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Lawsuit against District School for Installing Spyware on Students’ Laptop

Lower Merion School District, a district school in the US, deployed webcams on laptops distributed by it to students so that it could apparently monitor the activities of students when they were at home. This resulted in catching students and their families off guard and in compromising circumstances, one of the students' families alleged while filing a legal suit.

The suit is apparently based on a complaint filed by Blake Robbins, a student of the minor high school, together with his parents filed, as reported by Free Republic on February 17, 2010. The family alleges that there was hidden software in the students' laptops with which the district authorities silently activated the computers' Web cameras.

Blake's parents stated that the first time they became aware of their son's laptop being spied in November 2009. At that time, a School official accused Blake of not behaving properly at home and presented a photo clicked by Blake's laptop, as reported by Computer World on February 18, 2010.

When Blake's parent Michael Robbins tried to confirm about the incident from Ms. Matsko (Assistant Principal), he found that the school authorities had indeed remotely turned on the webcams fitted to the students' laptops. Consequently, they could anytime view as well as seize images of whatever happened inside the students' rooms. However, this was done in the absence of webcam user's knowledge or approval, the suit alleged, as reported by Computer World on February 18, 2010.

Blake's parents further claimed that no advance information came to them from the district that it could activate the laptop Webcam of their son remotely. They further claimed that the documents from the School District didn't talk about the functionality; neither did its website make any mention.

Besides, the lawsuit alleges that the School District intruded into the family's privacy and stole confidential details via Blake's computer-fitted Webcam. The Robbins thus charged the School District of breaching the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act along with other state and federal laws like the Pennsylvania Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act.

The family filed the lawsuit against Lower Merion, the 9-membered Board of Directors of the School District, and Christopher W. McGinley, the Superintendent.

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