Whoa. Think about your laptop, if you have one. Do you treat it like an open window, or a stranger in the room? Or do you treat it more like your cat, or a piece of furniture? I'm betting the latter. I know I don't worry about whether I'm fully dressed around my laptop, or if I'm divulging secrets with it in the room. Furniture, right?
Maybe not, for students in the Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania. Via Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing,
According to the filings in Blake J Robbins v Lower Merion School District (PA) et al, the laptops issued to high-school students in the well-heeled Philly suburb have webcams that can be covertly activated by the schools' administrators, who have used this facility to spy on students and even their families. The issue came to light when the Robbins's child was disciplined for "improper behavior in his home" and the Vice Principal used a photo taken by the webcam as evidence. The suit is a class action, brought on behalf of all students issued with these machines.
HOLY. MOLY. If the suit's valid, this blows my mind. And if the suit's valid, you might want to cover up and shut up around your work or school-issued computer. Freaky.