Pa. District Settles Webcam Privacy Lawsuits

PHILADELPHIA — The Lower Merion School District will dish out more than $610,000 to settle two lawsuits that claim the district spied on students in their homes using the cameras in school-issued laptops.

Beginning in 2008, the school board issued nearly 2,300 laptops to students at two high schools to use in class and to take home daily. However, district officials did not inform students or parents that school personnel could remotely track the computers and turn on the embedded webcams, USA Today reports.

In February, Blake Robbins and his family made headlines when they filed a lawsuit against the district for secretly activating the webcam on his laptop. The webcam snapped hundreds of photos of the teen, including one when he was asleep in his room, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer. Robbins will receive $175,000 for his woes. Additionally, Jalil Hasan, who graduated from Lower Merion High School, was awarded $10,000 as a result of the lawsuit he filed this summer.

The district will also pay $425,000 in attorney fees to the students’ lawyer.

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