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Thousands of images apparently captured by spying school district, more details revealed

Tim Stevens
April 17, 2010
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Legal proceedings are getting underway in the case of Philadelphia's Pennsylvania's Lower Merion School District -- you know, the one accused of remotely turning on webcams on its student's laptops inappropriately? We knew that district IT folks enabled the webcams 42 times in total, capturing pictures every 15 seconds, but now we're learning that over 400 images were retrieved of a single sophomore and that there are thousands more of other students. There is also seeming proof of use of the webcams even when laptops were not reported stolen, like when a student failed to pay the school's hardware insurance premiums. The district is apparently not standing behind its two IT employees who had the necessary permissions to enable this remote viewing, technology coordinator Carol Cafiero and technician Michael Perbix, and from what little we can tell now it's not looking particularly good for them. In a deposition Cafiero refused to answer any questions, citing her Fifth Amendment rights, but an alleged e-mail exchange between the two saw Perbix calling the pictures "a little LMSD soap opera," to which Cafiero replied "I know, I love it!" That doesn't sound entirely appropriate...

Update: We've received a few comments and e-mails about calling this "Philadelphia's Lower Merion School District" when, in actuality, the school is outside of the city limits, and county limits too, so we've corrected that above. Apparently nobody wants to be associated with these guys.




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