Arlen Specter must be so mad.
A lawyer in Webcamgate now claims there are thousands of pictures taken from student-issued laptops. They include “photographs of students in their homes, Web sites they visited, and excerpts of their online chats,” so says the Inky.
Here are the worst parts:
There are photos of 15-year-old Blake Robbins, the student at the center of the lawsuit, asleep in bed.
Alleged emails from school staff contain conversations regarding the photographed students and their online chats. Carol Cafiero, the administrator running the laptop program, is involved in those emails. When one alleged staffer told Carol the combination photos and chats were like “a little LMSD soap opera,” she responded: “I know, I love it.”
Though Robbins is at the center of the lawsuit and it’s his parents involved in the legal mumbo jumbo, apparently, “thousands of webcam pictures and screen shots have been taken of numerous other students in their homes.”
Cafiero has been placed on paid leave, though may have watched students from her home computer, the hard drive of which has yet to be turned over to authorities.
Without jumping to conclusions, sounds like Ms. Carol is quite the freak (on second thought, let’s jump to conclusions).
Remember that whole Schwenksville bus driver gets into car accidents and kills people story? Yeah, well that incident helped change the Pennsylvania law regarding school employees’ driving records, but did nothing to extend the 5-year background investigations of all public-education employees. Whether or not Cafiero is found to have problems in her past, how about, when all is said and done, we take this little incident as an example to extend background checks?
And by the way, we weren’t being facetious earlier. Lenin’s Pennsylvania protégé yesterday introduced federal legislation to close what he calls a loophole in federal wiretapping laws to prevent unauthorized monitoring (thus continuing his love affair with “the terrorists”).
But he still trails Toomey in the polls.
MyFoxPhilly reports that plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Lower Merion school district are asking a judge to order officials to disable the webcam security system on laptops the district issues to students. "The lawsuit alleges a Harriton assistant principal used a webcam photo as evidence to discipline sophomore Blake Robbins for "improper behavior." The school district claims it only used the webcam to snap still images of a laptop user if the computer had been reported lost or stolen. Meanwhile, Robbins family attorney Mark Haltzman says he's looking for other families to the join the invasion of privacy lawsuit. "Absolutely," Haltzman said. "Absolutely, we've heard from a lot of parents." The district's posting reports 42 occasions on which the webcam was activated to track lost, missing or stolen laptops, and 18 laptops were recovered. The district has also acknowledged that parents and students were not previously informed about the laptop tracking program and has apologized."
KYW 1060 reports that Lower Merion schools have been ordered to preserve evidence in the webcam spy case: "Attorney Mark Haltzman, who represents 15-year-old Blake Robbins, says the agreement is a win for the students and for the parents of the district: "As everybody said all along, this never should have been done to begin with. I think the school district admits in its own press releases admits that it was wrong, it shouldn't have been doing this, certainly without some notice, consent, informed consent of the parents that this was something that could be done." The order calls for the district to deactivate web cams on the laptops, even though the district did that voluntarily last week. It also bans the district from installing any new software or updating software that would destroy evidence on laptops. KYW's Paul Kurtz reports parents will have an opportunity to talk about the laptop issue with the superintendent of the Lower Merion School District on Tuesday night....
PC Pro reports that Lynn Matsko, the Lower Merion vice principal at the center of the district's webcam scandal, has denied any wrongdoing. "Lynn Matsko allegedly called 15-year-old Blake Robbins into her office and disciplined him for "improper behaviour" using footage taken through his laptop webcam as evidence. The school is now being sued by Robbins' family, and reading a prepared statement, Matsko gave an emotional response to the allegations. "At no point in time did I have the ability to access any webcam through security-tracking software," said Matsko. "At no time I have ever monitored a student through a laptop webcam, nor have I ever authorised the monitoring of a student through a security-tracking webcam – either at school, or in the home, and I never would." Shortly after Matsko issued her statement, the family responded with one of its own. "Nothing in Ms Matsko's statement is inconsistent with what we stated in our complaint," said Blake Robbins. "Ms Matsko does not deny that she saw a webcam picture and screenshot of Blake in his home; she only denies that she is the one who activated the webcam." The family also claimed that Matsko was not intended to become...
A liberal came to Philly today – alone – for a hearing on the Webcamgate controversy. We are pleased to meet the acquaintance of this civil-liberty-respecting senator.
The defense is blaming the student for taking his laptop home. And if a judge thinks Carol Cafiero has a point, we’re all screwed.