Class-action suit alleges schools remotely activate webcams on school-issued notebooks - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 02-18-2010, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
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An assistant principal at Harriton later confirmed that the district could remotely activate the webcam in students' laptops. "Michael Robbins thereafter verified, through [Assistant Principal] Ms. Matsko, that the school district in fact has the ability to remotely activate the webcam contained in a student's personal laptop computer issued by the school district at any time it chose and to view and capture whatever images were in front of the webcam, all without the knowledge, permission or authorization of any persons then and there using the laptop computer," the lawsuit stated.
I can't believe this. What the heck!! I can't think of an intelligible response!

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#2 of 10 Old 02-18-2010, 05:22 PM
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Oh Wow! That is bad.

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#3 of 10 Old 02-18-2010, 05:47 PM
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They actually show this at a school on PBS' Frontline episode about technology. I'm glad they're suing b/c that kind of micromanagement was freaking me out.

The Frontline episode has the asst. principal spending a good portion of his day remotely monitoring student activity. Using the webcams to spy on them and then also looking at what there were actually doing on their laptops. Creepy.


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#4 of 10 Old 02-18-2010, 08:15 PM
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I can see monitoring what a student is actually doing on the laptop, as it is school property. Many work places do the same thing, especially if they suspect anything hinky happening on their machines.

But activating a camera so you can see the person, and what they are doing is not cool. Person just has to have the laptop on and open and they might not be doing anything at all on the computer at the time, and that is an invasion of privacy.

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#5 of 10 Old 02-18-2010, 09:53 PM
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Maybe there trying to make sure its the correct student doing the work?

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#6 of 10 Old 02-18-2010, 10:57 PM
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That's a huge invasion of privacy. What if the child is in his/her room doing private things, changing, etc.? I agree that school issued laptops should be used only to do homework and other school sanctioned activities, but there's no need to activate the webcam.

Quick fix: Put a piece of black tape over the cam.
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#7 of 10 Old 02-18-2010, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Freud View Post
Quick fix: Put a piece of black tape over the cam.
No doubt. Of course, they'd probably get suspended for that...

Apparently this came about because a student *did* get in trouble for something "indecent" in *his* home that the webcam caught. How insane is that. I would be freaking furious.

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#8 of 10 Old 02-18-2010, 11:23 PM
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What the ...?

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#9 of 10 Old 02-18-2010, 11:32 PM
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My dad emailed me this story because ds has a cyber-school issued laptop. But no webcam. Since they are paying for internet usage and the laptop itself, and we *agreed* that it was only to be used for school when we joined up, I have no problem with them monitoring internet use on that individual computer.

But a webcam looking into our home?
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#10 of 10 Old 02-23-2010, 07:55 PM
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So much for giving students laptops. No thanks. I'll use my own, even if I have to buy it or go to the library to use one. But we homeschool so it's not an issue at all for us. I would feel like my child, my family was being taken advantage of and yes not a little bit angry that our privacy was violated.



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