February 24, 2010

Lower Merion School District Activated Web Cams 42 Times

The parents of Blake Robbins are striking back against Big Brother, taking their son's school district to court after they allegedly used his Macbook Pro's webcam to spy on him while he was chilling at home.

The school gave out 2300 laptops to their students, that each had a webcam able to be turned on remotely if it was reported lost or stolen.

But allegedly the school used that security feature to turn on the computer and spy on kids, including Blake Robbins who was calledinto the office and accused of taking drugs based on a photo taken by his laptop's webcam.

The parents are now taking the school to Federal court for this alleged invasion of their son's privacy. The school district, Lower Merion, insists that the wecams have been activiated 42 times but is was always because of a report that the computer's were missing.

The ACLU's office in Pennsylvania has also joined into the laptop privacy battle, siding with the parents and filing a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Robbins.

Lower Merion School District Activated Web Cams 42 Times

Days after the lawsuit was filed, the district acknowledged that the student webcams had been remotely activated 42 times, but only to recover lost or missing laptops. It said the practice was halted last week. District officials have conceded that they erred by failing to inform students and parents that the cameras could be turned on inside their homes without their knowledge. "We're trying to figure out what happened here," Henry Hockeimer, a former federal prosecutor retained by Lower Merion, told Judge DuBois. He said the district has hired computer forensic experts and promised the judge that "nothing would be destroyed" that is relevant to the webcam scandal.

Lower Merion School District Activated Web Cams 42 Times

Posted at February 24, 2010 5:51 AM