Did a Philadelphia school spy on its students using school-issued Web cameras?

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

Lower Merion School District officials used school-issued laptop computers to illegally spy on students, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.

The suit, filed Feb. 11, 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 are seeking class action status for the suit.

When the computers were distributed to students, the district did not disclose that it could activate the cameras at any time, the suit alleges.

It claims the school district violated federal and state wiretapping laws and violated students’ civil rights.


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