More details have come to light in the case of the Lower Merion School District spying on its students with covert laptop webcam software. The school district of the affluent Philadelphia suburb issued mandatory laptops to its students, each one loaded with software that could covertly activate the laptops' webcams, supposedly as a security measure to help recover stolen laptops). Students were required to carry and use the laptops, forbidden from using their own computers in school, and prohibited from modifying the software on their machines.
The school claims that it only activated the webcam spying software on rare occasions, but this is contested by parents. One student, Blake Robbins, was called in for a disciplinary meeting for "popping pills" while at home (Robbins says he was eating Mike & Ike's candies). The revelation that the school had been watching him remotely resulted in a parent lawsuit.
Now, the parents' lawyer says that "thousands" of covert photos and screenshots were taken in students' homes. These photos included students in various states of undress, sleeping, and partaking in other private activities. Shown below, a photo of Blake Robbins sleeping, covertly captured by his school laptop, released by the family's lawyer.
"Discovery to date has now revealed that thousands of webcam pictures and screen shots (.pdf) have been taken from numerous other students in their homes, many of which never reported their laptops lost or missing," attorney Mark Haltzman wrote in a Thursday federal court filing...
School District Allegedly Snapped Thousands of Student Webcam Spy Pics
The lawsuit said the administrator, who has been placed on paid leave, "invokes the Fifth Amendment to every question asked of her, including a question asked as to whether she had ever downloading (sic) pictures to her own computer, including pictures of students who were naked while in their home."
In February, the Lower Merion School District deactivated the webcam-tracking program secretly lodged on 2,300 student laptops.
Robbins v Lower Merion School District filing (PDF)
Way back in 2011, major American automakers were slow to realize that “companies in Silicon Valley have for some time been looking at cars just like another mobile device or app.” When the disruption, hit, it hit hard, writes Nick Bilton:
This is NASA’s new “space fabric” in development at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Founded in 1970 as Xerox’s R&D division, PARC was a dream factory that brought the world laser printing, Ethernet, the graphical user interface that led to Windows and the Macintosh, ubiquitous computing, and many other technologies that we now take for granted. Why made the place so damn special? Alan Kay, who pioneered networked computing […]
Yeah, Bluetooth audio is pretty common these days, so why should you care about these earbuds? Look how happy that woman up above looks. She’s got FRESHeBUDS in. Boom. There’s your reason. She’s also at the beach and it appears to be a very nice day.But for the sake of promotion, wireless earbuds are fast becoming the […]
“Gets stuff done,” is a good way to be described by anybody. Especially by coworkers or bosses. Because whether you’re in finance or a children’s librarian, stuff needs to get done. But how do you make sure stuff gets done? You definitely can’t do all the stuff yourself, unless your company/organization/government office consists entirely of you. And […]
Even the most expensive pair of hi-fi headphones can’t match the feeling of bass rumbling through your body at a live show. That’s why music aficionados designed The Basslet, an accessory that reproduces that sensation from your wrist. Does it make your whole body shake with deep subs? Not really, because that would be terrifying, but […]