Back in February, a story broke about the administration in a Pennsylvania school district possibly spying on students via school issued MacBooks with webcams.
The FBI quickly got involved, and many people still feel the school grossly violated federal wiretapping laws. (The case came to light when a student was wrongly accused of illicit drug use for eating candy, and confronting with images unwittingly snapped through the webcam while the student was in his home outside of school hours- scary, huh?) A lawyer for the family of Blake Robbins, the student who was initially accused of activities caught on tape in his home, is requesting authorities inspect the computer of Carol Cafiero, information systems coordinator for Lower Merion schools.
Evidence in the case suggests that Cafiero was not only complicit in the alleged spying, she was enthusiastic about it:
Watching the high school students at home via their computers’ cameras was like “a little [Lower Merion School District] soap opera,” a staffer said in an e-mail to Cafiero obtained by Robbins’ lawyer during discovery.
“I know, I love it!” Cafiero said in a reply, the motion asserted.
In a recent deposition, Cafiero refused to answer questions about what kind of information and how much she had downloaded to her personal computer while it was possibly to track students remotely via their school issued laptops:
The motion noted that Cafiero cited her right under the Fifth Amendment to not answer questions during a recent deposition, which she had earlier contested. “Unlike any of the witnesses asked to testify, [Cafiero] invokes the Fifth Amendment to every question asked of her, including a question asked as to whether she had ever downloading [sic] pictures to her personal computer, including pictures of students who were naked while in their home.”
It seems a bit hypocritical, if it is the case, that Cafiero feels so entitled not to incriminate herself while demonstrably having taken such joy in egregiously violating the privacy of the students of Lower Merion schools. In a statement on April 16th, Lower Merion school board president David Eddy said the district is “committed to disclosing fully what happened, correcting our mistakes, and making sure that they do not happen again.” It would seem that the first steps to full disclosure would be explaining the extent to which students were unlawfully monitored in their homes.