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Texas school uses RFID badges to track student locations

Christina DesMarais | Oct. 10, 2012
As part of a controversial trial that could someday include 112 schools and nearly 100,000 students, Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, recently issued students at two of its campuses new badges with an embedded RFID (radio-frequency identification) chip in order to track their locations.

The paper also maintains that mandating that students wear RFID chips conditions them to accept a Big Brother world.

"Young people learn about the world and prepare for their futures while in school. Tracking and monitoring them in their development may condition them to accept constant monitoring and tracking of their whereabouts and behaviors. This could usher in a society that accepts this kind of treatment as routine rather than an encroachment of privacy and civil liberties," the paper says.

"Requiring children to wear RFID tags while on school grounds infringes upon their Fourth Amendment right from unreasonable search and seizure, and ... Courts should readopt the probable cause standard as the appropriate standard to be applied to the use of RFID technology in schools," writes Alexander C. Hirsch last year in the Journal of Computer and Information Law at The John Marshall Law School.

Tagging kids isn't new

"Tagging school children with RFID chips is uncommon, but not new," reports Wired. "A federally funded preschool in Richmond, California, began embedding RFID chips in students' clothing in 2010. And an elementary school outside of Sacramento, California, scrubbed a plan in 2005 amid a parental uproar. And a Houston, Texas, school district began using the chips to monitor students on 13 campuses in 2004."

Today RFID chips are embedded in a variety of things, including passports, security passes, and store inventory, and can be used to do things like track livestock.

What's your take on the subject? Have the civil liberties of these kids been breached? Is there a better solution to truancy issues, perhaps with help from technology?


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