7 votes

So apparently, my school district can go through my iPhone.

Yep. According to my teacher, if I'm using my school's wifi, they can search my iPhone's pictures, text messages, phone calls, apps, etc. Comment below and tell me what you think. Do you think an average school district has the technology to do it?

My opinion:
It's all fear tactics to make sure people don't sext. Besides, iOS (the iPhone operating system) is a highly secure operating system that could only take a jailbreak (getting really hard these days) to break the filesystem to where my pictures, text messages, phone calls, apps, etc can be accessed. (If you follow the jailbreak community, this will make more sense) I do know that the school can view my web history from my phone, because I'm using the network, but it's a ridiculous claim that my school claims they can search my whole phone when I'm connected to wifi. I know the iOS too well. It's too secure and too complex to even somehow break through the security patches of the operating system to see what I'm hiding (which is nothing). Nice try Rutherford County School Board. Nice try Riverdale High School.

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As and IT professional in K-12 Education

I can tell you that they can do this, today, only with "managed devices". Unmanaged devices are only subject to the same kind of inspection that the NSA performs: observation.

Every App operates via ports, those ports can be open, monitored, or blocked. Port 80 usually is unmolested, but is heavily monitored and "filtered". Filtering is required by CIPA, for obscene, hate, and similar content. If a school does not filter, they cannot receive bandwidth subsidies (to the tune of 50 - 100% discounts) for their cost of providing internet access (there is a line item on every phone bill that charges $0.25 - $0.50 per billing cycle to fund this subsidy: Universal Services (wiki that)). So a school or school system would be CRAZY to have their network unfiltered. Filtering devices have logs and software to "mine" the data.

The filters are not perfect, but like Anti-Virus tools, constant updates keep them effective enough to block most malicious content and sites. And they can certainly block different traffic types. Every year the management software improves and more and more types of information can be extracted. But again, this is like what the NSA does on a tiny scale.

Now, I will tell you that I am familiar with the networking capabilities of about 15 (smaller) of the 67 counties in Florida. How good are the district IT staffs? Some are very good and capable. Most are just wanting to make sure the network does not fail, and are reactive managers.

One of my daily tasks is to watch my organization's bandwidth and sound the alarm when oddities arise. Most of these districts call me if they want to delve into what is going on across the network. My phone stays pretty quiet.

The final word is that they can do alot on the monitoring side, but often have too many "jobs" to follow through on that. I doubt any school among the 100 I have contact with can gain access to your device, uninvited.

meekandmild's picture

Get a phone load it down with virsus that your schools ISP

will get corrupted and shut down. That would tell if it has the capability.

Put a PIN on it with a low

Put a PIN on it with a low timeout.

They cannot hack your device

They cannot hack your device to search through your files. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 made it illegal to intentionally access a computer without authorization or in excess of authorization in order to obtain information from the computer.

In addition, being as they are conducting themselves on behalf of the government, they probably are legally obligated to obtain a warrant if they were to hack your phone. Especially being that they are using the information obtained to "police" you.

They probably can snoop on any data that you send over their network, though. That pretty much means anything that is sent over their network unencrypted. There are tools available to capture all of that data going over a network. Unencrypted photos, messages, emails and even passwords can be snooped.

Also, if there was a legal agreement that you need to agree to in order to access their network, you might want to make sure that in the agreement it does not state that you give them authorization to access your device, any information on it or sent by it. Chances are, though, that your parents would need to enter into this contract if you are not 18.

ANYHOW - best bet would be to secure all of your communications over their network. If you must use the schools network then you should consider setting up a VPN in order to secure everything that passes through your school's network making them unable to see any of it. Using VPNs to secure your data is a good idea in general, regardless of which public hotspot type network you are using.


I'd bet dimes to dollars they did some CYA and had the students

or their parents sign some sort of "release" form that allows them this access without a warrant, or something to the effect of a TOS that he "accepted" the first time they use the service.(or even each time - coffee shops have something similar, though not so sinister)

If they don't have such a TOS acknowledgement page, or agreement, then yes, they are in big doo-doo if they are engaging in such espionage.

to a degree, they can.

....at least anything you send or receive on that connection. It's not hard to sniff some packets. (especially if they operate the network) When in doubt, don't use the WiFi.

Here is some more about network analyzers, also known as "packet sniffing".


"What light is to the eyes - what air is to the lungs - what love is to the heart, liberty is to the soul of man."
-Robert Green Ingersoll

Alot of schools basically

Alot of schools basically take the position that their students dont have any rights.

To climb the mountain, you must believe you can.

The meaning of "can"

You may want to be careful regarding the different possible meanings of "can"

a) They have the technical means to do it (sounds more like a bluff than anything else)

b) Your use of the system makes the device subject to the school's rules and regulations, and that includes an obligation for you to give out the mentioned information (possible, you'll have to check the "acceptable use policy" of the school wifi and other applicable laws and regulations like CIPA)

If in doubt - don't use it (the school's wifi, use something else), it shouldn't be that bad...

The correct answer is "b".

The correct answer is "b".


I don't think any school district has that capability. All they would be able to do is log what websites or servers a phone is accessing. hahahaha!!!!

I doubt they are telling the truth.

If you are required to download an app to your iPhone to use their wifi, then all bets are off, however, if that's not the case, their snooping would be limited to intercepting anything you send or receive over non-ssl connections.

Now is there a possibility of their being a backdoor on iPhones that would allow snooping around your device without your knowledge or consent? I'd say the odds are pretty good, it's just highly unlikely that your local school district is privy to it.

If there was a backdoor,

then jailbreaking would be the easiest thing to do. But now they are saying that iOS 7 is unjailbreakable.

Its probably a scare tactic

Its probably a scare tactic but did you ever think about turning your phone off and focusing all your energy on learning. Are you on a path toward all ap courses your senior year?

Phones are used

for educational purposes at my school. It's alot to explain.