Spying School District Has Thousands of Secret Pix of Kids: Lawsuit

Official who saw photos called them a school 'soap opera'
By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Suggested by Disillusioned
Posted Apr 19, 2010 5:40 PM CDT
Spying School District Has Thousands of Secret Pix of Kids: Lawsuit
In this Feb. 19, 2010 image from video released by WTXF Fox 29, shown is Blake Robbins as he speaks to members of the media. The Robbins family alleges in a federal lawsuit that the suburban Philadelphia, Lower Merion School District used school-issued laptop webcams to spy on students at home, potentially...   (AP Photo/WTXF Fox 29)

The suburban Philly school district that spied on its students by giving them laptops with webcams to take home is getting sorrier and sorrier. A lawsuit by one of the students claims the district snapped thousands of images of kids, including pictures of them sleeping and in various states of undress, reports Wired. The Lower Merion district has admitted investigators found "a substantial number" of secret photos and has promised to show them to the students' parents, reports the Inquirer. Sen. Arlen Specter also got into the act Thursday, introducing a bill to make such spying a federal offense.

The district says the tracking system, which also captured websites students visited and excerpts of their online chats, was turned on only if laptops were lost, stolen, or taken home without proper insurance. But the official who ran the program, who is accused of downloading some photos on her home computer, didn't exactly help make that case in an email exchange cited in the motion. Another employee emailed her, "It's like a little LMSD soap opera." She shot back: "I know, I love it!"
(More Blake J. Robbins v. Lower Merion School District stories.)

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