Irate parents in Pa. say schools use 'Peeping Tom technology'
FBI investigates, federal prosecutors subpoena documents in MacBook spying case, say reports
Computerworld - The parents of a Pennsylvania high school student have asked a federal judge to bar school district personnel from switching on cameras in school-issued MacBook laptops, calling the security feature "Peeping Tom technology."
Federal officials have also stepped up their investigation of Lower Merion School District of Ardmore, Pa., according to reports published Saturday. The Associated Press said that the FBI was exploring whether district officials broke federal wiretapping and electronic surveillance laws, while the Philadelphia Inquirer cited sources who said federal prosecutors have subpoenaed documents from school officials.
In their motion Friday, Michael and Holly Robbins of Penn Valley, Pa., asked U.S. District Court Judge Jan DuBois to issue a restraining order preventing the district from remotely activating the webcams on student notebooks. They also requested that the judge block the district from recalling the laptops from students, saying that they believe school officials will then wipe the MacBooks' hard drives to delete evidence of any camera activation.
Last week, the Robbins family sued the district, accusing it of spying on students and students' families using the MacBooks' cameras.
Two days after the lawsuit was filed, district officials said they had disabled the camera functionality of a feature designed to locate lost, missing or stolen laptops. However, that wasn't enough for the Robbins, who submitted their Friday motion on behalf of their 16-year-old son, Harriton High School student Blake Robbins.
"There can be no assurances that the School District will disable the use of the remote webcam or, once deactivated, make an internal decision to reactive the webcam," the motion argued.
Elsewhere in the motion, the Robbins labeled the camera functionality "Peeping Tom technology" and disputed the district's assertion that cameras had been activated only when a notebook was reported lost or stolen. "[Blake Robbins] was at home using a school issued laptop that was neither reported lost nor stolen when his image was captured by Defendants without his or his parents' permission and while he was at home," the motion said.
According to the original complaint, Robbins was accused by a Harriton High School assistant principal of "improper behavior in his home" and shown a photograph taken by his laptop as evidence. In an appearance on CBS's Early Show Saturday Edition Robbins said he was accused by the assistant principal of selling drugs and taking pills, but he claimed the pictures taken by his MacBook's camera showed him eating candy.
- NSA defends collecting data from U.S. residents not suspected of terrorist activities
- Groups fear bill would allow free flow of data between private sector and NSA
- Google's move into home automation means even less privacy
- Bill to require warrant for email searches gains ground in House
- Coming soon to a fridge near you -- targeted ads
- Snowden leaks prompt tech firms to tout privacy, transparency policies
- License reader lawsuit can be heard, appeals court rules
- Is EU's 'right to be forgotten' really the 'right to edit the truth'?
- Tails 1.0: A bootable Linux distro that protects your privacy
- Privacy jitters derail controversial K-12 big data initiative
- Combating Identity Theft in a Mobile, Social World Offering identity theft protection and remediation allows businesses to give their workforce the confidence to efficiently engage while bringing financial reward to the...
- After a Breach: Managing Identity Theft Effectively This white paper from LifeLock Business Solutions notes that FIs in addition to managing fraud should strive to turn a negative event for...
- Combating Identity Fraud in a Virtual World This slide presentation reveals findings from the Javelin Strategy & Research 2012 Identity Fraud Report about mobile and social trends, the real risks...
- Troubleshooting Common Issues in VoIP Learn more about Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), including common VoIP metrics used, best practices in VoIP management and tips and tricks for...
- Data Protection and Disaster Recovery with iSCSI and VMware Get this on demand webcast now
- Tips to Simplify Database Administration and Development Make your job easier while getting the most from the leading productivity tool for database professionals. Learn tips from Dell Software's Oracle® ACE,... All Privacy White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!