School Spies Webcams: Philadelphia district Watches Kids at Home

February 19, 2010

This is just crazy! In a progressive move by a wealthy school district in Philadelphia, they provided students with laptops to continue work at home. What the teenagers and parents didn’t know was that they were equipped with school spies: webcams! See all the disturbing details below the photo!


Initially this seems like a great idea. If all 1800 students could make work from school mobile and transferrable, I think school could be much more enjoyable. And if they administrators could check in at your private home anytime, they could always keep an eye on you. WAIT?! That’s just wrong, but that is what they were doing! Continue for more info and a video.

This all came out when an assistant principal at the school told a student, Blake Robbins, that he was behaving inappropriately at home, and showed him a photograph taken by his webcam. This opened a whole can of worms about school spies… webcams! Now there is a lawsuit against the district. And guess what the school has to say?

The District is dedicated to protecting and promoting student privacy. The laptops do contain a security feature intended to track lost, stolen and missing laptops. This feature has been deactivated effective today.

They go on to say that they are sorry for any inconvenience. Yes, I would say that it is very inconvenient, disgusting, and wrong! Apparently they tried to say it was only for locating missing laptops, and that it could only take still photos. Well then why was the student approached about his home behavior? His laptop wasn’t missing!

Some students had thoughts about it as well:

“It freaks me out because what if I’m home and I’m just changing to go to sleep and my computer’s open,” Lower Merion student Julie Reiff said to NBC Philadelphia. “Are they going to take a picture of it and say I’m doing something illegal?”

“Naturally we feel that we have a sense of privacy when we are in our own home, in our bedroom with the door locked. And now we’re finding out that at any given moment, somebody in our school district was able to remotely activate that webcam and watch whatever it was that was going on in our home at the time.”

The big issue is that they have this ability and didn’t tell anyone. I think this could have been handled much more diplomatically if all the facts had been presented. One mother said, “In no way did I consent to this when I signed the contract for the use of the laptop. It was never made clear to the parents that this was a capability that the laptops even had.” Tell me what you think about these school spies: webcams!

See this video below!

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