School cleared of webcam spying

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School cleared of webcam spying

56,000 snaps but no criminal intent.

A US school which admitted to taking thousands of photos of students via their laptop webcams, has been cleared of criminal charges. 

Lower Merion School District, based in Philadelphia, had secretly installed a security feature on laptops it issued to students, which allowed IT staff to track the computer, take screen shots and activate the webcam. 

The school initially defended its use of the software, claiming that the security feature was only activated if a laptop was reported stolen, missing or lost.

However, it has since admitted to amassing 56,000 photos and screenshots from students laptops after failing to deactivate the feature on found laptops, according to the Associated Press

The US Attorney's Office has cleared the school of criminal charges after an FBI investigation.

"We have not found evidence that would establish beyond a reasonable doubt that anyone involved had criminal intent," United States Attorney Zane David Memeger said Tuesday.

The school deactivated the feature in February following allegations made by student, Blake Robbins, who alleged the school took 400 photos of him, sometimes while he slept or was half-naked. 

"We are very pleased with today's decision by the US Attorney's Office, which supports the findings of our internal investigation and follows last night's approval of new laptop policies by the School Board," said Dr. Christopher McGinley superintendent of the school district in a statement.

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