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Philadelphia School Used Webcams to Spy on Students

Lower Merion School District, located within suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, possibly invaded student's privacy by remotely activating webcams. The school issued 2,300 laptops to its high school students and used webcams to capture them in their homes, interact with family members, and in other reported "compromising situations." Students and their families are outraged. Some have filed federal lawsuits. Others have covered laptop cameras and microphones with tape.

Eerily reminiscent of George Orwell's "1984" which illustrated the effects of "Big Brother," sophomore Tom Halpern found life imitating literature. The Wynnewood, PA resident left Harriton High School Thursday and expressed "This is just bogus. I just think it's really despicable that they have the ability to just watch me all the time."

Witold Walczak, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania insists "School officials cannot, any more than police, enter into the home either electronically or physically without an invitation or a warrant" The victims filing the lawsuit disagree. They claim the school district "activated the webcams without students' knowledge or permission" and watched as students and their family members were "undressing and in other [potentially] embarrassing situations."

Assistant principal at Harriton High School Lindy Matsco confronted Blake about "inappropriate and undefined behavior at home," as well as "cited as evidence a photograph from the webcam embedded in minor plaintiff's personal laptop issued by the school district" Matsco also admitted to Michael Robbins that the school did in fact have access to the laptop and capabilities to "activate webcams remotely."

Doug Young, spokesman for the Lower Meron school district said:"We can categorically state that we are and have always been committed to protecting the privacy of our students."

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