School districts across the country are supplying students with laptops for students to use both at school and home.
Unfortunately, one school district has decided to use the laptops as a means of invading the privacy of the students and their families. It is alleged that the Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania , used the embedded camera as a way to monitor the behavior and activities of students.
According to TechNewsWorld:
What sparked the discovery was Assistant Principal Lindy Matsko’s assertion in early November that Harriton High School student Blake Robbins had been “engaging in improper behavior in his home,” the filing explains. Matsko allegedly used as evidence of that behavior a photograph taken by the webcam in Robbins’ computer.
Robbins’ father then confirmed with the school that the district had the ability to remotely activate the webcams in the laptops it gives its students. Documentation accompanying the laptops, the family charged, made no reference to that ability.
“As the laptops at issue were routinely used by students and family members while at home, it is believed and therefore averred that many of the images captured and intercepted may consist of images of minors and their parents or friends in compromising or embarrassing positions, including, but not limited to, in various stages of dress or undress,” the filing states.
The functionality to monitor computer use as discussed in this article is not unusual, and is well known to those who use their employer’s computers. What makes unusual is the use of the webcam to capture images of the user, without prior notice, whether or not the user is at the keyboard.
As I write this I keep looking at my own webcam staring at me. I never use it, but can’t help but think what it could capture if someone had control over it…