A mother and daughter have been charged with hacking the election to become 2020 homecoming queen at the J.M. Tate High School near Pensacola, Florida. The electronic equivalent of fingerprints at the crime scene indicated that dozens of student votes were lodged from a computing device with a single internet address.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Laura Rose Carroll, 50, and her 17-year-old daughter, both of Pensacola, and charged them with unlawful use of computers, two-way communications devices and personally identifiable information, the FDLE said Monday.
The daughter was named winner in October, but in November, the Escambia County School District reported unauthorized access to hundreds of student accounts, the FDLE said. Carroll, an elementary school assistant principal, had access to the school district's computer system that tracks student information.
Parents will go a long way to advance their children's prospects, and technology opens up new avenues. In March, police in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, accused a mother of creating deepfake videos to undermine the prospects of her daughter's cheerleading rivals.
Witnesses in the homecoming queen case reported that Carroll and her daughter both tapped into the student record system. "I recall times when [Carroll's daughter] logged onto her mom's focus account and openly shared information, grades, schedules, etc. with others. She did not seem like logging in was a big deal and was very comfortable doing so," ABC News quoted one witness as saying in court documents about the case.
Carroll couldn't immediately be reached for comment. Her attorney, Randy Etheridge, said on Wednesday that Carroll and her daughter will plead not guilty and will request a jury trial, but declined further comment.