driven the cost down to the level that is acceptable for most consumers and public schools have latched onto them in a big way.  The proper use of a flash drive can insure that no traces of personal information are left behind on computers in the public domain but even that can be problematic on a big scale such as is needed at schools.

Imaginelan is a company that produces software for installation on portable flash drives that tackles this problem and provides a safe environment for web work on public computers.  They recently announced an incentive program for schools that provides big discounts on their mobility suites so schools can provide anonymous use of classroom PCs, eliminating the worry that children will leave personal information behind on the computer.  According to the Imaginelan website the P. I. Protector Mobility Suite provides the following abilities:

Private browsing protects your privacy and sensitive personal information by diverting all tracking of your Internet activities to the storage device. Internet portability lets you transfer Internet settings from one PC to another. imagine LAN’s patent-pending mobile email lets you carry your Outlook or Outlook Express email (account settings, messages, etc.) with you for secure use on any PC. And file synchronization enables you to keep files up to date between your PC and your storage device.

I find it fascinating that this program lets you use a totally portable Outlook (or Outlook Express) installation for your email, something I have never seen anywhere.  The program is available to the general public for $30 on their website.




It’s interesting to read this and the press release because it seems like another method for the more sophisticated student to circumvent the security controls and abuse the school’s systems.

This technology aids the student in their efforts to maintain security, but the [often less technical] school teachers and administrators less clues on what the students are up to.

I’m surprised privacy is something that a school owes its users (its students) when they are on the school’s network.

Most companies serve end users notices that the company has the right to monitor all communications and systems under their control.

It seems like another tool to aid the already technically advantanged student.

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