Feb 182010

In the “How Low Can Public Education Go?” file, an affluent Philadelphia suburb public school district has been accused of using webcams embedded in school issued Apple notebook computers to remotely spy on students in their homes.  The school had proudly issued the Apple Laptops to each of its approximately 2,300 high school students.

A suburban Philadelphia school district used the webcams in school-issued laptops to spy on students at home, potentially catching them and their families in compromising situations, a family claims in a federal lawsuit.

Lower Merion School District officials would not comment on the accusation, but angry students have already responded by putting tape on their laptop cameras and microphones.

Sophomore Tom Halperin described students as “pretty disgusted,” and noted that his class recently read “1984,” the George Orwell classic that coined the term “Big Brother.”

“This is just bogus,” said Halperin, 15, of Wynnewood, as he left Harriton High School on Thursday with his taped-up computer. “I just think it’s really despicable that they have the ability to just watch me all the time.”

The school district can activate the webcams without students’ knowledge or permission, the suit said. Plaintiffs Michael and Holly Robbins suspect the cameras captured students and family members as they undressed and in other embarrassing situations, according to the suit.

Feb 182010

A small plane struck an office building in Austin, Texas, today. I worked in a nearby building which once housed Centaur’s headquarters a few years ago. The CIA, FBI and IRS had offices in the complex struck by the plane. However, from the pictures I have seen, I believe those offices are in the building between the burning building and Centaur’s old home (but I might be mistaken since I haven’t been in that area for a while).