Thursday, February 25, 2010

WebCamGate: Who Watches the Watchers?

The WebCamGate case in which the Lower Merion School District near Philadelphia, PA developed and authorized the use of software to visually monitor students using school issued computers off school grounds is raising new questions very day.

There is every indication that the laptops issued to students at the Harriton High School in that district were instrumented to act as virtual stalkers. This news report confirms that students believed they were being surreptitiously monitored by someone at the school.
What becomes immediately obvious, even from this limited student testimony is that these students are not hardened criminals and the cracked voice fear that this one student had and the legitimate concern for the privacy of his family's lives is chilling. The behavior of the web cams as described is more like that of a peeping tom than a tracking system.

Another youTube video explains the parents concern:


Again, the school's explanations that only 42 instances took place sound like fiction based on the fact that numerous students reported the web cam activity AND the vice principal who somehow is accused of confronting a student about "drugs" (Mike and Ike candies). This is not only a case of spying but defamation of these student's character and the vice principal's character.

The fact that this boy's family is also politically connected (Hillary Clinton) is another aspect of the case. Was this family being set up because of their political convictions? Dirty tricks? It's been known to happen.

But the vice principal's denials of culpability are troubling. If she didn't authorize this intrusion, who did? And why did the school ignore the previous concerns?

This has become an example of a real-life Truman Show and the details continue to unfold. Today, all leads point to the school's technician,.Mike Perbix.

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