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Lawsuit Claims School Spied On Students


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25 replies to this topic

#1 Queen-Evie

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 03:26 PM

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9...;show_article=1

The suit claims that built in web cams have been used to spy on students in their homes.
If true, this is a gross invasion of privacy, the high-tech equivalent of someone drilling a peephole in a dressing room wall and watching as people try on clothes.
What business does the school have spying on what students and their families do at home? Answer: none.

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#2 Pandy

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 04:54 PM

That is so incredible. If that is true they better not get away with it. Way to set a precedence, Lower Merion School District. I hope they do not get away with it. How do you punish a school district for something like this? This is a tragic invasion of privacy.

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#3 Bezukhov

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 08:18 PM

"The lawsuit's allegations raise new concerns about school-issued laptops, said an Electronic Freedom Foundation lawyer."


Beware of bureaucrats bearings gifts.

Edited by Bezukhov, 19 February 2010 - 08:19 PM.

To err is Human. To blame it on someone else is even more Human.

#4 rigel

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 08:25 PM

This is a gross abuse of power.

I work for a school district that monitors internal internet and email traffic (No secrets - you sign an acceptable use policy (AUP) before accessing our networks). We would NEVER extend that beyond the scope of our networks. They have 0 ZERO rights entering a students home by electronic means. I could see huge liability issues for the district. What happens if a student changes clothes while the cam is active? Nope, this is not going to fly. I see the district being fined and the school admins / IT Director / Superintendent being jobless and sued before this is over.


What were they thinking??

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#5 groovicus

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 10:00 PM

The new story today on MSNBC was that they only did it on machines that were missing, and they only took snapshots. I suppose then that they would be ok with me peeking in their windows and taking pictures because I suspected that they stole something?

#6 Pandy

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 10:10 PM

hehehe NO way Groovicus :thumbsup: Accuse me outright and prove it or just stifle it. < not what I wanted to say hehe

Spying is spying. Were they imagining they could use snapshots obtained that way in a court of law? What sort of cretin thought that up, I wonder? Didn't anyone say "Are you crazy? We could get in trouble for doing that? It's an invasion of privacy"?

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#7 Queen-Evie

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 11:48 PM

The "only on machines that were missing" doesn't fly with me. They could now be trying to cover their backsides by bringing this up.

According to the article

"The Robbinses said they learned of the alleged webcam images when Lindy Matsko, an assistant principal at Harriton High School, told their son Blake that school officials thought he had engaged in improper behavior at home. The behavior was not specified in the suit."

We don't know if that student had one of the "missing machines". Even if he did, that is no excuse to spy on him or any other person. Also, who died and made the school officials the behavior police? Did they make that call based on what they think is improper behavior? Since the specific incident wasn't mentioned, it could turn out to be something that the student and his parents don't consider improper.

I hope heads will roll over this one.

#8 Bezukhov

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 12:13 AM

Coming soon to a house near you. Or perhaps yours:

Cameras to be placed in British homes.
To err is Human. To blame it on someone else is even more Human.

#9 Layback Bear

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 09:59 PM

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Our founding fathers put this in the Constitution.

#10 the_patriot11

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 02:45 AM

easy solution-dont take freebies from the school.

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#11 rigel

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 10:15 AM

As an FYI... Further reading on this subject can be found here:
School District Allegedly Spied on Students
By Tanya Roscorlaon February 18, 2010 2010 Converge



Within that article is a link to the letter the school district sent out explaining their side of the issue:
LMSD initial response to invasion of privacy allegation

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#12 groovicus

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 12:54 PM

This is going to be an interesting case. If the intent was to recover a stolen or missing laptop, why say anything about what they saw? "Mr. Robbins, we have reason to believe you are in possession of a missing laptop. Is that true?" My instinct is that this will probably be settled out of court, but it would be nice to have some sort of a baseline case.

#13 DnDer

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 01:23 PM

LadyBAck Bear -- I thought the Constitution applied only to government agencies and LEOs? ie, I have the right to free speech on the streetcorner, but Jim says I can't talk about things that offend Jim in Jim's Bar.

That being said... students have zero constitutional rights to begin with. On school grounds you have no 4th amendment protection from locker and bag searches, and you have no 1st amendment right to criticize anyone (even if you're the student newspaper). The school is given broad powers to act in place of the parent (instead of, say, as an LEO). Off campus, students have few rights, too. Schools have suspended students for behavior or punished them in-school for things that happened off-campus at non-school events for things that were posted on social networking sites.

I don't know that the school can't actually get away with this, from a Constitutional standpoint. (Makes me sad.)

Do schools have a right to reclaim lost or stolen property? Yes. Was it ethically wrong to turn on web cameras in a student's private residence? Yes. Was it legally wrong to do it? I don't know. Are there other hardware and software alternatives to determine where a computer has been taken to? Yes. Should they have? Yes.

Why did they do it like this? Who knows.

#14 Layback Bear

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 06:19 AM

The school system is part of government. A search warrant is required issued by a judge IMHO. The school should of went to the police and justice department and let them handle it. If you think your neighbor stole your lawn mower you can't legally put spy camera's in his/her house, you call the police.

#15 groovicus

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 08:41 AM

Children may have fewer rights, but when my children are in my home, the school no longer has any responsibility. Using a web cam to spy on my children, in my house violates my expectations of privacy in my own home. And no, all people have Constitutional rights, even children. For example, I can't just grab a kid off the street and put them to work. I can't stop them on the street and check their pockets. Children have the same expectation of privacy when they use a public restroom. And students do have first amendment rights:
In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969), the Supreme Court ruled that free speech rights extended to students in school.
There are tons of other court cases that uphold this. The school does have some rights that stem from the need to protect students while at school, but only so much as to protect that student or other students from harm, or to maintain order in school. Courts have also upheld free speech regarding social media.

@DnDer, just because you can't say bad things about Jim in his own bar doesn't mean your right to free speech has been squashed. You are still free to go anywhere you want and bash Jim. This is the way it has always been; you can't yell fire in a theater, you can't yell bomb in an airport, and you can't protest gays in the military at a military funeral. You can still stand on a street corner and yell bomb all day long. You can stand in the middle of a lake and yell fire, and you can march around town all day long telling people what you think of Jim. If free speech were absolute, then there would be no such things as libel, slander, and defamation of character.




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