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High School Sued For Spying On Students With Laptop Cameras

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posted on Feb, 20 2010 @ 02:55 PM
reply to post by ModernAcademia

The ability has been in place for sometime. A persons cellphone, the cable or satellite TV box, Onstar, and GPS devices can also be activated remotely and used as ways to keep tabs on you. Even the new HD TV's are capable of SENDING as well as receiving. Don't believe, take one apart and check the circuit yourself.

posted on Feb, 20 2010 @ 03:09 PM
Consider this possibility...

As a previous poster mentioned, kids are quite savvy about computer operation. Many of them must have known that when the green light comes on, someone is watching or taping.

Knowing this, they, or their parents, decide to test out the system, with the full knowledge that what is being done is illegal. They set a scenario up where their child is holding up candies and saying something like, "ah, my favorite drug". Then they sit back and wait for the bait to be taken.

Result, full blown class action suit with good chance to win big money.

I would applaud them for outsmarting the system.

posted on Feb, 20 2010 @ 04:09 PM

Originally posted by Rapacity
This is the vilest form of spying I have ever heard of. I never thought "respected" people of authority would stoop so low. This is an invasion of privacy beyond anything gone before us. These children were used as a conduit of the window into the homes that local governments have been denied through other legal channels. I am appalled. Do you remember what you did when you were a teenager? What you did in your private moments? And what about their families? I hope the people who authorized and enacted these peep shows are jailed for the remainder of their lives. Sickening.

Another news source states:

The issue came to light when the Robbins's child was disciplined for "improper behavior in his home" and the Vice Principal used a photo taken by the webcam as evidence.
(visit the link for the full news article)

[edit on 18/2/10 by Rapacity]

How did the VP possibly think that he could get away with showing that photo? What, nobody's gonna catch on to "Oh wait, what's he doing with that photo"?

Insane and disgusting.

[edit on 20-2-2010 by Kashia_the_rainmaker]

posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 04:29 PM

Originally posted by ConcernedBrother
My brother goes to the school mentioned in the above article, Harriton High School. I'd like to summarize what happened since there's a lot of rumors floating about on other sites, not sure about this one. The kid in question, named Blake, partook in an “illegal” action. Not that I care, since the activation of the camera is a complete violation of rights. He was smoking pot and the reason they claim they activated the camera is because they had suspicion he was dealing drugs. Which is a stupid excuse, considering he isn’t a drug dealer, and also that gives them no right. Besides, it’s pot. Not a big deal. But anyway they took a snapshot of him blazing and used it to interrogate him or what have you. I’ve borrowed my brother’s laptop as well a few times and noticed the camera would randomly turn on. As in the green light would turn on, on the apple laptop. I didn’t think much of it since I knew no one would be sick enough to spy on underage kids. However, I was obviously wrong. This camera has also turned on when my brother has been undressing to take a shower, since the laptop is open when he listens to music, when showering. Federal money payed for the laptops (go figure). This same high school charges at least $20 just to get a parking pass.

This is a very important post because this person allegedly knows someone who goes to the high school.

Reading all the articles and this thread, I have come to the conclusion that the software was activated for a purpose other than to find a stolen laptop, which is what the school superintendent claimed in this article: FBI Investigates Webcam Spy Allegations Against School.

“While we understand the concerns, in every one of the fewer than 50 instances in which the tracking software was used this school year, its sole purpose was to try to track down and locate a student's computer," he wrote. "While certain rules for laptop use were spelled out - such as prohibitive uses on and off school property - there was no explicit notification that the laptop contained the security software. This notice should have been given and we regret that was not done."

It seems like they suspected he was doing drugs (hence the Mike and Ikes) and were able to remotely access the webcam, without prior permission, to monitor the student without him knowing.

To monitor someone's behavior without them knowing is to SPY on them. They fully intended to use the software to catch the kid in the act and spy on him in the process. They were not using the software to find stolen laptops. They were using the software to spy on the student for an indeterminate amount of time.

There are plenty of computer programs available that can help recover stolen laptops without using a camera, so there is no excuse for the school policy to be to remotely activate the cameras.

I also find it disturbing that the students and parents were not informed that the cameras could be activated remotely.

It is also disturbing that in this case, the laptop had not even been stolen! It seems pretty arbitrary to me that they would choose to go through these methods to catch one particular student that they suspected of doing drugs, for whatever reason.

[edit on 21-2-2010 by Albastion]

posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 05:06 PM
yeah, this is just a disgusting thing... This violates these kids right to privacy... They have no right to spy on kids like that in their own home...

Now the FBI has announced they are going to investigate... Not surprised by that

posted on Feb, 24 2010 @ 11:02 PM
They deny doing it. No one believes them. Hmmm did they do it? Of course they did, or they wouldn't be saying things like oh we turn on the cameras to find lost or stolen computers. When their justifications failed they into full denial mode. But I must say they don't transition from half truth to full lie with the panache of our great Kenyan overlord. You see he'll just transition like that's what he's been saying all along, not pause and the say no. I think he only did that once or twice.

The school board and the upper management of the school should be fired. They can live in one of those tent cities everyone ignores.

posted on Feb, 26 2010 @ 05:42 PM
A new article was just published on this, showing that it is more widespread than just the occurances in PA.
This article is based on the Frontline documentary "Digital Nation".
In short, the administration proudly shows off their capability. Note the time in the article, clearly after school hours.

NY School Spying

posted on Feb, 26 2010 @ 06:56 PM
hang on, they say that by been able to remotly access the webcam they will be able to locate a stolen laptop? Where is the logic in this, if the laptop has been stolen and is sitting in someones room the person watching the video feed won't have a hope in hell of finding it. Damn smoke screen answer if you ask me. They have obviously installed this capability in order to monitor students, as they have done.

I hope the FBI throws the book at those involved

posted on Mar, 7 2010 @ 04:51 PM
reply to post by wheresthetruth

Here's that documentary Digital Nation:

posted on Mar, 7 2010 @ 05:03 PM
reply to post by BalderAsir

they say that by been able to remotely access the web-cam they will be able to locate a stolen laptop? Where is the logic in this

you know those pictures in yearbooks do serve more than one purpose.

I am sure, they were flipping through the yearbook frantically looking for what they would call "perps".

posted on Apr, 16 2010 @ 12:10 PM
Thought I'd update this thread with the newest "news" on this subject, ...

Lawyer: Laptops Took Thousands of Images

The system that Lower Merion school officials used to track lost and stolen laptops wound up secretly capturing thousands of images, including photographs of students in their homes,
More than once, the motion asserts, the camera on Robbins' school-issued laptop took photos of Robbins as he slept in his bed. Each time, it fired the images off to network servers at the school district.

Back at district offices, the Robbins motion says, employees with access to the images marveled at the tracking software. It was like a window into "a little LMSD soap opera," a staffer is quoted as saying in an e-mail to Carol Cafiero, the administrator running the program.

"I know, I love it," she is quoted as having replied.

So , apparently the people who were allowed to see the images taken routinely looked at the images, and quite frequently I would guess for them to consider the pictures like "a soap opera".

Why didn't these people think that what they were doing was wrong?

Soooo wrong!

This laptop computer took around 400 pictures of one student alone, ...

In the filing, the Penn Valley family claims the district's records show that the controversial tracking system captured more than 400 photos and screen images from 15-year-old Blake Robbins' school-issued laptop during two weeks last fall, and that "thousands of webcam pictures and screen shots have been taken of numerous other students in their homes."

And then there's this, ...

U.S. District Judge Jan E. DuBois has ordered all parties in the case to meet by Tuesday, the latest step toward a settlement. Meanwhile, federal and county investigators are examining whether the laptop security program violated any laws.

Well, if it didn't, then I think they need to add a new law to their books!

[edit on 4/16/2010 by Keyhole]

posted on Apr, 16 2010 @ 12:41 PM
Thanks Keyhole for the updates! I almost forgot about this one!

nice work!

posted on Apr, 16 2010 @ 02:29 PM

Originally posted by Keyhole
Thought I'd update this thread with the newest "news" on this subject, ...

Lawyer: Laptops Took Thousands of Images

The system that Lower Merion school officials used to track lost and stolen laptops wound up secretly capturing thousands of images, including photographs of students in their homes,

Thanks for the update.

So much for the claim that the remote activation of the cameras was only used to track lost or stolen computers

edit: fixing quote tags

[edit on 4/16/2010 by americandingbat]

posted on Apr, 16 2010 @ 02:38 PM
Absolutely no need for a webcam for learning purposes...none.

Why did they do it? They are evil...the same people destroyed the cirriculum in America in the early '90s. I was a student. The parents did nothing. I went to the school board. The parents did nothing.

Will the parents finally do something? I hope so, because I'm not sure how much more your children can take. Get pissed off, get active, start writing every official you know.

posted on Apr, 17 2010 @ 10:18 AM
Keyhole, you beat me to it, thanks

There's more information at The Register too.

The laptop that lead to this case wasn't even registered as stolen or missing as alleged by the school/education authority:

Robbins' $1,000 laptop was not believed to be missing, so the theft-tracking software never should have been activated, his attorney has argued.

School officials told The Philadelphia Inquirer that the software was turned on because Robbins' family had failed to pay a $55 insurance fee to cover the laptop, so he was not authorized to take it home. They also say there is no evidence to indicate school employees used any of the images inappropriately.

What an example to set the young and impressionable minds of our children.

Absolutely sickening abuse of position and status.

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