I heard a story about this situation this morning on the TV news as I was getting ready for work, and then I found this AP story about it.
Lower Merion School District in Philadelphia issues laptops to all its high school students, supposedly to help them with their studies and to make sure everyone has appropriate equipment. Turns out, though, school district officials apparently had some other uses in mind.
Come to find out, school district officials were able to remotely activate the Web cams built into the laptops, and through those Web cams, watch and take photos and videos of the students — and their families — as they went about their daily lives in the privacy of their own homes.
All this came to light when an assistant principal called a Harriton High School student to the office to reprimand the student for some kind of “inappropriate behavior” district officials saw the student engaging in at home.
Folks, it is scary (and as our 13-year-old son said, creepy) enough that these people not only could but would spy on these students and their families this way. It is a total invasion of privacy and must surely be illegal. But what makes it even worse, to me, is that a school administrator felt he (or she) had the right to reprimand a student for something the student did in the privacy of his (or her) own home!
I really really really hope there are some criminal charges — not to mention some civil lawsuits — filed over this.