The recap: this February, parents of children in the Lower Merion
, Pennsylvania high schools brought suit against the district, claiming that their children had been issued laptops with enabled webcameras without their knowledge
, and that the school district had used those cameras to take thousands of pictures
without student or parent consent or awareness.
The update: federal prosecutors have announced that they will not be pressing criminal charges against the school district, saying that no evidence of criminal intent was found.
This February, parents of Lower Marion
high school students brought suit against the school district
for covertly spying on students using the webcameras of school issued MacBooks
. The LMSD said that the cameras, equipped with remote access software, were simply a security feature to be used in the case that the laptops were stolen or misplaced. Parents say that they were never informed about this possible use of the cameras, and that some were activated without the computer being reported lost. Michael and Holly Robbins
found out about the cameras when pictures from their son's computer were used as evidence
in disciplinary action against him. Now comes the information that the webcams took "thousands" of secret pictures of students in their homes.
Last week we reported on allegations that the Lower Merion School
district of Pennsylvania was covertly spying on its students
using the embedded webcameras in school-issued laptops. The surveillance capabilities of the cameras were only discovered when student Blake Robbins
was threatened with disciplinary action for "improper behavior at home." The evidence against him was a picture, taken without his knowledge, from the webcam of his laptop.
His family's attorney has come forward and explained exactly what Robbins was doing that was so improper. Turns out, he was eating Mike and Ike
The school district of Lower Merion, Pennsylvania is being sued by parents for allegedly using the embedded webcams of school-issued laptops to invade the privacy of students.
School officials claim that the cameras were intended to be used only in the event that a laptop was lost or stolen, in order to facilitate its location and retrieval. However, parents and students were never informed that the school district had the ability to remotely activate and use the webcams in the computers. Michael and Holly Robbins, parents and plaintiffs in the suit, say they found out about the cameras' functionality when information from their son's webcam was used as evidence in disciplinary action against him.
The school district has released statements saying that the webcamera tracking software has been deactivated and will not be reactivated without "express written notification to all students and families."