July 20, 2010 |
The Lower Merion School District is considering a new written policy to ban all webcam surveillance by district officials. The proposed rule, part of a slate of new technology regulations introduced Monday night at a school board meeting at Penn Valley Elementary School, follows months of controversy in the wake of one student's privacy lawsuit over webcam monitoring. Also under consideration are stringent guidelines for when the student-issued computers' tracking software can be activated - only with written permission from a student and parent after a reported computer disappearance - and for the circumstances under which district officials can access files on the computers if misuse is suspected.
July 30, 2010 |
Lawyers for the Lower Merion School District and the first student to sue over its use of webcams to track laptops met Thursday with a federal judge but would not say if they were any closer to resolving their dispute. Henry E. Hockeimer Jr., the attorney for the district, and Mark Haltzman, representing Harriton High School junior Blake Robbins, declined to comment as they left Senior District Judge Jan E. DuBois' chambers in Philadelphia. The 75-minute, closed-door meeting followed a flurry of filings from both sides that signaled new hurdles in the five-month-old case.
December 8, 2011 |
The sister of the student who brought the first webcam lawsuit against the Lower Merion School District two year ago now has filed her own federal lawsuit, which administrators have slammed as "an attempted money-grab and a complete waste of tax dollars. " Paige Robbins, 19, of Penn Valley, alleges that the district invaded her privacy when it remotely snapped pictures via a laptop in her home while she was undressed. She is the sister of Blake Robbins, 17, who as a sophomore at Harriton High School sued the Lower Merion district for invasion of privacy and agreed to a $175,000 settlement.
February 23, 2012 |
Opening statements are set for Friday in the trial of former Rutgers University freshman Dharun Ravi, who is charged with using a laptop webcam to secretly view his college roommate in a sexual encounter with another man. Jury selection in the high-profile case was completed Thursday in Middlesex County Superior Court in New Brunswick. The trial is expected to last up to four weeks. Ravi's roommate, Tyler Clementi, 18, committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge on Sept.
July 24, 2010
Parents of several Lower Merion School District students filed a motion Friday opposing a bid for a class-action lawsuit over the district's practice of secretly activating webcams on student laptops. The motion points out that nearly 500 parents of between 500 and 600 district high school students have signed a petition opposing certification of the original lawsuit as a class-action matter. "They simply do not want to be represented by plaintiffs or their counsel in their pursuit of a litigation strategy that protracts rather than resolves the litigation, and that harms rather than benefits the students," the motion says.
December 1, 2011 |
A Lower Merion student who alleged that Harriton High School officials used a webcam to spy on him, then made the charges stick in court, has been cited for vehicle-code violations in Lower Merion. Blake J. Robbins, 17, of the 400 block of Hidden River Road, Penn Valley, was cited Nov. 26 by Lower Merion police officer Stephen M. Salera for driving an unregistered vehicle and displaying a license plate on the wrong vehicle. Robbins and his parents, Michael and Holly, could not be reached for comment Thursday.
June 8, 2010 |
Legal fees in the Lower Merion School District's webcam case are inching toward $1 million, a sum that could end up handed to local taxpayers. A district spokesman on Monday disclosed that the bills to defend the use of the now-disabled laptop tracking system have grown to about $780,000. At the same time, the lawyer whose lawsuit over the webcam monitoring drew worldwide attention disclosed in court papers that his fees - costs he is likely to ask Lower Merion to pay - were more than $148,000 and climbing.
October 13, 2010 |
Tuesday didn't feel all that different, Blake Robbins said. Sure, he might have heard a comment or two in the Harriton High School halls. One kid flashed him a thumbs-down, Robbins said, but he couldn't be certain why. Otherwise, the school day was routine, said Robbins, a 16-year-old junior. He took home his school-issued laptop. Even used its webcam to snap a photo, he said. But Tuesday wasn't typical. About 3 p.m., Robbins and his parents signed papers to settle their headline-getting claim that the Lower Merion School District used a laptop webcam to spy on him in their Penn Valley home.
February 23, 2010 |
The most celebrated birds in recent Philadelphia history are back for a second season of their popular avian reality show. Their webcam is officially up and running. Last year, it gave thousands of viewers a peek-a-boo view of a red-tailed-hawk couple nesting on a ledge of the Franklin Institute. They hatched three young that flapped their way into the hearts of fans worldwide. More than 300,000 people clicked in to one of two Web sites, some again and again. Some people - occasionally a dozen or more at a time - lined up on the sidewalk below to watch, waving at their friends through the webcam.