AfterDawn: Tech news

School district in webcam spying case settles litigation

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 13 Oct 2010 13:45 User comments (13)

School district in webcam spying case settles litigation The Lower Merion School District has settled litigation brought against it by the families of two students for allegedly spying on them at home using a webcam built into laptops issued by the district.
The Pennsylvania school district has agreed to a settlement of $610,000. Of that settlement, $175,000 is to be placed in a trust for Harriton High School student Blake Robbins, and $10,000 goes to a second student, Jalil Hassan. who sued later on.

The students' attorney, Mark Haltzman, will get $425,000 in legal fees. "A major impetus behind settling this matter now is the recent agreement by our insurance carrier, Graphic Arts, to cover more than $1.2M of the fees and costs associated with this litigation to date," Lower Merion School Board President David Ebby said in a statement.

The district provided high school students with laptops as part of a technology initiative, but did not alert families that the laptops were equipped with webcams that could be turned on remotely. Robbins, who was 15 at the time, did not know about this until school officials allegedly accused him of "improper behavior in his home," citing a photograph taken from the webcam while he was at home.

In August, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said it wouldn't bring charges in the case after several months. "Although we would have valued the opportunity to finally share an important, untold story in the courtroom, we recognize that in this case, a lengthy, costly trial would benefit no one," Ebby said.

"It would have been an unfair distraction for our students and staff and it would have cost taxpayers additional dollars that are better devoted to education. We also wanted to be sensitive to the welfare of the student involved in the case, given the possible ramifications of what would have been a highly-publicized trial."

Previous Next  

13 user comments

113.10.2010 13:59

I know schools aren't made of $, but I think that's a bit underfunded given the scenario, then again the lawyer getting nearly $500,000 is a bit of a joke too.

213.10.2010 14:31

Quote:
Robbins, who was 15 at the time, did not know about this until school officials allegedly accused him of "improper behavior in his home," citing a photograph taken from the webcam while he was at home.
Because school rules apply globally..........yeah...

313.10.2010 15:40

I agree with the first comment I think they deserve more this is a pretty big deal



413.10.2010 15:50

Eh id anything this should have been criminal..I can't see what they might have seen either kid doing that is worth even $10k of taxpayer money... Those morons are laughing their way to the bank for sure...


Just my $0.02,

dEwMe

513.10.2010 16:07

Dang the lawyer really cashed in on this case.



613.10.2010 16:59

I actually am familiar with this school. I grew up 10 miles from there.

I think the settlement was about fair. The principle will need to leave that school system but maybe education all together. It is enough money that AD picked up the story. No one ought to be stupid enough to do that again. If they do they need to be taken to the cleaners.

Who ever thought that one up is a creep and a moron!

713.10.2010 21:05

It hasn't been released what they saw the kid doing has it?

813.10.2010 21:38

Yeah... I think those penalties are kind of a joke!
I'm not sure why there is no criminal charges made. Who is the DA in that town?
Why did one kid get $175k and the other one got like $10k?

Seems a bit fishy to me.

913.10.2010 22:11

Originally posted by ThePastor:
Yeah... I think those penalties are kind of a joke!
I'm not sure why there is no criminal charges made. Who is the DA in that town?
Why did one kid get $175k and the other one got like $10k?

Seems a bit fishy to me.
Because the other kid's name was Jalil Hassan, that's why. It doesn't matter that they were late to the party.

1013.10.2010 22:12

Quote:
we would have valued the opportunity to finally share an important, untold story in the courtroom
How long do we have to wait for the movie?

1113.10.2010 22:16

Originally posted by ROMaster2:
Quote:
Robbins, who was 15 at the time, did not know about this until school officials allegedly accused him of "improper behavior in his home," citing a photograph taken from the webcam while he was at home.
Because school rules apply globally..........yeah...
Yeah, it's BS how schools think they can make rules that apply outside the facility. That is the partent's and the police's jurisdiction. Certainly, the bedroom is not. Actually, I'm surprised my former high school isn't on this thing. They are lucky I don't name names too, I thought about it. I will tell you it's a private school in Minneapolis, Minnesota, though.

1214.10.2010 6:40

Originally posted by cart0181:
Originally posted by ROMaster2:
Quote:
Robbins, who was 15 at the time, did not know about this until school officials allegedly accused him of "improper behavior in his home," citing a photograph taken from the webcam while he was at home.
Because school rules apply globally..........yeah...
Yeah, it's BS how schools think they can make rules that apply outside the facility. That is the partent's and the police's jurisdiction. Certainly, the bedroom is not. Actually, I'm surprised my former high school isn't on this thing. They are lucky I don't name names too, I thought about it. I will tell you it's a private school in Minneapolis, Minnesota, though.
Breck?


1318.10.2010 4:45

Nope, Not Breck, but close :D

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive