Surely by now you’ve heard about the high school student suing Philadelphia’s Lower Merion School District for remotely accessing his webcam. And maybe you read the Superintendent’s response and thought, “well, maybe this whole business is getting blown out of proportion.” It isn’t.
According to a Washington Post report from early this morning, the school district has admitted to remotely activating its laptops’ webcams forty-two times over the last 2 years. Now the FBI is involved, looking into whether the school district violated any wiretapping or computer-privacy laws in the process.
The school district maintains that the webcams were only accessed in efforts to retrieve stolen or lost laptops, but this whole mess stems from the punishment of a student in which a webcam shot, snapped while the student was in his home, was cited as evidence of wrongdoing. The extent to which the school abused its ability to access the webcams isn’t quite clear at this point, but the original incident makes the school’s defence about using them strictly as a security measure pretty hard to believe. [Washington Post]