Papers released in the case of Robbins v Lower Merion School District show that Harriton High School issued laptops with webcams to all students so that they could work from home. However, the laptops also contained spying software, something the school neglected to mention in their information for students.
The policy only came to light in November last year after one student, Blake Robbins, was called into school and disciplined for "improper behavior in his home" and as evidence the school presented a photograph taken by the webcam.
When his outraged parents called in to confirm this the school said that it routinely monitored students webcams for inappropriate behaviour, according to the court documents.
The parents then filed a class-action lawsuit against the district, charging it with interception of electronic communications under the Electronic Communication Privacy Act, theft of intellectual property under the Computer Fraud Abuse Act, violations of the Stored Communications Act, violations of the Civil Rights Act, invasions of privacy, and violations of the Pennsylvania wiretapping and electronic surveillance act.
"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 lawsuit charges.
If the details of the case are accurate the case could prove very costly indeed for the school district, which has yet to offer an explanation.
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