USA – Texan student loses RFID battle – a serious blow to freedom

hernandez

Photo: Robin Jerstad/For The Express-Ne / SA

In November of last year, we posted about Texan student Andrea Hernandez who was in a legal battle to challenge her school’s right to tag pupils with RFID chips, and had won a temporary injunction to continue at the school without wearing the tag.

Hernandez had objected to wearing the tag on religious grounds, but the federal court overturned the temporary injunction and ruled that Hernandez must wear the tag if she wished to continue studying at the school.

The tagging of students is being piloted at two schools in the Northside school district in San Antonio, Texas, and the John Jay High School, where Hernandez attends, is one of them. If the pilot is successful, the district intends to implement student tagging in its 112 schools.

The use of RF tags is being piloted as a method for controlling school funding through analysis of student attendance.

Making students wear tracking technology is not a new concept. In 2005, A Californian school and the Houston school district started putting tagging devices in school ID badges, with the Californian school withdrawing the programme after complaints from parents and the American Civil Liberties Union.

There have also been protests directed at the John Hay School, including cyber-attacks by someone claiming to be from the Anonymous group.

The slow introduction of tracking technology into US schools is something we should all be concerned about.

Across the world, governments are increasingly gaining access to our data, and can now track our movements across vast areas of the world. Companies and non-government organisations also adopt technology that can be accessed through government departments and ‘non-specific’ arrangements.

Gradually and very subversively, this technology is finding its way into our everyday lives, whether it be an ID badge with an RF chip for work, or the tracking of mobile phones, your movements can be known if you become a ‘person of interest’ – and who can say what that will be a few years from now.

If this technology was used for the good of those who carry it, then there would not be so much concern from the public and civil liberty groups, and may be considered an aid to ensuring the safety of the person. However, through subversive implementation of tracking technology, the governments of the world are bound to be suspected of having ulterior motives for getting us used to the idea.

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