Privacy: Lawsuit Alleges School Used Webcams to Lurk in Students’ Homes

Wow. File this under ‘how stupid thoughtless can any one person in a position of absolute power be…’ One school official abuses the built-in webcam access used with anti-theft software [legal malware] which they had packaged onto school laptops… to their own detriment.

  • What sparked the discovery was Assistant Principal Lindy Matsko's assertion in early November that Harriton High School student Blake Robbins had been "engaging in improper behavior in his home," the filing explains. Matsko allegedly used as evidence of that behavior a photograph taken by the webcam in Robbins' computer.
  • The school's actions "constitute Big Brother in the school and home, an egregious infringement of privacy as well as the parents' rights to govern their own children and impose limits," Van Dyke added. "Even though the school administrators' presumed intent was to monitor and protect — e.g., against porn, drugs and online predators — they clearly crossed the line of propriety. Indeed, the administrators themselves became the predators."

Disclaimer for the strong terms: Both my parents are/were lifetime certified educators and/or adminstrators for California… so my opinion of this is that the Forrest Gump rule definitely applies.

Contributing Writer, Securing Our eCity

Author ESET Research, ESET

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