February 24, 2010

Lower Merion School District Recovered 18 Computers

The parents of a student named Blake Robbins are now taking the boy's school to Federal court for this alleged invasion of their son's privacy.

But the school district, Lower Merion, insists that the web cams have been activated 42 times but is was always because of a report that the computer's were missing, and the security measure has helped 18 computers be recovered.

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, and 18 laptops were reportedly found this way by the Lower Merion school district.

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

Blake's parents are now suing over this apparent invasion of privacy. 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 Recovered 18 Computers

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 Recovered 18 Computers

Posted at February 24, 2010 5:59 AM