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Harriton High School Spy Cam Story Grows – to 56,000 Images

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Harriton High School Spy Cam Story Grows – to 56,000 Images by Linda Dobson

spyPhiladelphia Inquirer reporter John P. Martin remains on the case with his latest report yesterday.

In a nutshell: Lower Merion School District personnel are admitting to activating the spy cameras on school-issued laptops “about 80 times in the past two years,” producing 56,000 images that include pictures inside their homes. With the investigation ongoing, the number could change.

It is claimed that those activations are “explained” in all but 15 instances, for which “investigators have been unable to identify exactly why a student’s laptop was being monitored.”

The federal magistrate judge is still working on arrangements to show parents photos of their children.

Ten employees could request activation, but only two – Carol Cafiero and Mike Perbix – could turn the tracking on and off. “But the requests were loose and disorganized,” stated the school district’s attorney, Henry Hockeimer. “The whole situation was riddled with the problem of not having any written policies and procedures in place, and that impacted so much of what happened here.”

APRIL 21, 2010 UPDATE – by Derrick Nunnally, another Philadelphia Inquirer staffer

An attorney for school employee Cafiero, on paid leave as previously reported, made a court filing on her behalf stating student Blake Robbins should have had no expectation of privacy.

It was not immediately clear if the school district agreed with any of the arguments made in Cafiero’s court filing. Reached Tuesday night, Hockeimer, the former federal prosecutor who is the district’s lead lawyer in the dispute, said “no comment” when asked about Cafiero’s filing.

Revelations about the laptop security system’s use have also prompted a federal investigation, and on Tuesday, Cafiero told an FBI agent that she had a “very limited” role in the Web-camera usage, her lawyer said.

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One Response to “Harriton High School Spy Cam Story Grows – to 56,000 Images”

  1. Mary says:

    If there are 730 days in 2 years, and they have 56,000 images, that means that more than 76 times a day (including weekends) someone was accessing these computers. It seems to me that if they were looking for "lost" computers, one or two images would be enough. When do they find time to teach? Somehow my disturbed brain has strange little men in dark rooms checking on the cheerleaders and snapping a few photos for their private collections. Wonder how many have made it to the Internet?

    Hope the parents sue their behinds off, but with that said, once the photos are released there will be a lot of teens having to deal with some very grown up situations, I'm afraid.

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