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Lawyer: Laptops Took Thousands of Images

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John P. Martin
Philadelphia Inquirer
Friday, April 16, 2010

Lawyer: Laptops Took Thousands of Images 041510 webcamgate 400
This photo, allegedly taken surreptitiously by the Lower Merion School District through a laptop web camera, shows Blake Robbins sleeping at home at 5 p.m. on Oct 26. (Photo provided by the Robbins family)

The system that Lower Merion school officials used to track lost and stolen laptops wound up secretly capturing thousands of images, including photographs of students in their homes, Web sites they visited, and excerpts of their online chats, says a new motion filed in a suit against the district.

More than once, the motion asserts, the camera on Robbins’ school-issued laptop took photos of Robbins as he slept in his bed. Each time, it fired the images off to network servers at the school district.

Back at district offices, the Robbins motion says, employees with access to the images marveled at the tracking software. It was like a window into “a little LMSD soap opera,” a staffer is quoted as saying in an e-mail to Carol Cafiero, the administrator running the program.

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“I know, I love it,” she is quoted as having replied.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Those details, disclosed in the motion filed late Thursday in federal court by Robbins’ attorney, offer a wider glimpse into the now-disabled program that spawned Robbins’ lawsuit and has shined an international spotlight on the district.

In the filing, the Penn Valley family claims the district’s records show that the controversial tracking system captured more than 400 photos and screen images from 15-year-old Blake Robbins’ school-issued laptop during two weeks last fall, and that “thousands of webcam pictures and screen shots have been taken of numerous other students in their homes.”

Full story here.

This article was posted: Friday, April 16, 2010 at 10:02 am





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