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Texas High School Student Loses Lawsuit Challenging RFID Tracking Requirement

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the not-terribly-surprising dept.

Privacy 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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U$A, the land of "freedom"... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42530861)

NOT.

Sorry dude (5, Insightful)

dyingtolive (1393037) | about a year and a half ago | (#42530883)

You're under 18, so not a human being in the eyes of the state, and as such subject to being tracked like cattle.

If it's any consolation, the rest of us are only marginally human beings in the eyes of the state, and are still subject to being tracked like cattle if we go out to anywhere public, or use any service or product. On the bright side, you're getting indoctrinated to it early.

Re:Sorry dude (1, Informative)

dyingtolive (1393037) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Sorry dude (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531221)

It's okay, she's not that hot anyway. I'd probably call her a dude, too, without mistaking her sex. Some people explicitly reserve the work "chick" for hot girls only.

Re:Sorry dude (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531637)

No problem, broad.

(I like to call men "broads" sometimes.)

Re:Sorry dude (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531081)

Well, just students. In Saudi-Arabia, every woman is tracked via her cellphone. If she is found to try leaving the state, her male guardian (every woman has a mostly legally responsible guardian like a husband, brother or father) is notified by SMS. Of course, that's just a compromise as, strictly speaking, women are not allowed to move without their guardian's supervision in public at all, at penalty of flaying.

We're ok with all that because Saudi-Arabia has a whole lot of oil.

Re:Sorry dude (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531249)

We're ok with China's government because of their money and products too. Our interests and playing sides are directly responsible for this country being hated worldwide.

Re:Sorry dude (2)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531479)

Well, just students. In Saudi-Arabia, every woman is tracked via her cellphone. If she is found to try leaving the state, her male guardian (every woman has a mostly legally responsible guardian like a husband, brother or father) is notified by SMS. Of course, that's just a compromise as, strictly speaking, women are not allowed to move without their guardian's supervision in public at all, at penalty of flaying.

We're ok with all that because Saudi-Arabia has a whole lot of oil.

We're okay with lots of stuff if there's a whole lot of oil involved.

Re:Sorry dude (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531419)

You're not a human being in the eyes of the state, and as such subject to being tracked like cattle.

FTFY

Re:Sorry dude (2)

itof500 (239202) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531437)

Corporations are people with rights. Why not us?

Re:Sorry dude (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531611)

Let's guess.. It has something to do with money?

Slavery wasn't so bad.... (-1, Troll)

gelfling (6534) | about a year and a half ago | (#42530897)

Come on, stay on the plantation, we'll give you a better life than what you would have experienced in Africa.

Re:Slavery wasn't so bad.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531139)

I don't know about that, it's looking pretty good [wikipedia.org] now.

Re:Slavery wasn't so bad.... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531291)

Comparing wearing a RFID badge to slavery is insensitive

Read the PDF (5, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Depends on what the meaning of is is (5, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | about a year and a half ago | (#42530933)

Sounds like any perjury on their part would hinge on what it means to work and whether the judge allows them to make their own definition of the word.

Re:Depends on what the meaning of is is (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531163)

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

Re:Read the PDF (4, Insightful)

coinreturn (617535) | about a year and a half ago | (#42530943)

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.

I agree. I think the "perjury" comment was there just for inflammatory purposes.

Re:Read the PDF (4, Funny)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531027)

An inflammatory statement in a Slashdot story on privacy vs. government? Surely you jest!

Re:Read the PDF (4, Insightful)

artfulshrapnel (1893096) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531449)

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.

A stalker or someone who wanted to do harm to a specific student doesn't need access to their full records, they just need to determine that ID code and use it to track them.

Re:Read the PDF (1)

samkass (174571) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531499)

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.

A stalker or someone who wanted to do harm to a specific student doesn't need access to their full records, they just need to determine that ID code and use it to track them.

It is incorrect information. In order for it to be "perjury" it has to be shown to be material to the outcome of the case, which is possible but less clear.

Re:Read the PDF (2)

Theaetetus (590071) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531509)

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.

A stalker or someone who wanted to do harm to a specific student doesn't need access to their full records, they just need to determine that ID code and use it to track them.

In context, they're referring to the ability of staff to use them to locate students. Perjury is determined by reading all of a party's submissions and statements to the court, not just one sentence out of context.

Re:Read the PDF (5, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531683)

Except that staff, who have access to the information regarding which students have which RFID badges, can track the students off campus, they just cannot do so with the school's equipment. It is not the badges which do not work off campus, it is the central tracking system which does not work off campus. This is a violation of "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth." There is a reason that the oath is worded that way, your statements to the court under oath are supposed to be worded so as to be clear as to their meaning. Reading this it looks to me like this was carefully worded so as to make it seem that the badges stopped functioning when the student left campus while leaving the school able to say, "Oh no, that is not what we meant at all."

Re:Read the PDF (1)

Svartalf (2997) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531623)

If you're agreeing, you're being a tool. The tags don't magically fail to work off campus. If I figure out what brand/model of reader or what protocol the tags use, I can read them OFF campus. If I'm not caring about FCC regs, I can greatly extend the range of the reader.

They're pathetically stupid, lying, or worse, both.

To think that it's an empty inflamatory remark without basis is being ignorant.

Re:Read the PDF (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531013)

They can track RFID to a very specific location if you have enough sensors to triangulate the position. You can triangulate with anything if you have enough information.

Re:Read the PDF (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531077)

I sometimes triangulate with spaghetti but it doesn't sound very good

Re:Read the PDF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531071)

"The badges do not work off campus."

This is true for certain values of "work"

Re:Read the PDF (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531117)

RFID doesn't magically turn itself off when you are away from a given zone. The moment you enter another zone, "your" tag will light up and respond.

The Judge (and YOU) bought the bullshit, hook, line, and sinker.

Re:Read the PDF (4, Informative)

aurizon (122550) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Read the PDF (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531515)

If you can buy the sensors, you can read the tag- period. It's not clear at all to someone who's honestly versed in the practice of RF Identification that it does ANYTHING other than report it's ID. Powered tags have varying extra abilities. Things like faster turn on. Extended range at lower reader powers (tag senses the read pulse and POWERS ON, giving a chirp reply...). That sort of thing.

The DOD has badge readers that will identify their DOD badge docked into a holder that do this at hundreds of feet from the reader- as an example. These tags? They're IN that class of devices.

Either the School District's stupid (probable), lying, or both.

It amazes me to no end just how friggin' stupid the lot is here on /. that they can't even manage to understand that concept and are willing to defend the stupidity we're seeing exhibited here by the District.

Leave in locker. (1, Funny)

Outthere057 (566345) | about a year and a half ago | (#42530915)

I would just leave it in my locker at the end of the day and they can track it all they want.. If for some reason I can do that i guess it would be time for a tinfoil wallet

Re:Leave in locker. (2)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531073)

You probably need it to get to your locker in the first place.

Re:Leave in locker. (3, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531103)

And how would you get back into the school the next day?

Re:Leave in locker. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531327)

"I forgot it in my locker"
They will learn to recognize you very quickly.

Re:Leave in locker. (1)

Outthere057 (566345) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531329)

When i was in school didn't need the badge to get in the school. Honestly I don't believe my id ever left my wallet once I put it there each year

What a moronic statement... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42530945)

"Has the district committed perjury by claiming that the active RFIDs magically deactivate themselves when off school property?""....EVERY RFID tag works this way. If your credit card has an RFID, it can be read, possibly, by a third party scanner.

This should stop the shootings (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42530947)

Right? I think that's how it works...

propaganda bull (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42530965)

how can they say that it only will work on campus. The only difference between the slavery days and now is that slavers or the corporate and government enslaves all nationalities. White people are just as enslaved as anyone else now a days

Perjury? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531005)

No. If the "system" "works" in such a way, then once you break that way, that system breaks. Now, you may be left with multiple parts of that system, in different places, and maybe another system could use that piece for it's purpose, but it's not perjury to say that those cards do not "work" off campus, because here "work" is defined by being an active part (ID badge) of an active system (school RFID system), with an intended purpose.

It's sorta weird to see how RFID is associated with privacy. The student is at school, in their physical body, that we all can see with our built-in eyes! Normally, they're accounted for via some "roll-call" in the mornings (or at least that's how we used to do it back in the day), and then that information was sent to the office where it was processed, and a larger set of information was sent to the state, and everyone that was at school that day was accounted for, it's been happening for a long time now. So what if they want to put teachers at all corners of the halls and watch all of the students, what's wrong with that? ...other than it being waaay to expensive for the tax payers to pay the teachers. So instead, they try this idea, and everyone is trying to freak out over a privacy issue. I don't get it, but I'm old and it's probably time that I just move on to yelling at the neighborhood kids about my fine grass.

Re:Perjury? (4, Insightful)

AlecC (512609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531297)

It makes it easy and inexpensive to automate following you around. To follow a single person using the Eyeball Mk1 takes about ten people. To follow them by RFID takes a few inexpensive readers scattered around. You can track students for good reasons - or for bad ones (stalking etc),

Not that I want to take a knee-jerk attitude to this and say it must be banned. But it has unintended consequences, which may not have been thought through.

Re:Perjury? (1)

Jetra (2622687) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531391)

That sounds more interesting than 1984. Wonder if our government might be learning something about how to keep track of its people, quash hopes and dreams, and destroy our will, effectively turning us into zombies that are too afraid to talk?

Re:Perjury? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531693)

I'm curious as to why you think we aren't already there...?

America: (-1)

p0p0 (1841106) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531017)

'MUH FREEDUMS

Battery? (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531019)

"The judge in the case declared that the district's compromise for the student (a badge without the battery) was sufficient"

Active RFID tags cost a fuckload of a lot more than passive ones, not to mention they occasionally need the battery replaced. Never mind the privacy issues here, why the hell do we allow public schools to waste so much taxpayer money on frivolous BS like this?

I have two passive RFID badges I use on a daily basis, and they do their thing just fine. Hold it up to the pad next to the door, the door goes "click", done.

Re:Battery? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531107)

I hope that you realize that passive RFID can also be tracked. What happens when we start having RFID sensors on everywhere in our society? Do we revolt again to overthrow our oppression or do we just let the rich and powerfull enslave us?

Re:Battery? (3, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531187)

I think that's his entire point... passive RFIDs can be tracked just fine like the school wants, so why waste all the extra money? He's not saying anything about whether or not it's right for them to be tracked. Besides, most RFIDs can be blocked easily enough, especially those that are embedded in cards.

Re:Battery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531405)

Yes, they can, but the distance they need to be from a reader is measured in millimeters, not yards.

Re:Battery? (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531171)

Because they are using them to take attendance and the central computer can detect their presence in most places in the school.

Re:Battery? (1)

Svartalf (2997) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531603)

To whit, the tags can be used outside of the school to locate the children. So...they lied. Seriously. If it can read attendance the way you're describing, it can be used elsewhere. RFID doesn't magically turn itself completely off and not work outside of their schools.

Re:Battery? (2)

Ramley (1168049) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531497)

I actually went to the website, and if you read the FAQ:

"Q. What does this pilot cost and what is the projected additional revenue expected?
A. NISD will spend approximately $261,000 on this pilot for the two schools and expects to realize $2 million in additional revenues."

Re:Battery? (1)

John Napkintosh (140126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531593)

I thought this was about making sure students were coming to school on the days they should be, attending the classes that they should be, nor leaving campus during the day, etc. Now we're talking about revenue? From where does that revenue actually come?

Maybe... (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531039)

...just maybe if she didn't include a hypothesis that wasn't absolutely looney-tunes, she would have a better argument.

Using the bible as a basis for legal argument is dumb. It can be *part* of an argument, to show history, but this whole "mark of the beast" Revelations crap is just crap.

FTFA:

"The judge disagreed. In a 25-page ruling, he wrote that the Hernandezâ(TM)s refusal to wear the badge even without the tracking chip undermined her claims that the district was violating her religious freedom. âoePlaintiff's objection to wearing the Smart ID badge without a chip is clearly a secular choice, rather than a religious concern,â Garcia wrote."

Evangelicals drive around with drivers' licenses with numbers and a photo and other state/work/school IDs. They don't have a religious objection to those. So why is it suddenly a religious objection when it's a high school ID even without an RFID chip?

Someone's telling tall tales here, and it's not necessarily the school being mistaken about the utility of RFID off campus.

I want an argument against RFID badges that doesn't include a batshit-insane argument about Satan, because I think there are legitimate privacy concerns about RFID being trackable outside of their intended environments. But this gets drowned out in the herp-a-derp religiosity, which only paints those with real concerns as shiny-side-out tinfoil haberdashers.

This girl and her dad aren't helping. Not. One. Bit.

--
BMO

Re:Maybe... (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531075)

The Constitution and Supreme Court decisions don't agree with you.

Re:Maybe... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531179)

Let's see some citations for that.
I don't remember any constitutional clauses backing the apocalypse myths of any religion.

Re:Maybe... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531701)

Doesn't have to tie to apocalypse myths of any religion.

The First Amendment is explicit.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Prohibitions to the free exercise thereof include the following:

Wisconsin v. Yoder [wikipedia.org]
Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School District [wikipedia.org]
Rosenberger v. University of Virginia [wikipedia.org]

There's quite a bit more. Quite simply anything that impinges upon the free practice of religion (actual religion, not cults...) is barred to the Government in whole and the Supreme Court has consistently held this position- it's actually a bit of a non-starter if you have something along these lines going on. Might as well let it go, type thing. Thjs would be a solid example thereof.

Re:Maybe... (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531271)

>The Constitution

Where? Point this out. It's a relatively short document. This should be easy enough, right?

>and Supreme Court decisions don't agree with you.

Name them.

--
BMO

Re:Maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531093)

Because getting one of those other licenses is optional. School is compulsory.

Re:Maybe... (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531231)

Try going through life without a state issued ID.

--
BMO

Re: Try going through life without a state issued (1)

jabberw0k (62554) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531337)

I lived in Boston Massachusetts and was 33 before I got a driver's license. I did get a "Liquor ID Card" at age 25, which I used exactly once -- who wants to hang out in a smoky bar with a bunch of drunks? -- and then that "Liquor ID Card" sat in a drawer for years. So, until the late 90s I did not have any "identification papers" -- why would I need them in a free country?

Re: Try going through life without a state issued (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531467)

> why would I need them in a free country?

Because you live in civilization. We do not live in an anarchy.

But previously....

>So, until the late 90s

So you needed a state ID. You couldn't get through life without one at that point.

The government also assigned you a Social Security number and failing that, you got an IRS tax number, which identifies you in "the system." - because either one of these is mandatory to be able to file your taxes.

Why are these *not* a "Mark of the Beast" while a school ID *is*?

--
BMO

Re: Try going through life without a state issued (1)

fnj (64210) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531535)

why would I need them in a free country

Let me know when you find that "free country". It's sure as hell none of the countries I know about, including all the western democratic ones, are free.

Re: Try going through life without a state issued (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531673)

Cool story, bro...

Newsflash: times change. You cannot get away with the same shenanigans today that we got away with even as recently as the 80s. IDs are required for everything from opening a bank account, to turning on utilities, to buying a phone... and just try using that "free country" line when a police officer performs one of those random stops that have become so popular lately. You do need an ID in this country these days to operate within the law at any reasonable level.

Re:Maybe... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531323)

Tell that to the Republican Party.

Their voter ID scheme hinges on the idea that ID is already mandatory, ergo, applying it to voting is not an undue burden.

Micowave Oven (2, Interesting)

crmanriq (63162) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Micowave Oven (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531191)

Then get marked absent every day intil the trusnt officer shows up. great solution.

Re:Micowave Oven (3, Insightful)

Cigarra (652458) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531347)

It's not about a working tag or not. It's about COMPLIANCE. They will let her use a tag with the batteries removed, as long as she doesn't make waves and looks like she's OK with the system.

Re:Micowave Oven (2)

crmanriq (63162) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531459)

"It's not about a working tag or not. It's about COMPLIANCE."

Totally agree. And her religious objection is also about compliance. The school requires compliance, and her religious belief is that compliance endangers her soul.

So let the school think she is complying. When in reality she is sabotaging. Microwave, altered tag, forged tag. The school officials get to go "See. we get our way. She's being a good-little-citizen." All the while she can also say to herself (and her deity) "Look. I am not allowing them to put a number on me. I am not going along with their system. I am breaking their system."

And then she can convince a friend or two to "convert" to her church. And microwave/alter their tags. And then they can find friends. And if the school lets them run around with deactivated tags, then a trend starts. And in the end, the whole RFID tag concept goes out the window as an enormous waste of money.

Re:Micowave Oven (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531545)

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

Or expel you. Yes, school administrators will expel a student over something this petty.

Unique random ID *is* "useful information" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531059)

"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."

Joe Stalker sits in a car, watches student walk by, and notes the RFID that shows up on his scanner. From that point on the student is trackable by RFID.

Sure, the ID# doesn't provide any personal information by itself, but now any personal information that is found (e.g., follows student to home address) can now be uniquely associated with that student and tracked. The exact reason why a unique ID is useful in the school context is also why it would be equally useful in other contexts. If it works at all, then, yes, it does "work off campus". The fact that you can't access the school's database mapping from RFID to student personal information is irrelevant. Someone could build their own database.

Re:Unique random ID *is* "useful information" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531285)

But wouldn't it be just as useful if (as in your example, they're following the student to their home address) to just follow them without the RFID.

The school is right about it being non-useful, because ultimately an internal school number tied back to a physical person doesn't give anyone anything helpful. Yes, they could follow that RFID back to the student's house and use the personal information they find there for sinister purposes, but they could also just follow them in a car. Or on foot. The useful personal information they'll get from there is still there.

This Is How Most RFID Solutions Work (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531063)

Contrary to popular belief, most RFID systems do not store any information on the RFID tags. The tag simply has a unique serial number. The information is all in the back-end database, where they correlate the serial number to something. In this case, a student's record.

But, reading the RFID tag, without access to the database back-end, off campus will reveal only a number.

Now, the truly paranoid will note that, let's say, a coffee shop with an RFID reader could read that serial number connect it to a credit card transaction and then build/,maintain their own back-end and tracking capability. That's true, but you already gave them the credit card, they knew who you were without the RFID tag. But, they would be able to see when you were in the shop after that, even if you didn't do a credit card transaction.

Many Slashdotters have badges for work. The types of badges that have been in use since the 1990's. Many times, these badges are used to open doors and so forth. That's the EXACT same thing. An RFID serial number in the badge and a back-end database that assigns a name and access rights to that serial number.

Re:This Is How Most RFID Solutions Work (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531195)

You can however use it to track location once you know who holds what badge number.

Most slashdotters do not have these active RFID units, we have passive ones with much shorter useful ranges.

The student should just remove the battery at the end of each school day.

This wasn't about privacy. Not entirely. (3)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531067)

Andrea Hernandez is the student who refused to wear the badge because she believed it was the 'mark of the beast' and offended her religion. This case wasn't just about privacy. It was also about the boundry when a person's religion conflicts with secular regulations.

Easy Fix... (5, Funny)

kuhnto (1904624) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531207)

Easy Fix... Give her two badges. Once see determines the one that is the Serial number "of the Beast" she can turn that one in.

Re:Easy Fix... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531531)

kuhnto, you just blew my mind. That's genius.

Re:This wasn't about privacy. Not entirely. (1)

cigawoot (1242378) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531245)

If they're so concerned with it working off campus, have the badge shielded while outside the school, only take it out when needed. If wearing the badge offends their religion, permit them to have it in their pocket, ready for examination upon request.

Re:This wasn't about privacy. Not entirely. (1)

jellie (949898) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531321)

That's the thing about the case that bothers me the most. I'm not religious so I'm a little biased, but what exactly does the ID card have to do with the so-called "mark of the beast"? The school has a right (and well, responsibility) to know where students are during school hours, and takes attendance because it only receives money when students show up. The school even offered to disable the RFID, which should have dealt with the "mark" issue. And like the situation involving the nurse fired for refusing the flu shot, the policy is applied to everyone and isn't narrowly targeted at a small group. I fail to see how this is even a religious issue, other than some random defense against a rule that the girl and her father dislike. Or even another chance to claim "religious freedom!"

If the Antichrist were so evil, I think there would be more serious ways for he (it?) to make his presence known than as RFID. Business people and lawyers, for example.

Re:This wasn't about privacy. Not entirely. (2, Interesting)

Cigarra (652458) | about a year and a half ago | (#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:This wasn't about privacy. Not entirely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531399)

She used the religion card to get noticed after being blanked. Privacy rights are always ignored, so she used the system to get attention for the bigger issue.

Try keeping the personal attacks to yourself, you sound like a Fox News fan. Address the issue in hand, not the person raising it. This is very simple in this case: should a school funded by the tax payer be spending all this money on a tracking system that will offer no tangible educational benefits, won't improve standards or reduce costs. The single reason this system has been implemented is a commercial favor (do your own investigation on the decision makers and company concerned, you'll learn a couple of things).

Re:This wasn't about privacy. Not entirely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531621)

It was also about the boundry when a person's religion conflicts with secular regulations.

Or is it about the limits to which a person can use their professed religious beliefs to compel and control the state?

People make these arguments about ID cards all the time, demanding photo-less ID, or to wear face-obscuring headgear in the photos being taken.

At a certain point, somebody is just being too demanding.

And then there's this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531109)

PEPCO, the power utility that serves the District of Columbia, Prince George's County (MD), and most of Montgomery County (MD)
is being forced to offer non-RFID smart meters (http://germantown.patch.com/articles/pepco-required-to-provide-smart-meter-opt-out-plan-621fae3e)
to customers. The concerns, as further explained in a previously written article (http://chevychase.patch.com/articles/concerns-raised-about-smart-meters),
is that the meters emit radio frequencies. So, the concern isn't about the couple of hundred volts and amps that is coursing through the meter,
to power things that generate radio frequencies (really, how many homes in MoCo do you think are WiFi free?),
rather, the concern is about a few milliwatts originated by a device on the outside of a house.

Utility Off-Campus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531119)

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.

I'm going to have to disagree with the school district's claim. While a superficial, naive view assumes that a context-free serial number is useless, this issue has come up time and time again when discussing RFID. The problem is that it's still a unique identifier and can be correlated with other data as time goes on.

Re:Utility Off-Campus (1)

AlecC (512609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531257)

For example, a stalker could quite easily learn, on campus, what his target's RFID tag is, then build a gadget to report when they enter/leave their off-campus flat.

Mooo! (2)

halfkoreanamerican (2566687) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531127)

Well, they are about as useless off-campus as my thrown away bank documents that anyone with a decent brain could turn into money. People have been concerned about this same issue for years with passports--it just takes one terrorist to find out there's an 'american' in the room by scanning... and, well, you know the end of the story.

So... give them something they WANT! (3, Insightful)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531143)

I'll bet if they gave each student a free cell phone (which "may or may not" contain tracking technology) that they can keep with themselves during school, they'd be ALL over that!

Re:So... give them something they WANT! (1)

artfulshrapnel (1893096) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531487)

This. I'd say bundle it with a free android tablet or whatever, and require that tablet be on hand for class assignments and presentations. Social engineering beats legislation every time.

First Amendment (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531235)

The First Amendment rights of public school students "are not automatically coextensive with the rights of adults in other settings"

Really? Let's check the constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

(Amend. I)

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

(Amend. XIV 1)

Nope, I don't see "Except for students. Fuck students." in there anywhere!

This is bullshit. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531295)

If I have the tag's serial number, I can track her so long as she's within a set of zones (which is the REASON the school did this idiot thing in the first place...)- so, I have information about HER.

Sadly, the Judge was ignorant (as are most of the /. commentors on this subject) of just how it works and why one would want to use this sort of thing. For work, it semi makes sense to regulate access off of a proximity tag. The passive tags in your badges only work with pretty much near-field operation and only place you in time and space at the reader contact point- which acts like a key on steroids. These active tags, they're powered and they've got either greater range, faster turn on times, or both. They're not typically used in an application like this. Seriously. As you enter the field, yeah, you have an ID. If I'm stalking said child, I will work at peeling the serial off the tag and use a ranged reader to find the tag. As long as it's on her, I know PRECISELY where she is.

The school lied about the tags, and there's no excuses for what they're actually aiming for here. So what if she used a religious reason? It's valid per the Constitution. As is my line of reasoning. And...we won't get into just how expensive this system is and that it doesn't do ANYTHING for protecting the kids- all it does is turn them into cattle. Which is what the Government seems to think we all are.

Just nuke the card... (1)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531325)

Literally, toss it in the microwave and nuke it for a few seconds, that will destroy any electronics in it, leaving the badge in tact (well mostly except for maybe a few burn marks...

"Has the district committed perjury... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531383)

...by claiming that the active RFIDs magically deactivate themselves when off school property?"

No. They are probably stupid enough to believe it.

Tampering (1)

Korruptionen (2647747) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531429)

I wonder what the school's policy is on tampering with the device. Working for a Texas School not to terribly far away, I've wondered quite a bit about this case.

The school is willing to deactivate the device by taking the battery out... and if applicable to one student it would be applicable to all, no? So why not have all students just remove the batteries. System deactivated. Problem solved.

Technology replacing caring (2)

RussellTheMuscle (2783037) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531469)

As schools become larger (cost saving), some students get lost in the shuffle. Some are lost because they choose to be lost, and some just cannot connect to the environment. In place of knowing all of the students, these Texas principals have chosen to track them. They are not unique, just cutting edge. I have worked with few principals through the years who roamed the halls and knew the community. Our modern schools are statistical exercises. How much do we have to spend to ensure that the majority of the population receives enough education (standardized tests) so that the district cannot be questioned and can still justify administrative salaries? Currently we have numerous students taking remedial classes at colleges; this article: http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2013/01/students_can_avoid_remedial_co.html [cleveland.com] puts the number at 42%. And while it might be a good idea to better prepare students for university, Ohio has decided that that a 430 writing score is sufficient to deem a student ready to produce college level work in an Ohio collegiate English class (that is a 54% SAT score.) In the end the RFID tags are nothing more than a symptom of our current educational woes. They may solve the problem of the student who cuts class, but do not address the problem of what are we going to do with the students in class that will better prepare them to live a quality adult life whether or not they they choose to go on to college.

Student swapping IDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531473)

On the first day of the semester, just swap IDs with all your friends.

Duh.

The intent for these is probably just to be certain that students are in the building when they should be, not that they are in a specific classroom. The school does have a responsibility to the parents for knowing where the kids are and with the few crazy killings that have happened the last decade, this is what happens in a nanny-state. More tracking all the time thinking this will prevent the 1:1,000,000,000 thing that might happen.

Or just put the ID in your locker after arrival. Or pull the battery out or put it inside an Altoids tin Or wrap it in aluminum foil. Lots of ways to stop it from working.

Clearly terrorist could use any RFID tracking to set off selective bombs based on the RFID signatures. There was a popular youtube video a few yrs ago claiming that the new USA passports with RFID could be targetted for tracking overseas and targets of proximity sensitive attacks.

I should say that I have a metal wallet now that should prevent the RFIDs in credit cards from being read until I open it. That is the idea anyway.

RFID is a wireless barcode (2)

ilsaloving (1534307) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531505)

And after all, these kids are a product of their generation!

*rimshot*

Well no duh they lost (2)

artfulshrapnel (1893096) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531541)

They're being totally unreasonable. 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. They just needed to give her something with a barcode or whatever so she could check out books in the library and pay for school lunches under the new system. The dad still refused because the badge was now "the mark of the beast" and they would not "go against the teachings of the LORD." [emphasis not mine]

Thing is, she already carries a badge every day under their current system. He's claiming that a simple piece of ID has now become the work of Satan because someone asked to put an RFID chip in it, even if they change their mind and agree not to.

Define "work" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42531553)

Does the fact that the card's ID can be read off-campus necessarily mean that the card "works off-campus", or is "work" in this context defined more precisely as being able to identify a specific student by that ID and track his/her attendance, which is only feasible when using the database against which those IDs correlate? If the latter, then the badges, indeed, do not "work" off-campus.

All that aside, the entire argument is bunk. This is a pathetic attempt at attention-whoring, and the plaintiff is lucky that her identity is being shielded -- she would have precisely zero chance of working in any secured environment, in which direction her field of interest will trend, otherwise.

There is a simple solution to this (5, Insightful)

wcrowe (94389) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531589)

Every student should refuse to wear the badges. They don't have to destroy the badges or anything like that. Just get together and toss them in a big pile. Problem solved. They're not going to suspend every single student. Of course I come from the tail end of a generation where burning draft cards, holding sit-ins and other acts of civil disobedience were not such a foreign idea.

Re:There is a simple solution to this (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531697)

Every student should refuse to wear the badges. They don't have to destroy the badges or anything like that. Just get together and toss them in a big pile. Problem solved. They're not going to suspend every single student. Of course I come from the tail end of a generation where burning draft cards, holding sit-ins and other acts of civil disobedience were not such a foreign idea.

The compromise proposed was a student id without an RFID chip in it. Are you saying that students shouldn't even have to have student IDs or just RFID enabled ones?

It's not the RFID at issue here (1)

macshome (818789) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531599)

The family objects to any ID that has a number on it for religious reasons. They were offered a school ID without RFID and they turned it down.

Re:It's not the RFID at issue here (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42531687)

The family objects to any ID that has a number on it for religious reasons. They were offered a school ID without RFID and they turned it down.

What about drivers license, social security, bank accounts, postal address, ip address, etc. I don't mean to mock their religious beliefs, but I am curious at what level they are willing to compromise their values (if any)?

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