Wednesday 21 February 2018

Parents sue school chiefs over web spying

Tom Leonard in New York

A US schools authority has admitted accessing students' laptops remotely and taking at least 56,000 webcam images without their knowledge.

The Lower Merion School District, which covers a wealthy suburb of Philadelphia, is being sued by parents after its staff activated the computers' tracking software to find 80 laptops that had gone missing over the past two years.

About 38,000 of the images were taken over several months from six computers, stolen from a locker room.

The tracking program took images every 15 minutes and was sometimes left on for weeks or months at a time.

None of the images captured by the tracking system appeared to be salacious or inappropriate, said Henry Hockeimer, a lawyer for the school district. However, he admitted the students should not have been photographed without their consent.

A lawyer for Blake Robbins, a 16-year-old pupil at Harriton High School, said he was photographed 400 times over a 15-day period, sometimes as he slept in bed or was shirtless.

Blake did not know why the district used the software tracking program on his computer as he had not reported it lost or stolen, although his lawyer said he had failed to pay a $55 (€40) insurance fee.

The boy's parents are suing the school district for invading his privacy.

The FBI has opened a criminal investigation. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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