Big (Brother) Principal is watching you !

FBI Looking into Claims of Webcam Spying at Pennsylvania School

Monday, 22 Feb 2010

By Laura Ingle

(Fox News) – The FBI has opened an investigation into whether any federal wiretap or computer intrusion laws were violated when a Pennsylvania school allegedly remotely activated the webcam on a school-issued laptop computer belonging to a 15-year-old student, Fox News reported Monday.

FBI Looking into Claims of Webcam Spying at Pennsylvania School

Last week, a federal civil rights lawsuit was filed against the Lower Merion School District, its board of directors and the superintendent for allegedly violating the privacy of the Harriton High School student.

In November, Blake Robbins was called to the vice principal’s office to discuss what she called his “improper behavior” at home. Vice Principal Lindy Matsko allegedly cited as evidence a photograph taken with the computer’s webcam that had been activated in Robbins’ bedroom. Robbins said Matsko claimed the photograph showed him selling drugs, but the student says he was just holding his favorite candy, “Mike And Ikes.”

All Lower Merion School District students and their parents were required to sign waivers detailing rules for taking home the laptops. However, the paperwork did not include a disclosure saying the school district had the ability to remotely activate the laptops’ webcams.

School district officials say the only time they ever turn on the webcams is when one of the school-issued laptops have been reported lost, stolen or missing. The officials concede that the wording in the laptop policy was not sufficient but insist that they never spied on students. Lower Merion officials say they turned on the cameras 42 times in the past 14 months, which helped them recover 28 missing laptops.

The Lower Merion School District issued a statement Friday to parents and students, saying the webcams have been deactivated while a thorough review of the case moves forward.

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