21st Century Learning Environment, or Illegal Wiretapping?


A class action lawsuit has been filed in a Philadelphia suburb against a school district that provided students with laptops installed with webcams. The problem? The 2,300 laptops' webcams were remotely accessible by school officials.

According to Law.com, the lawsuit discusses the "school district's official announcement of the launch of a program to provide every student with a laptop, which billed it as 'an authentic mobile 21st century learning environment' designed to ensure that 'all students have 24/7 access to school based resources.' "

The AP reports that the webcams would only be activated by the schools' technology and security departments when a laptop was reported lost or stolen.

The suit was filed by student Blake Robbins and his parents after Robbins was confronted by the assistant principal at his high school. The assistant principal allegedly told Robbins that he had been caught doing something inappropriate at home. The lawsuit doesn't indicate whether Robbins' laptop had been reported lost or stolen.

The suit alleges violations of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Stored Communications Act, and Pennsylvania's wiretap statute. It also alleges violations of the Fourth Amendment, and federal civil rights laws.