August 31, 2011, 2:56 PM — A U.S. federal judge has decided not to throw out a lawsuit filed by a 52-year-old widow and part-time public school teacher whose "steamy chats and naked images" were captured and distributed by a security company that mistakenly believed her laptop had been stolen and began monitoring her webcam to help find it.
Susan Clements-Jeffrey sued Absolute Software after discovering one of its employees had captured and stored sexting traffic between she and her out-of-state boyfriend according to a report in Wired.com.
Clements-Jeffrey had no idea Absolute's LoJack for Laptops was running on her laptop, which she bought from a student from one of her students at Kiefer Alternative School in Clark County, Ohio.
The student bought the laptop from another student at a bus station for $40 and, suspecting it was stolen, got rid of it at a profit by selling it to Clements-Jeffrey for $60.
The laptop had been stolen by the first student in April, 2008, from a school in Ohio's Clark County School District, which bought the Absolute Software theft recovery license, which gives the company's recovery staff the ability to remotely access, read and record data from protected machines
Clements-Jeffrey, a substitute teacher, said the student told her he didn't need the laptop after getting another as a gift.
Absolute's normal practice, once a laptop is declared stolen and it intercepts an IP address, is to turn the address over to police, according to wired.
Instead, according to the lawsuit, Absolute's theft officer Kyle Magnus began recording email, IMs and webcam images transmitted between the 52-year-old widow and her high-school sweetheart, in Boston, with whom she'd recently rekindled a romance.
Many of the messages were sexually explicit and at least three of the images showed Clements-Jeffrey naked.
Magnus sent the pictures and messages to a police detective, who confronted Clements-Jeffrey with both private evidence of her new romance and with charges for receiving stolen property.
The charges were dropped a week later.
Clements-Jeffrey sued, charging Absolute and the arresting officers with invasion of pirvacy, violations of her Fourth Amendment rights against illegal search and seizure and purposeful violation of her privacy by violating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
Absolute Software LoJack for Laptops demo