Sunday, February 21, 2010

Welcome to Lower Merrion School District...

where school officials are f*#ked. Why? Because it seems school officials did not think it was important to notify students and parents that school officials could remotely access the webcams of the school district issued laptops that every student received. Think that "security system" has been kept on the R. Kelly? In fact, federal prosecutors have issued subpoenas to get to the bottom of this fiasco in an upscale suburban school district near Philly.

School district officials say the system that allows them to remotely turn on the webcams and view images is used only when a laptop is reported stolen or missing. Most of its 2,300 high school students have been issued these laptops and are allowed to take them home. A lawsuit by a district student helped bring this matter to light.

The suit alleges that in November, the Harriton assistant principal confronted sophomore Blake Robbins with a photo of what school officials saw as the boy's "improper activity" - taken by the webcam of his school-issued laptop in his home.

Robbins told TV crews outside his home yesterday that a school laptop's webcam had photographed him eating Mike & Ike candy in his home, but that school officials thought it showed him using drugs.

Young continued to assert yesterday that the only time such photos were taken was when a computer was reported lost or taken. The Robbins family, in a court filing yesterday, said Blake Robbins had been using a school laptop "that was neither reported lost or stolen."

School District spokesman Douglas Young had this to say:

"There was no specific notification given that described the security feature," Young said. "That notice should have been given, and we regret not giving it. That . . . was a significant mistake."

Uh...You think? This is just stupid. You want to be able to track a laptop, put a lowjack in it. Allowing the webcam to be remotely accessed is just plain stupid. We're guessing the district tech guy who came up with this "security feature" spends a good deal of his time in internet chat rooms.

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