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Monday May 13th 2024

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Update: Federal Subpoenas Issued in PA School Webcam Spy Case

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spyApparently the FBI is hard at work in the Lower Merion (PA) School District. According to the latest news at, a “grand jury subpoena, delivered yesterday, asked for a broad range of records related to the so-called webcams and the security system that district officials used to activate them, said a lawyer who had been briefed about the matter.” Montgomery County (PA) officials are looking into the matter to see if they should conduct their own investigation.

Through spokesman Douglas Young, the school district continues to say, “School technicians have activated that system 42 times this school year when the district’s laptops were reported missing or stolen.”

There are still a lot of unknowns in this case, with the possible exception of the ever-growing laundry list of state and federal laws that could have been violated.

Given the amount of news coverage this story is receiving, a glimmer of hope is that it has American citizens discussing the issue of privacy – or lack thereof – as it exists today. With no shortage of comments in reaction to the stories, the arrogance of school administrators who thought remotely controlled cameras in students’ homes was a good idea is also under the microscope.

One commenter asked how parents are supposed to know that their children aren’t also being watched covertly. Besides a nice fresh roll of duct tape, the only answer is to homeschool, displacing the role of administrators doing what they think is best for them. Oh, and don’t take one of those freebie computers from anybody, ya’ hear?

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One Response to “Update: Federal Subpoenas Issued in PA School Webcam Spy Case”

  1. Weird-scary stuff going on there, but I can't help pointing out that Larry and Susan warned about this kind of mis-use of technical power way back in 2003:

    "The technology is available to monitor the time someone is using their computer, but it is very difficult to know whether it is the student himself or a sibling, parent, or someone else. One way to overcome this problem would be to install a surveillance camera of the type that is now available so cyber charter school personnel can actually see who is working at the computer. The extent to which the government and corporations will know what goes on inside the homes and minds of cyber charter school students is frightening."

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