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Pennsylvania School District Accused of Spying on Students for Second Time

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Blake Robbins and Jalil Hassan have accused the Lower Merion School District near Philadelphia of intentionally spying on them at home by accessing the web camera on their school-issued laptop. Blake Robbins and Jalil Hassan have accused the Lower Merion School District near Philadelphia of intentionally spying on them at home by accessing the web camera on their school-issued laptop.
Jim Tate with Computer Nerdz said if local school districts opt to issue laptops to its students, parents need to be aware of what software is installed on that computer. Jim Tate with Computer Nerdz said if local school districts opt to issue laptops to its students, parents need to be aware of what software is installed on that computer.

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- For the second time this year, parents said employees at one school district have been spying on their kids at home by accessing the web camera on their school-issued laptop.

Blake Robbins said it first happened to him. The 15-year-old claimed he was spied on thousands of time via his school issued laptop web camera. He said he believes the school even took pictures of him while he was asleep in his home.

"I feel like my privacy has been compromised," Robbins said.

Now another family has come forward. The mother of 18-year-old Jalil Hassan said the Lower Merion School District near Philadelphia spied on her son and her entire family by accessing his school computer when he was at home.

Jim Tate runs a computer and software store in Oklahoma City called Computer Nerdz. He said the software the school district installed in those laptops is a program that can be activated from a remote site in the event of a loss or theft.

"The software was designed to help the school district retrieve the laptop in the event that it was stolen from the student," Tate said.

But in Robbin's and Hassan's cases, the laptops were inside their homes and the web cams continued taking snap shots and screen grabs.

"I can understand why the parents would be absolutely outraged," said Jim Tate with Computer Nerdz.

Tate said if local school districts opt to do the same thing, parents need to pay attention.

"The best tool is going to be knowledge. Know what software is installed. Know how it's used and how it's supposed to be used, and the black tape over the web cam is not a bad idea either," Tate said.

Both families have filed invasion of privacy lawsuits against the Pennsylvania school district. The software program is no longer being used.

The Superintendent of the Lower Merion School District said there is no evidence that any students were intentionally targeted.

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