The Lower Merion school district, a high-end institution in the US state of Pennsylvania, is being sued by two of its students for having invaded their privacy without their consent.
The lawsuit was filed by the parents of the students after the school district acknowledged to have captured more than 56,000 images from the 2,300 Apple MacBooks it had distributed to its students about two years ago.
According to the official statement released by the the school district's lawyer, the school staff had activated the tracking system in November last year to trace the 80 laptops which were said to have gone missing over the past two years.
The issue came out in the open when administrators suspected Blake Robbins, a student of the Harriton school, of taking drugs at his home and produced evidence in support of their suspicions to his family.
It then emerged that the school authority had installed the software "LanRev Peeping Tom" in the laptops with a built-in webcam which was capable of taking photographs of its users and surroundings, when activated, after every 15 minutes.
According to the lawyer for the school district, the images captured by the tracking software are not at all inappropriate or lecherous, although he agrees that the students should not have been kept in dark about the system.
However, Robbins denied drug abuse and claimed to have consumed only sweet pills. The fact that the school did not clearly state that it was capturing data is a clear breach of trust between the school and vulnerable young people.
US school accused of using laptops to spy on pupils (opens in new tab)
School spied on students with laptop webcams (opens in new tab)
(Mainline Media News)
Filing states student broke rules and had no expectation of privacy (opens in new tab)