School Laptop Spying Allegations Raise Privacy Questions

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Witold J. Walczak, legal director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, says regardless of the applicability of wiretapping statutes, there's still a constitutional ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.

"There's no confusion about whether the 4th Amendment applies here," he says. "We haven't had any cases where law enforcement was stupid enough to put a camera into a home without a warrant."

Regardless of the legal outcome, Walczak predicts that other districts will be discouraged from remotely operating surveillance cameras, "given the firestorem that hit Lower Merion."

There's no way of telling whether schools or companies are using webcams to monitor their employees. The technology is certainly available. And it's clear that many corporations use computers to keep track of employee activity -- by reading their e-mails, for instance, or tracking which Web sites they visit.

"The fact that this has come to light is really important, because it shows there can be abuse," says Beth Givens, director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a consumer group based in San Diego.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetEducationLaw & Legal IssuesScience & Technology

Posted February 25, 2010 at 6:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
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