Pennsylvania school district hit by injunction, FBI investigation after web cam incident

Blake Robbins, a student at Harriton High School, issued a lawsuit against the Lower Merion School District, alleging that an assistant principal of the high school told Robbins that he had been engaged in "improper behavior" in his home.

The Lower Merion School District has said that the software was only ever used to track missing computers, and that it was invoked 42 times during the 2009–10 school year to try and recover missing machines. Eighteen computers were recovered, it said.

However, Morrison's attorney, Mark Haltzman, said that the policy had been violated, after the administrator spied on the boy, and misinterpreted candies that he was eating for drugs.

"They were trying to allege that when Blake was holding two Mike and Ikes in his hands and which he loves and eats religiously, that those were pills, and he was somehow engaged in selling drugs," Haltzman said. He alleged that someone at the school activated the camera without the computer being reported as missing or stolen.

"Who has the access to these pictures, and what's happening to those pictures, and who's making those decisions?" Haltzman asked.

The school district has admitted that parents had not been informed of the software's installation or operation ."While certain rules for laptop use were spelled out – such as prohibitive uses on and off school property – there was no explicit notification that the laptop contained the security software," said Dr. Christopher W. McGinley, superintendent of schools for the Lower Merion School District. "This notice should have been given and we regret that was not done."

The FBI has since been called in to investigate the matter, and on Monday, the school district agreed to preserve webcam evidence gathered using the computers, pending further investigation.

What’s hot on Infosecurity Magazine?