Jon sez, "Back in February Lower Merion School District found themselves in a world of uncomfortableness when they got outed for remotely spying on their own students. [ed: Not just remotely spying; the district mandated that students had to use school-issued laptops running secret spyware that covertly activated the webcam to take thousands of still photos of students and their families on and off campus (including sleeping and undressed students). The spyware was designed to run without displaying any sign that the camera had been activated.]
Now they've settled. Two of the student's got a payout - one to the tune of $175k. But the real winner, of course, are the lawyers who're walking away with more than three quarters of the settlement. Also, it seems the only reason the School District decided to settle now
was that their insurer came to the party and cover the school's legal fees - otherwise they'd still be slugging it out in court. Way to go, District."
On the plus side, the District has abandoned its use of spyware.
"A major impetus behind settling this matter now is the recent agreement by our insurance carrier, Graphic Arts, to cover more than $1.2M of the fees and costs associated with this litigation to date," Lower Merion School Board President David Ebby said in a statement.
School District Settles Webcam Spying Litigation
"Although we would have valued the opportunity to finally share an important, untold story in the courtroom, we recognize that in this case, a lengthy, costly trial would benefit no one," he said. "It would have been an unfair distraction for our students and staff and it would have cost taxpayers additional dollars that are better devoted to education. We also wanted to be sensitive to the welfare of the student involved in the case, given the possible ramifications of what would have been a highly-publicized trial."
According to the suit, the district gave high school students computers as part of a technology initiative, but did not notify families that the laptops were equipped with Webcams that could be turned on remotely. The Robbins family alleged they did not learn of the capability until school officials accused their son Blake of "improper behavior in his home" and cited a photograph from the Webcam embedded in the laptop as evidence.
Motion for Sanctions (PDF)
Thinkgeek’s $150 Bluetooth Communicators are based on 3D scans of a prop communicator; pair it with your phone and clip it to your belt: when you get a ring, the psychedelic hypno-disc in the middle will spin prettily, flick it open and start talking.
Eye-Fi makes clever wifi hotspots in the shape of SD cards; your camera sees them as SD cards but you can mount them on your network and automatically feed the images captured by your camera to a nearby laptop. But to make all this work with some models, you need an account on “Eye-Fi Center,” […]
Kyle writes, “The Volt is a fully open source, arduino-based, handmade analog clock that tells time with meters. Available in a DIY install kit, 2 pre-made models, and a mix & match hardware option. The clocks are but with solid black walnut and maple, with faceplates produced in brass, copper, and steel. Only on Kickstarter!”
The realm of web development is constantly evolving. New platforms, languages, and processes materialize all the time, so staying on top of all that innovation is a tall order.Whether you’re brushing up on new tricks, starting from scratch, or just looking to make your own website a little jazzier, Rob Percival’s new Complete Web Developer Course 2.0 (now […]
Folks used to rely on alarms to protect their home – and before that, the family dog. Now, anyone looking to guard their homes can choose from some high-tech options, including the Amaryllo iCamPRO FHD Home Security Camera (now just $219 in the Boing Boing Store).In fact, this 2015 CES “Best of Innovation” award-winner boasts so many features, it’s […]
If you want a quality vaping experience, it’s usually going to cost you. Vaporizers that deliver a fast, controlled burn will set you back up to $300, which is why the FEZ Vaporizer (now just $99) is an absolute steal.The FEZ dry herb pen does everything that more expensive models handle at a reduced price. It heats up […]