School Officials Likened to "Peeping Toms"

Blake Robbins, a student whose school had installed a webcam on his laptop, is joined by his family — Michael, Holly, and his sister Paige — along with the Robbins' family lawyer Mark Haltzman, about the lawsuit they have failed against his school. CBS

The family that sued to get a suburban Pennsylvania school district to stop secretly viewing students at home via webcams on school-issued laptops is blasting the practice, though it's been halted.

Officials of the Lower Merion School District, outside Philadelphia, acknowledged Friday that they remotely activated webcams 42 times in the past 14 months, but only to find missing laptops given to students. They insist they never did so to spy on students, as the family of 16-year-old Blake Robbins claimed in the federal lawsuit.

The district has suspended the practice amid the lawsuit and the accompanying uproar from students, the community and privacy advocates.

And the family's lawyer, Mark Haltzman, told "Early Show Saturday Edition" co-anchor Erica Hill he's been informed that the FBI has opened a criminal investigation of the webcam use.

A source told The Associated Press the bureau is exploring whether the district broke any federal wiretap or computer-intrusion laws.

Hill says school officials haven't responded to a request from CBS News for reaction to word of the FBI probe.

Haltzman says the family filed suit only to get the remote webam use stopped.

Blake Robbins, the teen at the center of the controversy, told Hill it all began when Harriton High School administrators falsely accused him of selling drugs and taking pills; then said they had webcam images to prove it.

Blake says the pictures are of him eating candies.

Blake's mother, Holly Robbins, says she "was panicked" when she learned what was going on. "I thought this was just horrifying, that somebody could, especially the school, come into my home and spy on my son, and my daughter - she's 18 years old. And it was scary. It was like having a Peeping Tom."

Blake's sister, Paige Robbins, told Hill she "can say that on behalf of all of my girlfriends at Harriton, we were very scared, because we don't check to see if the lid is closed when we're changing. We take them in the bathroom when we're in the shower to listen to music. So, we're all petrified. We don't know who's on the other end watching us do whatever."

His father, Michael Robbins, says he's taking a wait-and-see approach before declaring himself satisfied with the district's response to the lawsuit.
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