Video: LA students outsmart $1 billion iPad program security ... in a week

You’d think a billion dollars might get enough security to lock down an iPad for a week against a determined hacker.  Los Angeles Unified School District discovered that it doesn’t — at least not for them.  After spending a huge amount of cash on the electronic devices, high-school students had them unlocked in a week for all the Internet browsing they wanted to do:

A $1 billion program to distribute iPads to students in the Los Angeles Unified School District(LAUSD) was under increased scrutiny Wednesday after reports that some devices were hacked for non-school-related purposes.

KNX 1070′s Pete Demetriou reports hundreds of kids at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights and two other campuses breached the security locks within a week of receiving the tablets. …

LAUSD officials have halted the use of the district’s iPads at students’ homes use until further notice and are considering installing additional security software on the tablets, according to reports.

One Roosevelt student said he doesn’t expect that solution to last long in the face of determined tinkering and hacking.

The first question really shouldn’t be about security, but about judgment.  LAUSD isn’t among the better-performing school districts in the country, not by a long shot, and they have lots of other problems to solve with their cash.  While switching to an electronic platform might be a good idea rather than spend money on traditional textbooks (which could be at least as costly as an iPad for one student, arguably), that kind of capital initiative seems out of place in a school district as dysfunctional as LAUSD, and in a state as bankrupt as California.

Now the district has to rethink its security after laying out more cash than most school districts see in a year for what turned into e-toys for the students.  How much more money will that cost, and how long will those solutions last?  Don’t ask Deputy Superintendent Jaime Aquino, who ran this particular project and has headed up LAUSD’s Common Core project, as he’s bailing out of LAUSD by the end of the year. Hope he had fun spending their money first.