2nd Lawsuit Filed Over WebcamGate

Family alleges tracking software turned on after misplaced computer returned to student, left on for months

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    TK
    NBCPhiladelphia.com
    Jalil Hasan and his mother Fatima talk about their lawsuit against the Lower Merion School District alleging webcam spying.

    A second lawsuit has been filed against the Lower Merion School District surrounding their use of webcam tracking software on student notebook computers.

    The civil suit was filed Tuesday by former Lower Merion High School student Jalil Hasan and his mother Fatima after the district allegedly activated the remote tracking software on his MacBook computer.

    Hasan, who graduated from the school this year, says he accidentally left his notebook inside school on a Friday in late December. The computer was turned over to the IT department by a teacher and given back to the teen on the following Monday.

    The complaint alleges it was at that point that the remote tracking software LANRev -- which intermittently takes webcam pictures and screenshots -- was turned on. That tracking software was left on for months until an earlier lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Robbins family, according to the suit.

    Hasan and his attorney Mark Hatlzman say more than 1,000 images were taken -- including 469 webcam photos -- of the teen, his family and his home.

    The teen's mom calls the photo tracking a complete violation.

    "I really didn’t know the extent of it until I saw it for myself," Fatima said. "It was definitely a violation. I had a lump in my throat and knot in my stomach because I had no idea these pictures were being taken."

    Haltzman also represents Harriton High School student Blake Robbins and his family.

    Robbins gained national attention after filing suit against the school district in February claiming officials intentionally spied on him inside his home using the remote tracking software. That case is still pending.

    The embattled school district released this statement following Tuesday's filing:

    Upon initially learning of the situation in February, the District hired outside counsel and a highly experienced computer forensic firm to comprehensively review all instances of the activation of the TheftTrack feature of the LanRev software. While the results of that investigation reveal that mistakes were made, there is no evidence that any students were intentionally targeted. The District has undertaken well-documented, positive steps to ensure the privacy rights of students, while also staying at the forefront in the use of technology to advance education. In an open and engaged fashion, the District has been working closely with students, parents, educators and technology experts to craft and to enact new policies to permanently protect the rights of all students in the Lower Merion School District.

     


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