School settles webcam spying allegations

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School settles webcam spying allegations

Pays out US$610,000.

Blake Robbins, the student who sued his school for using a security feature on his school issued laptop to spy on him, has been awarded US$175,000 in an out of court settlement.

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's staff were in August cleared of any criminal wrongdoings following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

The school admitted to taking 56,000 images of students from their laptops.

The school deactivated the feature in February following Robbins allegations that it had taken 400 photos of him, sometimes while he slept or was half-naked.

The total settlement paid by the school was US$610,000, with US$425,000 going to Robbins' legal counsel and US$10,000 to another student, Jalill Hassan.

Robbins' funds would be held in a trust, according a statement by the school.

"Although we would have valued the opportunity to finally share an important, untold story in the courtroom, we recognise that in this case, a lengthy, costly trial would benefit no one," David Ebby the school's Board President said in a statement.

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