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Texas High School Student Loses Lawsuit Challenging RFID Tracking Requirement 412

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-terribly-surprising dept.
Chris453 writes "Earlier today, a Texas High School student named Andrea Hernandez and her family lost the first round of the lawsuit filed to prevent her school district from forcing its students to wear RFID badges for tracking purposes. The judge in the case declared that the district's compromise for the student (a badge without the battery) was sufficient and dismissed any First Amendment issues. The badges are RFIDs powered by built-in batteries and one of the concerns was that the badges would be used to track students off-campus. Interestingly enough, the school district claims in court documents that 'The badges do not work off campus (PDF).' However, on their website, the school district confirms that it is conceivable that an off-campus RFID reader could access badge serial numbers, but tries to downplay the significance: 'Therefore, an intruder or "hacker" can only learn that the tag serial number is, for example, #69872331, but that does not provide any useful information. Has the district committed perjury by claiming that the active RFIDs magically deactivate themselves when off school property?"
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Texas High School Student Loses Lawsuit Challenging RFID Tracking Requirement

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  • Micowave Oven (Score:2, Interesting)

    by crmanriq (63162) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @09:38AM (#42531055)

    Just pop the tag in a microwave oven for a minute or two. No more RFID.
    "I don't know what happened. Maybe the Lord don't like RFID tags."

    After enough tags go poof, the school administration will probably give up on having you wear one.

    Physical tag with barcode? Sharpie the barcode to another number, maybe. Or generate your own barcode and forge a new tag. There are so many possibilities to screw with the administration that it seems like it would be more fun to see how long until they broke.

  • by Cigarra (652458) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @10:10AM (#42531393)
    I don't buy that. I think this IS about privacy and individual rights, but they threw the religious nonsense to use the First Amendment in their favor. That's how it looks to me anyway.
  • Re:Leave in locker. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gander666 (723553) * on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @10:46AM (#42531773) Homepage
    When I was in school (public school, pre-university) there was no student ID. We just went to class, learned, did after school activities (if desired) and then went home. Alas, the public schools have become police states with lockdowns, gates, guards, and metal detectors. No wonder students are not learning.

    Heck, I was trusted enough to be given a physical key to get into our computer lab (8 Apple II's) in the afternoon to work on them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @10:50AM (#42531805)

    If they lied about the tags not working outside of the school, then that's perjury, period. None of this Clinton-esque bullshit.

    Oh, as if the Obama-esque bullshit is any better? Or the idiot before him?

    Politics aside, it won't be considered perjury. They'll come back with some bullshit like "well, technically they could be picked up, but the data is meaningless", which will fly...right up until the point where people realize that the "obfuscated" RFID tag numbers are actually the student ID number, or something equally as blatant and easily traceable back to a person.

    By that point, it will be too late, and RFID-enabled schools will be a Federal mandate, and you'll risk losing Federal funds if you do not participate.

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @11:07AM (#42532033)

    According to the legal document linked, the school actually offered to compromise and allow her to wear a badge with no RFID chip at all.

    The condition on that "compromise" was that she and her parents would not share their objections to the program with others (my recollection was that it actually went so far as to ask them to endorse the program, but I may be remembering that incorrectly). In addition, they were not allowed to tell anyone else that they had reached this accommodation with the school district.

  • Re:Sorry dude (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @11:25AM (#42532281)

    Tinker vs DesMoine School district
    "constitutional rights do not stop at the schoolhouse gates"

    While minors have some restrictions compared to adults, they're clearly humans in the eyes of the state (too much so in some cases, where the state seems to think that a fertilized egg is a human).

    This is an interesting case at a higher level. Today it's RFID tracking, with an explicit object needed. But the technology is not too far from just doing the tracking using image processing. It's already being done in airports and stadiums, as well as shopping malls, with varying degrees of performance. If all you do is want to get rough statistics about how many people stand in front of the store more than once, you don't need "passport control" kinds of accuracy.

    The school, here, can argue pretty convincingly that they have a need to know who's in the school, and whether they choose to use teacher visual/auditory identification (calling roll) or swiping a badge or RFID or fingerprint scanners or image recognition is immaterial.

    The question is about the big world and all the adults. Is the vague "right to be left alone" infringed by the advent of private and public surveillance with ever increasing performance and accuracy, and largely unhindered by law or regulation. To be honest, I would worry about private companies doing this rather than the government. The government may do dumb things, but overall, the folks in government tend to have a fairly well developed sense of privacy entitlements. Private industry, on the other hand, seeks to monetize as much as they can, and if they can sell the id information, they will.

  • Re:Sorry dude (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tnk1 (899206) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @12:05PM (#42532859)

    You have a lot to learn if you think that nuclear weapons can do very much to make the Saudis give up their oil.

    All they need to do is prevent us from getting it. And since Europe and China use more than we do from the Mideast, we'd then have to deal with them becoming very angry at us.

    And let's be fair, it's their country. The fact that they can flog women isn't really our problem directly. It is something they need to work out themselves, and they will, like we are.

  • Re:Sorry dude (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @12:15PM (#42533011)

    For the first 30 years of its use in the 1800s, dude was a nongendered term used to mock how someone dressed(today, we use the term "metrosexual" in much the same way, albeit only referring to men).

    Gradually it changed to mean "an idiot from back east who has no clue", and then to "those city slickers who are paying us to to let them play cowboy".

    Its appropriation by the surfer culture in the 60s and their feminization of the word "dudette" created the perception that dude is a gendered term, but general usage still supports its equal usage.

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