The Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania is in for some deep trouble according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court. Apparently, they’ve been using the built-in iSight cameras on the student-issued MacBooks to spy on students and see what they’re up to. Of course, they claim that they only turn on the cameras for “security reasons,” but this accusation doesn’t shock me in the least. This comes from two different sources. First, the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The suit, filed Tuesday, says unnamed school officials at Harriton High School in Rosemont remotely activated the webcam on a student’s computer last year because the district believed he “was engaged in improper behavior in his home.”
An assistant principal at Harriton confronted the student for “improper behavior” on Nov. 11 and cited a photograph taken by the webcam as evidence.
Then, there’s this report from Time.com:
The official, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, says the FBI will explore whether Lower Merion School District officials broke any federal wiretap or computer-intrusion laws.
Lower Merion officials say they remotely activated webcams 42 times to find missing student laptops in the past 14 months, but never did so to spy on students, as a recent lawsuit claims.
The most shocking part of this whole story to me is the fact that a school district is giving out MacBooks to students. Really? A laptop? I can see having computers in the classroom, but a laptop is too easily stolen, dropped, broken or lost for my taste. Plus I’m really surprised they were Apples. Like it or not, Windows is the way the world runs nowadays, and OSX is still in the minority. It bodes well that our youth will be raised on decent software and hardware, but who knows where we’ll be in that battle come graduation day.