FBI Checks On Whether PA Schools Violated Rights In Laptop Snooping


The Lower Merion, Pa., school district has agreed to stop remotely activating student laptops to record images or screen shots after a high school student charged that the school invaded his home and his privacy by remotely snapping his image with the camera on his school-provided laptop, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The U.S. attorney and the FBI issued a rare statement confirming their inquiry into whether the snooping system broke any laws. “The issues raised by these allegations are wide-ranging and involve the meeting of the new world of cyberspace with that of physical space,” said Michael Levy, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. All 2,300 students at Lower Merion’s two high schools are issued Apple MacBook laptops, complete with webcams. Starting in 2008, the school district used a remote control program to snap pictures – only, officials said, when a laptop was reported lost, missing, or stolen. This feature was activated 42 times this school year.

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