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School Issued Laptop Webcams Spying On Kids At Home

Parent Category: News
Created on Friday, 19 February 2010 Published Date Written by Chris Jarvis

As laptops become more common in schools, the technology available to those computers may pose threats you'd never think of. What about the faculty of a school which issues laptops to their students then using the technology available to watch the students at home, without their knowledge. Just how far are we going in this country in our attempt to watch everyone, even illegally, just so we can catch someone doing something wrong. Believe it or not, this very situation has created a class action lawsuit in Pennsylvania...

 

Pennsylvania: A Lower Merion family has set off a furor among students, parents, and civil liberties groups by alleging that Harriton High School officials used a webcam on a school-issued laptop to spy on their 15-year-old son at home.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court, the family said the school's assistant principal had confronted their son, told him he had "engaged in improper behavior in [his] home, and cited as evidence a photograph from the webcam embedded in [his] personal laptop issued by the school district."

The suit contends the Lower Merion School District, one of the most prosperous and highest-achieving in the state, had the ability to turn on students' webcams and illegally invade their privacy.

While declining to comment on the specifics of the suit, spokesman Douglas Young said the district was investigating. "We're taking it very seriously," he said last night.

Court Filing: Robbins v. Lower Merion School District (PDF)

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