Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/13/spycam_school_damages/

Spycam school to pay damages for kiddie snaps

Lawyers rake in most of the cash as laptop camera case ends

By John Oates

Posted in Law, 13th October 2010 08:48 GMT

The US school which used laptop cameras to spy on its students has agreed to pay damages to settle a civil suit brought as a result of the scandal.

The Lower Merion School District in Philadelphia used tracking software from LanRev and laptops' internal cameras to take covert pictures of students.

The school has now agreed to pay $175,000 (£110,000) to Blake Robins, one of the students, $10,000 (£6,300) to Jalil Hassan and $425,000 (£268,000) to their lawyers.

David Ebby, school board president, said the school's insurers had already spent $1.2m (£755,000) on the case.

He said: "Although we would have valued the opportunity to finally share an important, untold story in the courtroom, we recognise that in this case, a lengthy, costly trial would benefit no one. It would have been an unfair distraction for our students and staff and it would have cost taxpayers additional dollars that are better devoted to education."

Ebby also said the school wished to avoid putting the students involved through the pressure of a high-profile trial.

The school admitted taking 58,000 photos of students, their friends and families without their knowledge or consent by using 2,300 MacBooks which were issued to students.

Federal prosecutors decided not to press charges because they found there was no criminal intent.

Full school statement is here. ®