US school accused of web spying
Parents in the US have accused a school of spying on children by remotely activating webcams on laptops.
A couple from Pennsylvania have filed a lawsuit against a school district which gave laptops to its high school pupils.
They say their son was told off by teachers for "engaging in improper behaviour in his home" and that the evidence was an image from his webcam.
Lower Merion School District says it has now deactivated a tracking device installed on the laptops.
It says the security feature was only used to track lost, stolen and missing laptops.
But it was deactivated on Thursday and would not be re-instated without informing students and families, the district said.
'Stages of undress'
The Lower Merion School District gave the laptops to all 1,800 students at its two high schools with the aim of giving them access to school resources around the clock, according to its website.
Michael and Holly Robbins are suing the district on behalf of their child and all the children in the district issued with the laptops.
They allege the school district invaded their privacy and are guilty of "wiretapping" by putting children under covert surveillance.
In their lawsuit, they claim the webcams were activated remotely and images were taken which could have included anything going on in a room where the laptop was placed.
The legal papers say: "As the laptops were routinely used by students and family members at home, it is believed that many of the images captured and intercepted may consist of images of minors and their parents or friends in compromising or embarrassing positions, including in various stages of dress or undress".
On Thursday, the Lower Merion School District posted a letter to parents on its website saying it had always "gone to great lengths" to protect the privacy of its students.
In it, the Schools Superintendent Christopher McGinley gives details of the security feature, which he said was activated only if a laptop was reported lost, stolen or missing.
"The security feature's capabilities were limited to taking a still image of the operator and the operator's screen," he wrote.
"This feature was only used for the narrow purpose of locating a lost, stolen or missing laptop. The District never activated the security feature for any other purpose or in any other manner whatsoever."
However, the district had carried out a preliminary review of security procedures and had disabled the security-tracking program, he added.
The district would now conduct a thorough review of the existing policies for student laptop use and look at any other "technology areas in which the intersection of privacy and security may come into play".
"We regret if this situation has caused any concern or inconvenience among our students and families, " he said.
are added. It is recommended to install computer labs with shielded power cables and without Wi-Fi. Provide information about the social and health risks ...
Posted: Feb 18, 2010 04:08 PM EST
ALBANY, N.Y. -- A professor at UAlbany is speaking out about the potential health risks of using a cell phone.
Dr. David Carpenter is the director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany. He is also a leading expert in the field of electromagnetic radiation, which is the energy emitted by cell phones.
Dr. Carpenter claims there's a strong link between brain tumors and cell phone use, and says children could be the most at risk.
"In teenagers who use these cell phones a lot, it appears that you can actually see the significant increase in brain tumors even after one year of use," Dr. Carpenter told NEWS10. "If you are under the age of 20 when you start to use a cell phone, your risk is five times greater than if you are an adult."
Stay with NEWS10 for more on this story.
February 22, 2010 01:40pm
ANOTHER former Brisbane ABC staff member has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The ABC abandoned its Toowong studios in Brisbane in late 2006 after female employees recorded breast cancer rates six times the national average.
Tests have failed to uncover the cause of the cluster.
ABC Queensland news editor Bernard Bowen said the latest woman to test positive to breast cancer was in her mid-forties and worked in the television newsroom for about seven years in the 1990s.
At least 18 women who worked at the Toowong site after 1994 have been diagnosed with the disease.
Mr Bowen said public health expert Bruce Armstrong, who headed the panel investigating the ABC cluster, had been made aware of the latest diagnosis.
``It is still a source of frustration to us all that no cause has ever been established ... and in all probability won't ever be,'' Mr Bowen said.