Last time, on General Highschool

Remember the story of the Lower Merion School District (just northwest of Philadelphia, PA) and the complaint that they busted a student while they were remotely using his camera to spy on him in his own home? Naturally, an investigation was launched, at which time the Philadelphia Federal Court ordered the school not to remove or destroy any evidence, to which the school agreed.

Remember, too, at the time, the school district insisted that it only activated those cameras when there was reason to believe the laptop was stolen (which they insist they had cause to believe in this case), and that they have only done this a total of 42 times.

A new motion filed last week alleges that, after investigating the evidence stored on the school district's computers, there were over 400 pictures taken alone of the student in his room, along with "thousands" of pictures of other students. The investigation also turned up screenshots of IM conversations and — perhaps the most damning evidence of all — emails commenting on the pictures, with one of the staff saying it was "like a little soap opera", with an administrator's response, "I know. I love it!"

Whether the spokesman for the school district believed what he was saying about the laptops being activated only in cases of stolen laptops and only being activated less than four dozen times, I don't know. But it's becoming increasingly obvious that this is not true.

This should, at the very least, serve as a warning. This kind of monitoring power is bad, mm'kay? Honestly, I don't think I would trust myself to have that kind of power and be able to resist the temptation of turning it into my own personal little soap opera; and honestly, I wouldn't expect anyone to trust me with that power, even if I were behaving responsibly.

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