ROSEMONT, PA (NBC) A Philadelphia-area school official confronted a student with photographic evidence that he was doing bad things at home. She got her evidence by activating the webcam on the laptop in his house, a lawsuit claims.
Lower Merion School District officials are spying on students and their families inside their homes with Web cameras installed in pupil laptops, claims Blake J. Robbins in a lawsuit against the district.
The lawsuit, filed Feb. 11, alleges that webcams in personal laptops -- that are issued to every high school student -- can be, and have been, remotely activated by school administrators without a person in the same room as the laptop being the wiser.
How did Robbins and his family find out administrators could spy on them?
On Nov. 11, Harriton High School Assistant Principal Lindy Matsko told the teen that he "was engaged in improper behavior in his home," and showed Robbins photographic evidence from his webcam, according to the suit.
Upon hearing about the incident, Robbins' father, Michael Robbins, got confirmation from Matsko that the school district does in fact have the ability to remotely activate any of the students' webcams at any time -- even if the computer is not being used.
"Occasionally a green light would go on your computer which would kind of give you the feeling that somebody's watching you," Harriton High School student Drew Scheier told NBC Philadelphia.
Superintendent Christopher McGinley boasts of the laptop program on the districts' site, saying that it "ensures that all students have 24/7 access to school-based resources." But administrators never told students or their families that district officials had "24/7 access" into their homes at the same time, according to the lawsuit.
Copyright 2010 NBC. All rights reserved.