CCTV surveillance and Rudd laptops

CCTV surveillance and Rudd laptops

Summary: This week tackles whether multitudes of video surveillance cameras and students with free government laptops are a good thing.


This week tackles whether multitudes of video surveillance cameras and students with free government laptops are a good thing.

Law-and-order politicians love video cameras, and we've got more CCTV cameras than ever before. We're told they stop crime, but do they? And at what cost?

On this week's Patch Monday we speak with security consultant Crispin Harris, co-author of the soon-to-be-published paper Information overload: CCTV, your networks, communities and crime.

Meanwhile, some high school students have been getting their new laptops courtesy of the Rudd Government's Digital Education Revolution.

One 15-year-old student has told Patch Monday it was easy to break out of the security lockdown, install software and access the school's server. Combine that with the possibility of a student bringing an infected laptop onto the school network. Are we looking at a security disaster waiting to happen?

Plus we bring you Stilgherrian's idiosyncratic summary of the week's IT news — everything you would have read yourself if you weren't so busy.

Patch Monday now also accepts your audio comments. Either Skype to "stilgherrian", or phone Sydney 02 8011 3733.

Topics: Laptops, Mobility, Security


Stilgherrian is a freelance journalist, commentator and podcaster interested in big-picture internet issues, especially security, cybercrime and hoovering up bulldust.

He studied computing science and linguistics before a wide-ranging media career and a stint at running an IT business. He can write iptables firewall rules, set a rabbit trap, clear a jam in an IBM model 026 card punch and mix a mean whiskey sour.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Windows Administrator Access

    I have not personally had a chance to use one of the "Ruddbooks", but I would like to point out that all Windows passwords are vulnerable to (very fast, 15 mins-ish) cracking by rainbow tables just with just physical access to the hard drive that Windows is installed on. I wouldn't rule out the chance that the netbooks do actually have a password set for the "Administrator" account and that it could be recovered and somehow used to wreak havoc on the whole network (since they are all built from the same images). I have some semi-private PDF format operational manuals for the NSW DET system if you are interested. It may reveal potential security issues.
  • Yes please, contact me!

    Yes, Dear Anonymous Commenter, all information gratefully received, and anonymity respected. My contact details are at or leave a message on 02 8011 3733 leaving your email address.
  • CCTV Cams

    I was speaking to a man in Marrickville the other day. His apartment block had been broken into. Twice in one night the thieves got into the underground car park and stole push bikes and a few cars while damaging other cars. The whole thing was captured on video. The police said, that's good, but we are a bit busy at the moment to chase up on these thieves.
  • Link broken!

    The mail you sent me did not contain the link you thought it would. : Please try again.
  • CCTV paper now online

    The paper "Information overload: CCTV, your networks, communities and crime" by Crispin Harris and Dr Vandra Harris is now online at,%20communities%20and%20crime.pdf