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2/18/2010
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School Allegedly Spied On Kids In Their Homes

Web cams in laptops provided a school district with compromising photos of minors in their homes, a lawsuit claims.

A Pennsylvania family last week filed a lawsuit against the Lower Merion School District for spying on their child at home using a Web cam in a school-issued laptop.

The lawsuit, brought by Michael E. Robbins and Holly S. Robbins on behalf of their minor son Blake Robbins, alleges that the school district invaded their privacy and stolen private information in violation of various computer fraud and privacy laws.

The complaint claims that Lindy Matsko, assistant principal of Harriton High School, informed the Robbins' son that the School District believed he "was engaged in improper behavior in his home, and cited as evidence a photograph from the Web cam embedded in [his] personal laptop issued by the School District."

The complaint further states that Michael Robbins subsequently verified that the School District had the ability to remotely capture images using the Web cam at any time, without the knowledge or consent of the user.

"As the laptops at issue were routinely used by students and family members while at home, it is believed and therefore averred that many of the images captured and intercepted may consist of images of minors and their parents or friends in compromising or embarrassing positions, including, but not limited to, various stages or dress or undress," the complaint says.

Attorneys representing the plaintiffs did not return a call seeking comment.

School district spokesperson Doug Young also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In an e-mail to Main Line Media News, Young reportedly said, "This is the first we have heard of this lawsuit being filed and the plaintiff's allegations. However, we can categorically state that we have always been committed to protecting the privacy of our students."

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