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.
- Snowden leaks erode trust in Internet companies, government
- NSA phone metadata collection program renewed for 90 days
- NSA isn't evil, says noted civil libertarian
- Franken presses Ford on location data collection practices
- Justices let stand appeals court decision on border searches of laptops
- California lawmakers move to bar state help to NSA
- Appeals court again nixes Google's bid to overturn Street View case
- Older Mac webcams can spy without activating warning light
- Update: Judge rules NSA spy efforts may be unconstitutional
- Perspective: Privacy concerns could keep Amazon delivery drones grounded
- Radicati: Cloud Business Email - Market Quadrant 2013 Google was named the top cloud business email provider in a recent report by research firm Radicati. Out of 14 key players, Google...
- Tablets in the Enterprise: A Checklist for Successful Deployment How can you enterprise manage and secure tablets in order to protect corporate data while providing access to the information and applications employees...
- Enterprise Mobility: A Checklist for Secure Containerization The advantages and disadvantages of the multiple approaches to containerization. Learn More>>
- Enterprise File Sync & Share Checklist File sync and share has changed the way people work and collaborate in today's tech-savvy world. Gone are the email roadblocks, clunky FTP...
- Live Webcast LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy... All Security White Papers | Webcasts