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)
I got one of those bug-zapping LED lightbulbs, in hopes of murdering the flies drifting into my office during the increasingly warm and muggy Pennsylvania summer. I got mine from Home Depot, but the bulbs at Lowes, Wal-Mart and Amazon are all obviously identical. There are two lights in each bulb: an ultraviolet one inside […]
Did you buy a useless $400 “smart” juicer and now feel the need to accessorize it with more extrusions from the Internet of Shit timeline? Then The Leaf from Teaforia is just the thing: it’s a tea-maker that uses DRM-locked tea-pods to brew tea in your kitchen so you don’t have to endure the hassle […]
A popular French blogger was killed after a pressurized whipped cream dispenser exploded and struck her in the chest. French media reported she had died of cardiac arrest after the incident, despite medical attention. The popular fitness and travel figure was well-known in France, with some 55,000 Facebook fans and 154,000 followers on Instagram. One […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]