February 24, 2010

2,300 Harriton High School Students Issued Laptops

A Federal lawsuit is underway now because of a school in Pennsylvania that allegedly spied on its students using the webcams on their laptops.

The lawsuit is brought by the parents of Blake Robbins, one of 2,300 Harriton High School students issued laptops by their school.

The laptops, Macbook Pros, are each equipped wiith special security software that lets them turn on the computer's webcam remotely and view its contents, a feature intended to track laptops that were lost or stolen.

But Blake was called into an office and confronted with a photo of him at home, apparently taken by his laptop's webcam and showing him supposedly taking some sort of pills.

His parents say that first of all he was only eating Mike and Ikes, and secondly it is unethical for the school to be spying on their son this way. It seems clear that the school is in the wrong here, the only question is whether they came upon this photo by accident while checking on a report of a stolen laptop, or were they deliberately using the laptop's security software to spy on kids.

2,300 Harriton High School Students Issued Laptops

A suburban Philadelphia school district used the webcams in school-issued laptops to spy on students at home, potentially catching them and their families in compromising situations, a family claims in a federal lawsuit. Lower Merion School District officials would not comment on the accusation, but angry students have already responded by putting tape on their laptop cameras and microphones. Sophomore Tom Halpern described students as "pretty disgusted" and noted that his class recently read 1984, the George Orwell classic that coined the term "Big Brother..."

2,300 Harriton High School Students Issued Laptops

Posted at February 24, 2010 5:18 AM