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Texas High School Student Loses Lawsuit Challenging RFID Tracking Requirement 412

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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  • Re:Sorry dude (Score:2, Informative)

    by dyingtolive ( 1393037 ) <brad DOT arnett AT notforhire DOT org> on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @09:20AM (#42530903)
    ...and before any pedant gets ahold of my post: Yes, I know it's a chick. Yes, I call women "dudes" sometimes. No, that does not represent any sort of confusion upon my part.
  • Read the PDF (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @09:21AM (#42530907)
    I think it is fairly clear that it is the ability of staff to track students location that only works when the student is on campus. Of course it would have been better to qualify that with a statement that the card will still respond to other readers:

    ...the chip in the Smart ID badge also enables school staff to locate a student on a campus with a very large student population.16 The campus is equipped with sensors to read the card and school staff can determine the general whereabouts of the student carrying the card.17 The sensors do not give an exact reading or pinpoint the precise location of a student (e.g. a specific classroom), but it would show whether the student is in a certain wing of the school.18 The Smart ID badges work only within the school campus that has been equipped with sensors to read them.19 The badges do not work off campus.

  • Re:Read the PDF (Score:5, Informative)

    by aurizon ( 122550 ) <bill DOT jackson AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @09:54AM (#42531227)

    The badges work at all times, the look-up table that correlates the badge number to a person is internal to the school. RFID comes in both short and long range versions - I assume this is a longer range one (it has a battery - the short range ones are usually RF field powered). It may show up up on a Fedex warehouse RFID scanner or other scanner, but as a number with no associated data. I am not sure how widespread RFID response fields are outside of warehouses and malls?
    In any event, the repeated numbers *666* should not be part of the string, just so the petty number of the beast argument can be tossed.
    Many companies use RFID badges for timecards punch-in to work and for access to various doors, both at the entrance and exit and to control access to various areas for assorted reasons.

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @10:49AM (#42531801)
    No, because in order to follow them without the RFID you need to be able to see them. If you have to follow the student from a location where you can see them, it becomes apparent to others that you are following them much quicker than if all you have to do is stay in range of an RFID tag. Additionally, the RFID badge makes it much harder for a student who becomes aware that they are being followed to lose the follower.
  • Re:Read the PDF (Score:4, Informative)

    by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @11:05AM (#42531993)

    Well it kind of is perjury. The badges do indeed "work" off campus, in that if pinged by and RFID scanner they respond with their unique ID code.

    Not really - perjury is a willful act intended to deceive. Disagreeing about what constitutes "working" or making a statement you believe is accurate based on your knowledge - i.e. work means able to identify a particular student using data stored in the system's computer and so they don't work to track individual students by identity even if you can still read a RFID code - would not be perjury.

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

    by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @11:18AM (#42532175)

    Not to take away from the gravity of the punishment, but they don't get flayed, they get flogged. Still very painful, and dangerous, but not quite as extreme.

    And we're not okay with it, they just happen to have the rest of the world by the balls, at the moment. That will change, soon enough.

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

    by Talderas ( 1212466 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @11:27AM (#42532305)

    I like the fact that Slashdot is conflating this to a tracking complaint when the case is more of a "freedom of religion" case than anything else. The tracking bit is tangential to the meat of the case.

    Summation. Student thinks RFID chip is the "mark of the beast" and refuses to wear badge on religious grounds. School offers badge without chip. Student's parent instead wants entire program removed because wearing the badge is "compelled speech" supporting the program and by extension supporting the "mark of the beast".

    There's some other complaints in the case but that's what it revolves around and none of the complaints have to do with tracking.

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

    by The Moof ( 859402 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @12:21PM (#42533081)
    It seems there's a new "Mark of the Beast" every decade or so. Back when I was a kid and went to church every week with my parents, I remember reading an article in one of the missals how bank account numbers are the "Mark of the Beast" - and this was 20 years ago.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall