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School’s Illegal Defense For Spying On Kids In Their Homes With Webcams

February 22. 2010  

15-year-old Blake Robbins

Harriton High’s defense, of what amounts to voyeurism, illegal wiretapping and computer intrusion that violated the privacy of minors attending their school, is offensive and insulting to anyone with intelligence. What is very troubling about the case is the school’s gall, in trying to defend as their right, what is illegal criminal conduct, when any jurist with half a brain can see they flagrantly broke the law.

How can they act as though, spying on people in their homes with cameras, without their knowledge or consent, is acceptable human behavior? Students and their parents are outraged, along with many citizens all over the country, but the school just doesn’t get it. Harriton High’s management tried to have their own illegal reality show, ensconced in people's homes, with unwitting participants, which constitutes several felonies.

Another issue one cannot get past, is the obvious fact the webcams on the school issued laptops had to have been snapping away indiscriminately, with someone(s) on the school’s end watching live camera feeds or later sorting through what it each unit had captured. Numerous students were complaining that the webcams would turn on without prompting at various intervals, but the school labeled it a “glitch” full well knowing it was not, as they failed to disclose to parents and students, they have been running an illegal surveillance program, using the webcams on the laptops they gave the children.

If they thought the spy program was above board, why didn't they inform the students and their parents verbally or in writing, "Hey, we've installed webcams and spyware on each computer we gave you, which can trigger at anytime we instruct it to, taking photos and videos, whether you are in your bedroom, bathroom or living room." No mention was made. They would never have told people the truth, as they would be in more trouble than they could ever fathom. You know, like now.

The chances are a million to one that the webcam just happened to catch this young man at the very moment he was popping candy that looked like pills. Once again, based on the way technology works and claims asserted online by students of Harriton High, the Judiciary Report stands by the belief, the webcams were triggering at repeated intervals over the course of the 14 month program. Then, someone forwarded specific snaps to the vice principal and other members of the faculty that are involved in this scandal.

Mike Perbix (Pervix, is more like it) is one of the computer administrators responsible for the webcam spy program at Harriton High School

The Judiciary Report does not state this to distress people or cause paranoia, but there are technological facts involved that need to be taken into account. Through the Anthony Pellicano case, the public found out, the private investigator had illegal wiretap software designed to begin recording unlawfully snooped on calls of surveillance subjects, that would trigger when a certain word was spoken over the phone, in an effort to help reduce the amount of calls Pellicano and his criminal staff of 4, would later have to sift through on behalf of Hollywood clients, to get to specific data they requested for personal use or court cases.

For example, a tape was released revealing actor, Tom Cruise, unlawfully had Pellicano wiretap then wife, Nicole Kidman. Say,  Kidman would go on and on over the phone about hair, make-up and nail polish, not that Tom wouldn’t like that stuff based on prevalent rumors about his sexuality, Pellicano reportedly could have the software programmed to flag and record calls that specifically mentioned the word “Tom.” It cuts down on time.

The American NSA and its Echelon spy station in Britain, uses a similar technique, that if one says the words “bomb” or “President” over the phone, among other items, the call is recorded and forwarded to a government analyst for further review, to verify one is not a terrorist or criminal, planning to blow up the President of the United States. This has been written about in the press.

But, to my knowledge, there is no commercially available software that can watch for and alert a webcam operator, of when a person is breaking the law on camera. There are motion detectors for cameras, but not one that is available to the public that can alert you when a crime is committed, such as taking drugs in front of a webcam. The webcam or surveillance camera just triggers when it detects motion.

Therefore, there are holes in the school’s story. The Judiciary Report would like for the vice principal of Harriton High, to be interviewed and explain her conduct, such as what she was doing with a webcam photo of a 15-year-old in his bedroom, snapped without his knowledge or that of his family.

There is no good answer to that question, which is why the school keeps answering the query in a deceitful manner, by stating the minor, "Was not punished for it." We didn't ask you that. Did you or did you not have in your possession, a photo of 15-year-old Blake Robbins and or any other students, in their homes. Yes or no. If you say yes, you and all involved deserve massive prison sentences and must be registered as sex offenders. 


The Spy at Harriton High

This investigation into the remote spying allegedly being conducted against students at Lower Merion represents an attempt to find proof of spying and a look into the toolchain used to accomplish spying. Taking a look at the LMSD Staff List, Mike Perbix is listed as a Network Tech at LMSD. Mr. Perbix has a large online web forum footprint as well as a personal blog, and a lot of his posts, attributed to his role at Lower Merion, provide insight into the tools, methods, and capabilities deployed against students at LMSD. Of the three network techs employed at LMSD, Mr. Perbix appears to have been the mastermind behind a massive, highly effective digital panopticon.

PanoMasterMind, I'll be watch-in you - Mike Perbix

The primary piece of evidence, already being reported on by a Fox affiliate, is this amazing promotional webcast for a remote monitoring product named LANRev. In it, Mike Perbix identifies himself as a high school network tech, and then speaks at length about using the track-and-monitor features of LanRev to take surreptitious remote pictures through a high school laptop webcam. A note of particular pride is evident in his voice when he talks about finding a way outside of LANRev to enable "curtain mode", a special remote administration mode that makes remote control of a laptop invisible to the victim. Listen at 35:47, when he says:

"you're controlling someone's machine, you don't want them to know what you're doing" - Mike Perbix

It isn't until 37 minutes into the video till Perbix begins talking about the Theft Tracking feature, which causes the laptop to go into a mode where it beacons its location and silent webcam screenshots out to an Internet server controlled by the school.

We Found the Glitch, Mrs. Buttle

The truly amazing part of this story is what's coming out from comments from the students themselves. Some of the interesting points:

Possession of a monitored Macbook was required for classes

Possession of an unmonitored personal computer was forbidden and would be confiscated

Disabling the camera was impossible

Jailbreaking a school laptop in order to secure it or monitor it against intrusion was an offense which merited expulsion



Interviews On School Spying On Kids With Webcams

School Spied On Kids In Their Homes With WebCams



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