Feds: No charges in school laptop-spying case

A school accused of spying on students through remote-activated webcams will not be charged.
A school accused of spying on students through remote-activated webcams will not face criminal charges.

No criminal charges will be filed against a suburban Philadelphia school district that secretly snapped tens of thousands of webcam photographs and screen shots on laptops issued to students.

The FBI and federal prosecutors announced Aug. 17 that they could not prove any criminal wrongdoing by Lower Merion School District employees.

“We have not found evidence that would establish beyond a reasonable doubt that anyone involved had criminal intent,” U.S. Attorney Zane D. Memeger said in a statement.…Read More

Students to see photos snapped in Pa. webcam ‘spying’ case

Students in two suburban Philadelphia high schools will be allowed to view photographs taken by their school-issued laptops, and they may preview them first before deciding which images their parents may see, Computerworld reports. In a court order issued May 14, U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Thomas Rueter said that certified letters would be sent to students who had been photographed when their Apple MacBooks’ cameras had been activated by IT personnel of Lower Merion School District. Lower Merion was sued in mid-February by Michael and Holly Robbins, and their teenage son Blake, a high school student at Harriton High School, after an assistant principal accused Blake of selling drugs and taking pills, and used a snapshot taken by his computer as evidence. Robbins claimed the pictures showed him eating candy. The district took more than 30,000 photographs using the students’ webcams, and another 27,000 screenshots using software designed to track lost, missing, or stolen laptops, according to a report commissioned by Lower Merion. That report laid most of the blame on the district’s IT staff for the excessive photo taking using its LANrev software. According to the report, 76 different student laptops were told to capture photographs and screenshots in the last two school years. The letters, which will also be mailed to affected students’ parents or guardians, will indicate the date of webcam activations, and the number of photographs and screenshots taken by each student’s computer. But the teenagers will be shown the images before parents…

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