comScore Lower Marion School District | No Criminal Charges | The Mary Sue
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No Criminal Charges For Webcam Spying School District

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.

From the Department of Justice Press Release:

“I have concluded that bringing criminal charges is not warranted in this matter,” said [Attorney Zane David Memeger]. “For the government to prosecute a criminal case, it must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person charged acted with criminal intent. We have not found evidence that would establish beyond a reasonable doubt that anyone involved had criminal intent.”

The civil case, Robbins v. Lower Merion School District, is ongoing.  Mark Haltzman, attorney for the plaintiffs, does not believe that the federal ruling will affect his case.

We would have to agree.  Though we have a hard time believing that not one administrator involved in this farcically ill advised apparent anti-theft measure knew the illicit nature of what they were doing, if the FBI couldn’t find evidence of intent we should probably believe them.  And if administrators didn’t understand the grave violations of student privacy that were being made, that would seem to make a civil case for negligence all the stronger.

(via Ars Technica.)

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