Wednesday, January 09, 2008

RFID Chips in Students

The AP is reporting on a story from Rhode Island where a company and a school district are testing RFID chips and GPS devices for students and school buses. The ACLU is upset and in this case rightfully so.

The pilot program is designed to track students while they are on the bus by putting a RFID chip in their backpacks and the GPS devide on the bus. If the county wants to put a GPS tracker on a bus, more power to them. That way they can find a bus if necessary in an emergency or something similar. But the RFID chip on a child has more than just privacy implications.

What if the child forgets or loses his backpack (we are talking about middle schoolers who might lose their head if it weren't attached). What if the child gets a new backpack or removes the chip? These are just practical concerns.

A few years ago, a California school wanted to use RFID chips to track kids at school and tht plan was nixed due to backlash. I suspect this one will also be circular filed as well. It is one thing to require kids wear a school ID card while in school, but a vastly different thing to track them like some caribou or fish whose migratory patterns is being studied.

This is just a bad idea all around.

Hat Tip: The School Law Blog

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