Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Lower Merion School District officials used school-issued laptops — MacBooks — to illegally spy on students, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.
As reported by “The Philadelphia Inquirer” (http://www.philly.com/inquirer/breaking/news_breaking/20100218_Suit__School-issued_laptops_used_to_spy_on_kids_on_Main_Line.html), the suit, filed Tuesday, says unnamed school officials at Harriton High School in Rosemont remotely activated the webcam on a student’s computer last year because the district believed he “was engaged in improper behavior in his home.”
An assistant principal at Harriton confronted the student for “improper behavior” on Nov. 11 and cited a photograph taken by the webcam as evidence. Michael E. and Holly S. Robbins, of Penn Valley, filed the suit on behalf of their son. They’re seeking class action status for the suit, saying the school district violated federal and state wiretapping laws and violated students’ civil rights.
When the MacBooks were distributed to all the district’s 2,290 students, the district did not disclose that it could activate the cameras at any time, the suit alleges, according to the “Inquirer.” Meanwhile, angry students have already responded by putting tape on their laptop cameras and microphones, according to the “Associated Press” (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_laptops_spying_on_students).