School Shows Off Webcam Controlling Ability

One of the stranger bits of news that we've been tracking lately has dealt with the LowerMerion School District and its use of monitoring software in the Apple MacBooks that it has distributed to 2,300 of its students.

Student Blake J. Robbins is suing Lower Merion School District in Philadelphia allegedly remotely activating his webcam. The remote activation of his webcam was exposed when student Blake J. Robbins was disciplined for "improper behavior in his home" by the Vice Principal, who provided a photo taken by the webcam as evidence.

The school confirmed that it has the ability to control the webcams, but that the capability has since been disabled in response to the recent issue.

It seems that the Lower Merion schools aren't the only one with the spying capabilities that were apparently used in the current class action lawsuit. A reader of Boing Boing pointed out that PBS aired a documentary a few weeks ago called "Digital Nation." In it, vice-principle of Intermediate School 339, Bronx, NY, Dan Ackerman showed how he's able to remotely monitor students through webcam.

Ackerman demonstrates the webcam spying ability: "They don't even realize we are watching," "I always like to mess with them and take a picture," and "9 times out of 10, THEY DUCK OUT OF THE WAY."

Oddly there are no questions regarding student privacy, which is likely how the recent class action lawsuit came about.

Click here to watch the video at PBS. Skip to around 4:36 to see the remote webcam monitoring.

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  • Anonymous
    that's absolutely disgusting. what if that student was bashing one out when the teacher turned on the remote welcome. The thought of being monitored in my own home makes me feel sick. I hope to keep sues the hell out of the school.
  • Lewis57
    This is totally absurd. Words can't even describe how big of an invasion of privacy this is. And what makes it worse is the admins making fun out of it, spying on them, messing with them. This is disgusting and needs to be stopped, and I'd like to see whoevers activating the cameras arrested or fined for it.

    If my kid ever recieved a laptop off the school, first thing I would do is tape up the camera.
  • Anonymous
    this is just sick..
    even for the sake of 'safety', things like these should never happen!
    what is wrong with the people who initiated this? pure criminal behaviour, lock these people up for the sake of humanity... if there is any left in this ever sickening world.