Software Update Disables Remote Webcam Activation After Pennsylvania School Controversy

A school district in the suburbs of Philadelphia, currently under scrutiny for allegedly monitoring students through MacBook cameras, will soon disable the ability for remote camera activation following a security software update.

Absolute Software, which recently acquired the LANrev remote administration suite, announced plans to eliminate the controversial webcam activation feature. The company communicated to its customers today that:

“Capturing webcam images has proven to be an ineffective method for recovering stolen computers.

It is against Absolute’s policies to take images of users without their consent and without police involvement, which does not align with our more effective, established products.

Following recent events, we’ve had numerous discussions with concerned customers eager to confirm that their practices do not mirror those currently under investigation.”

The removal of this feature will be effective in software updates starting tomorrow. While existing users currently have access to this capability, they are encouraged to update their software promptly.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that two IT staff members from Lower Merion School District have been suspended pending further investigation.

The controversy gained national attention after a lawsuit was filed by the parents of a sophomore from Harriton High School on February 16.

They claimed that the school had been remotely activating iSight cameras on student MacBooks at home without permission.

Although the district claimed that the activation was only to track stolen laptops, several students reported seeing the green light of their camera flicker on multiple occasions on devices not reported as missing.

Federal authorities are also involved, requesting all related records from the school. The district has since ceased using the remote access software for the cameras.

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