An Ohio woman has been given permission to sue a laptop-tracking company that recorded her sex video-chat sessions with her boyfriend.
Absolute Software was attempting to identify the person that had stolen the computer that the woman was using. After it captured the images, it passed them on to police.
It seems that Susan Clements-Jeffrey, a substitute teacher, had bought the laptop from one of her students, who had in turn bought it from another student who had stolen it from Clark County School District in Ohio. Clements-Jeffrey says she had no idea it was stolen.
The machine was equipped with Absolute’s LoJack remote recovery software, which allows data to be intercepted and recorded in the event of a theft.
But the judge ruled that Absolute had gone too far in recording the sex chat, which included images of a naked Clements-Jeffrey with her legs apart.
“It is one thing to cause a stolen computer to report its IP address or its geographical location in an effort to track it down,” he wrote.
“It is something entirely different to violate federal wiretapping laws by intercepting the electronic communications of the person using the stolen laptop.”
But, he ruled, the City of Springfield police had acted reasonably in accepting the video, as they hadn’t been responsible for its unlawful interception. He had a word or two of criticism, though, which gives you an idea why Clements-Jeffrey might have been so very upset.
In his judgement, he says that “their ‘use’ of the sexually explicit communications during the course of questioning may have been unprofessional and entirely gratuitious”.