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Lawsuit Alleges School Spied on Students via Laptops

STUDENT PRIVACY—U.S.

February 22, 2010

The FBI and a Philadelphia-area prosecutor are investigating allegations that a Pennsylvania school official violated a student's privacy by remotely activating a Webcam in his school-issued laptop while he was at home, Computerworld reports. The student's parents filed a lawsuit on February 16 in U.S. District Court, claiming
the assistant principal confronted the teen about "improper behavior" at home and produced a photograph as proof. To do so would violate numerous laws, including the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and Pennsylvania Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act. A spokesperson for the school district has confirmed the Webcams do have a security feature that can be activated if the laptop is lost or stolen, but stressed it would not be used for any other reason. Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) Associate Director Lillie Coney said if the accusation is true it would constitute "an outrageous invasion of individual privacy."
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