|Stable release||5.4.2 / August 5, 2011|
|Operating system||Windows, Mac OS X|
|Type||Network management, Systems management, IT automation, Software Asset Management, Mobile Device Management|
Absolute Manage (formerly LANrev) is a systems lifecycle management software for system administrators which automates IT administration tasks. The product is composed of a server and client ("agent") software that runs on Windows and Mac OS X.
Vancouver-based Absolute Software acquired LANrev from Pole Position Software in December 2009, for US$12.1 million in cash and 500,000 shares of Absolute's common stock. LANrev was rebranded as Absolute Manage in February 2010.
School webcam controversy
In the 2010 Robbins v. Lower Merion School District case, plaintiffs charged two suburban Philadelphia high schools secretly spied on students by surreptitiously and remotely activating webcams embedded in school-issued laptops the students were using at home, and therefore infringed on their privacy rights. The schools admitted to secretly snapping over 66,000 webshots and screenshots, including webcam shots of students in their bedrooms.
LANrev software was used in the Lower Merion school district's student laptop program, overseen by network technician Michael Perbix. In February 2010, Perbix and other administrators in the district were accused of using the software to take undisclosed and unauthorized photographs of students through the webcams on their Macintosh laptops. The lawsuit was brought by the parents of 15-year-old sophomore, Blake Robbins, who was allegedly accused of illicit behavior seen through his computer's webcam of him in his bedroom. The photographs, taken from a laptop that was not reported stolen, were then allegedly used as evidence in a disciplinary action. The FBI investigated the incident, and a Philadelphia federal judge intervened to sort out issues relating to the lawsuit.
Perbix had previously praised Theft Track, the name of the feature that lets administrators remotely photograph potential thieves if a computer is reported stolen, noting in a YouTube video he produced that:
It’s an excellent feature. Yes, we have used it, and yes, it has gleaned some results for us. But it, in and of itself, is just a fantastic feature for trying to—especially when you’re in a school environment and you have a lot of laptops and you’re worried about, you know, laptops getting up and missing. I’ve actually had some laptops we thought were stolen which actually were still in a classroom, because they were misplaced, and by the time we found out they were back, I had to turn the tracking off. And I had, you know, a good twenty snapshots of the teacher and students using the machines in the classroom.
LANrev's new owner, Absolute Software staunchly denounced the use of their software for any illegal purpose, emphasizing that theft recovery should be left to law enforcement professionals. They further denied any knowledge of or complicity in either Perbix's or the school district's actions. Absolute stated that the next update of LANrev, which would ship in the next several weeks, would permanently disable Theft Track.
- Faas, Ryan (January 9, 2009). "The Top Five Solutions for Mac/Windows Client Deployment". InformIT. Archived from the original on 4 June 2009. Retrieved June 23, 2009.
- Best, Brian (2008). "Managing Your Loadset, Post-Deploy". MacTech 24 (1). Retrieved June 23, 2009.
- "Absolute Software Acquires LANrev product suite from Pole Position Software" (Press release). Absolute Software. December 3, 2009. Archived from the original on 27 January 2010. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
- [backPid=3&cHash=093df143d9 "Absolute Software Unveils New Cross-Platform IT Asset Management Solution"]. Press Release. February 2, 2010.
- Doug Stanglin (February 18, 2010). "School district accused of spying on kids via laptop webcams". USA Today. Retrieved February 19, 2010.
- "Initial LANrev System Findings", LMSD Redacted Forensic Analysis, L-3 Services – prepared for Ballard Spahr (LMSD's counsel), May 2010. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
- Jeff Porten (February 23, 2010). "School District Faces Lawsuit Over Webcam Spying Claims". PC World. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
- Worden, Amy (February 22, 2010). "Laptop camera snapped away in one classroom | Philadelphia Inquirer | 02/22/2010". Philly.com. Retrieved August 10, 2010.[dead link]
- Font size Print E-mail Share 13 Comments (February 18, 2010). "Suit: Schools Spied on Students Via Webcam". CBS News. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- Claburn, Thomas. "FBI Investigating Web Spycam". InformationWeek. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- Tanfani, Joseph (February 23, 2010). "Rare ban in laptop lawsuit | Philadelphia Inquirer | 02/23/2010". Philly.com. Retrieved August 10, 2010.[dead link]
- "FBI, US Attorney Probing Penn. School District's Computer Spying". Democracynow.org. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- Gregg Keizer (February 22, 2010). "Software maker blasts 'vigilantism' in Pa. school spying case". Computerworld. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
- "LANrev to lose Theft Track feature following Pa. school spying allegations | TR Dojo | TechRepublic.com". Blogs.techrepublic.com.com. February 23, 2010. Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2010.