School breaches privacy through use of laptops

April 21, 2010 |

Something is definitely off in Lower Merion school district.  It is located in Philidelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.  Some genius(s) in the school system installed peeping tom technology on students’ lap tops which then took more than 56,000 images of students using the lap tops at school and home.  The Guardian has run  story on today.  As usual the dopes who purpertrated this gross invasion of privacy picked a bizarely inappropriate response to deal with a mundane problem, lap tops going missing. Putting aside whether that was a smart way of dealing with the problem the program was activated on lap tops which were not stolen, missing or otherwise being used in an inappropriate manner.

It gets better.  The officials outed themselves when one confronted a student about supposed drugs he had in his bedroom.  Turns out the drugs were sweets.  The obvious querry is “How do you know what is in my room>”  Next port of call, a lawsuit.  In the Australian context the Listening Devices Act is the only real option however I think there would be scope to rely on nuisance or trespass coupled with a breach of confidence in Giller v Proscepets.  It might be a stretch but the law is developing.  All the more reason to have a proper statutory breach of privacy cause of action.

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