Feds open school spycam probe
MacBook snoop row
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is opening a probe into allegations that a US high school used laptop cameras to monitor students.
The investigation is the result of a class action suit filed last week against Lower Merion School District.
School student Blake Robbins was told last November he had been accused of "improper behavior in his home" - and the evidence for this behaviour was a photograph of him in his bedroom taken via his laptop's camera.
Feds, speaking anonymously, told CNN it was investigating to see if wiretap or computer intrusion laws had been broken.
The school offers pupils MacBooks as part of its "21st Century Learning Initiative". On Friday the school said it had appointed lawyers to look at its past and present laptop policies.
It said while its investigation continued: "We caution people to not reach unsupported conclusions. Important issues like these often generate misinformation and unjustified speculation. This situation is no exception.
"We ask that any conclusions be reserved until all of the facts are developed. Thank you.”
The school insisted that accessing student laptop cameras only happened on 42 occasions when the machines were reported lost or stolen, and that such access was logged.
It said that no high school administrator could, or had, accessed the security software in order to monitor or photograph a pupil at home as part of a disciplinary action.
But the school accepted that no notice was given to pupils that such a security feature was enabled on their machines and that it should have been. ®
I've been following this with above average level of interest. The kid and his family were actually on TV. The "inappropriate behavior" was "selling / using pills". The kid counters he was eating candy.
Oddly it is still unclear if anyone has seen the picture or if the vice-principle only reported seeing it. Also unknown how the "selling" part of the story came to pass; no one has inferred another person was in the picture. Most likely inference here seems not a "picture" at all but a video complete with audio. Also if we follow that line of reasoning it is quite possible the kid did what he is accused of doing. But right now the school has both the state and feds lined up with about 10 first degree felony charges. I am certain both state and feds very passionately want this matter to go away as it's never good to prosecute one of your own. But as there is no honor among thieves you can bet they will hang the whole school board out to dry if the media won't let this rest.
Overall the "defense" of "the camera's are only used to find lost / stolen laptops" seems a direct contradiction and complete non-starter with the part where the parents were notified by the vice principle of the violation. Perhaps noteworthy, on other boards I read numerous people claiming to have seen a TV show where a school bragged of their ability to spy on students with the web cams.
So it may be possible, albeit at the very edge of credibility that the suit was made up based on the TV show and the vice-principle never contacted the parents at all. This is probably stretched past the breaking point by the fact the vice-principle in question seems to have crawled in a hole and then pulled said hole in after himself.
It is probably a good time to <editorialize> All US vice-principles are power mad and more than mildly evil. So if anyone had spare time on his hands and a penchant for nefarious activity there is little need to look to a less upstanding member of society than a vice-principle </editorialize>
Personally, not that you asked, but I believe the story went down exactly as reported and the school, in the person of this and likely other vice-principles, made a routine habit of watching web cams looking for just this sort of activity. [I will leave out peado references, feel free to add your own.] The problem is that they never fully considered what they would do once they hit this "pay dirt".
As the old saying goes, now they got the tiger by the tail. This promises to be very very interesting.
Have they explained how...
...they have proof of him doing something inappropriate in his own bedroom when they have only monitored stolen PCs?
I am tired of the attitude displayed by some (many?) school administrators and even teachers that since they are in the noble profession of molding the minds of the next generation that somehow they are above the law.
The Bill of Rights seems to be something they teach, not something they follow.
Somebody needs to spend time in prision for this.