Saturday, February 20, 2010

High School Accused of Spying on Kids Using School Issued Laptop Webcams

A high school is accused of using a school issued laptop to spy on their kids at home. A student was reportedly confronted with a print out of the image when called in to the office accused of inappropriate behavior.

Parents are understandably upset. The school may have been spying on kids at home in their bedroom. They may have run afoul of various child pornography laws if they activated the camera at the wrong time.

"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.
The district's Apple MacBook laptops have a built-in webcam with a "security feature" that can snap a picture of the operator and the screen if the computer is reported lost or stolen, Young said.

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