Privacy Not Very Private Anymore - The UpStream

Privacy Not Very Private Anymore

posted Sunday Feb 21, 2010 by Kyria Gianos

Privacy Not Very Private Anymore

Bring yourself back to the good ol' days, where gas was a quarter per gallon, technology was a new concept, and people still had privacy in their own homes. Well, back to reality! Living in a era that is extremely technologically developed definitely has its up sides, but having the capability to spy on you and your children while in the "privacy" of your home, certainly isn't one of those.

A school district in Pennsylvania has allegedly overstepped their boundaries and invaded a high school students privacy all through a webcam. The boy's parents, Michael and Holly Robbins, have brought forth a lawsuit against the Lower Merion School District, including its board of directors and superintendent.

The laptops, issued by the district, were intended to be a learning tool for the students but turned out to be a huge liability...I could have told you that. Both the student and his parents claimed that they had were unaware that the district could access the laptops at any time with the override feature, which includes a visual through the built in webcam.

Here's where the shocker comes in. The student found out that the school had been spying when called into the office on November 11. The assistant principal claimed that the Harriton High School student was caught "engaging in improper behavior." Wow, there are a number of problems here! To begin with, what is done at school and what is done at home should not be associated with each other. The ONLY reason the school would have cause to punish the boy was if he had performed this "improper behavior" on the computer itself. To make matters worse, it is still unclear what the the boy actually did. The fact that the school accessed the computer without informing the family and then punished him for it is absolutely ridiculous.

Giving out the laptops may not have been the best idea. Although the students and parents did have to sign an agreement, it did not explain the security feature that allows access to the webcam, created to track stolen computers. The district was looking to incorporate technology more and more into schools, but this may have taken in just a bit too far.

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