Monthly Archives: November 2012

Texas School District want case to be heard in federal court

Northside Independent School District want Andrea Hernandez’s case moved to a federal court “In a move aimed at sidestepping a potentially unfavorable state court hearing” states the Rutherford Institute

MySanantonio.com goes on to say “A hearing scheduled in state district court Wednesday on her request for a  temporary injunction to keep her at her magnet school at Jay  High School was canceled after the district asked that the case be moved to  federal court.

Since the student, Andrea  Hernandez, has said wearing the badge violates her religious beliefs,  Northside’s attorneys are arguing it’s a federal constitutional issue.

Neither a judge nor a date for a federal hearing has been set.”

Judge rules against school on RFID tracking case

Student Wins Tracking ID Case reports Frontpagemag.com

Sanity, thankfully, has prevailed in the case of Andrea Hernandez who has been incredibly brave standing up to the school’s absolute instance that she wears RFID chip or pretends to and that she stops protesting or she gets expelled. This plucky teenager said no!

This from the Rutherford Institute who took Andrea Hernandez’s case to court:  “A court has temporarily blocked The Northside Independent School District from suspending high school sophomore, Andrea Hernandez, for her noncompliance with a neck badge that monitors student movement throughout the campus via a Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) chip.

A federal court judge ruled that John Jay High School principal Robert Harris’s actions were a violation of Hernandez’s rights to freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion. Hernandez will also receive compensation, the amount of which will be determined during a trial, according to court documents.”

After enduring threats from the school district:
 “As we discussed, there will be consequences for refusal to wear an ID card as we begin to move forward with full implementation.”  Andrea and her family have done really well in this instance, with privacy groups and alternative media highlighting her situation and  drawing attention to this heavyhanded approach from the school and school district.

A surprising aspect of this case was that the school and the school district were so unwavering in their insistence that Andrea wore RFID.  Insistence which seemingly will involve the school paying compensation to Andrea for their discrimination and disregard for civil liberties.

The question has to be asked, just what was the school and school district trying to achieve here because this dogged insistence did not seem solely about attendance figures and financial gain.  Was the school that desperate to throw away civil liberties for cash?  Just what, exactly, are we teaching our kids?

Andrea is a shining example of a human spirit standing up for what she believes is right and this has been a very valuable lesson for all students.  Children have most probably learnt more from this brave individual than any teacher could have taught them in school about civil liberties.

‘Anonymous’ takes down Texan RFID-tracking school

This from the Register – http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/27/annymous_takes_down_northside_independent_school_district_as_revenge_for_rfid_tracking/

“Activist group Anonymous, or persons using its insignia and name, claim to have taken down the website of the US schools that have made it compulsory for students to wear RFID tags.”

“And we can look at them in groups, such as peer groups.”

According to an article from April 2012 in RFID Journal, [NB. This RFID Journal article was withdrawn from the RFID Journal’s website w/c 7 Jan 2013.  A Copy of the article (pdf) is here and here is the original article on the Internet Archieve Wayback Machine] West Cheshire College are RFID tracking 5,500 full-time students and have been doing so since 2010.

After the opening of its new campus at Ellesmere Port, Liverpool, the college “has successfully implemented Zebra’s real time location tracking solution with the ability to track and increase the visibility of 20,000 students across its two campuses” states Zebra Technologies, the US company who supplies the RFID tracking system.

Kevin Francis, West Cheshire College’s Building Services Area Manager, uses an interesting choice of language on Zebra Technologies website  [ NBZebra Technologies withdrew the article from their website late February/early March 2013. A copy of the press release (pdf) is here  and this is Internet Archive Wayback Machine’s link to the original webpage] to describe the college’s reasons for buying the technology – using the terms “asset tracking”  and  “optimizing our learning resources.” (referring to the students presumably?) with “specialist location solution capabilities” .  Are these phrases we may be hearing more of as other schools follow suit?

This all boils down to funding, states the RFID Journal :

“…the school also plans to utilize the RTLS [Real Time Location System] solution to reliably, quickly and accurately track student attendance, and to document that each student’s attendance record matches the actual number of hours for which the college receives funding (a process that is currently manual and time-consuming).”

It could be argued that an alternative method, other than RFID tagging students, could be found that would not be manual and time consuming.  An alternative, less invasive attendance system could be implemented, one that does not involve the college’s knowledge of each students every move.

The accurate attendance of students and the financial rewards that may reap from RFID tracking pupils is not the college’s only reason for locating the students and staff in real time, as Kevin Francis states to the RFID Journal:

Francis says this software will provide “reports if [students or staff] are leaving early,” stating,
“We can search for individual [students or staff]. And we can look at them in groups, such as peer groups.”  (Why?)

The privacy implications for the use of RFID technology constantly tracking a persons every move are massive, possibly insidious and very much open to abuse.  Clearly, as stated by Kevin Francis in the RFID Journal’s article, West Cheshire College will not just be monitoring attendance levels but will also be looking at individual associations.  The technology will reveal where students are with Real Time Location Systems.

How will this affect student and staff behaviour?  Trips to the toilet – been there too long?  Too many visits to a school nurse?  Student/staff relationship?  Students relationships?  Who has access to this information?

This RFID technology tracking humans in real time certainly raises more questions, than solutions it provides.

Judge blocks schools move to expel non RFID student

A judge has postponed the suspension of 16 year old high school student, Andrea Hernandez, for refusing to wear RFID chip…

This in from Wired Magazine
2:30 p.m. PST UPDATE
: A local Texas judge
on Wednesday tentatively blocked the suspension, pending further hearings next week
.

From the Rutherford Institute:
“The Rutherford Institute’s request for a temporary restraining order to prevent Northside Independent School District from removing a San Antonio high school student from John Jay High School’s Science and Engineering Academy because she objected to wearing a name badge signifying participation in the school district’s new “Student Locator Project.” The badges include tiny Radio Frequency Identification (“RFID”) chips that produce a radio signal, enabling school officials to track students’ precise location on school property”

20,000 RFID tagged students in UK?

West Cheshire College, England, UK, uses RFID to track up to 20,000 students? – and not a mention on their website? –  the US company who has sold them the technology uses our UK school to promote their RFID technology.

With the school’s Building Services Manager travelling all the way to Orlando, Florida to promote/advertise the system:

“The college opted to deploy Zebra’s UWB tags and reader infrastructure because they provided reliable and more accurate location data—and at less cost compared with a Wi-Fi-based system—Kevin Francis, West Cheshire College’s building services area manager, told attendees at RFID Journal LIVE! 2012, held last month in Orlando, Fla.”

(Nice perk of the job there Kevin)

Kevin Francis, West Cheshire College’s Building Services Area Manager
http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/view/9476/2
[NB. This RFID Journal article was withdrawn from the RFID Journal’s website w/c 7 Jan 2013 – The same month the college refused to answer Freedom of Information request on how consent was gained from the students.
A copy of the article (pdf) is here and here is the original article on the Internet Archieve Wayback Machine]

Student suspended for not wearing RFID

Well it has happened – pure discrimination against a human not choosing not to be tagged with RFID, in this – possibly first case of RFID discrimination – a child.  USA you should be proud to have reached the heady heights of the big brother state that your rivals China, North Korea, Russia have not even achieved.

School student Andrea Hernandez, 16 years old, is suspended for refusing to wear an RFID lanyard.  The Northside School District has not wavered at all in this and now Andrea is taking legal action against the school.

Is this what children can look forward to in a “democracy”?  No religious right of expression if it doesn’t suit the establishment?  Even on privacy grounds, or for any reason, children and parents should be able to refuse carrying RFID.  It is a gross invasion of privacy and apart from that invasion the technology has not yet proved it is safe for health reasons.

Hernandez was told she would be expelled and transferred to another high school in the district that had not yet adopted the tags, if she refused to comply.

The teen is now taking the school to court in a bid to overturn the decision.

Hernandez is backed by civil liberties organisation The Rutherford Institute, which has accused district authorities of implementing the program purely as a money-making scheme.

“There is something fundamentally disturbing about this school district’s insistence on steamrolling students into complying with programs that have nothing whatsoever to do with academic priorities and everything to do with fattening school coffers,” Institute president John Whitehead said.”

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/student-takes-school-to-court-after-being-suspended-for-refusing-to-wear-tracking-device/story-fnet08ui-1226522006688#ixzz2Cwk7kElA

Rutherford Institute – https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/on_the_front_lines/texas_school_kicks_student_out_of_magnet_program_for_refusing_to_wear_smart

Infowars – http://www.infowars.com/preliminary-injunction-sought-in-school-rfid-tracking-badge-case/

ZDNet – http://www.zdnet.com/student-expelled-for-refusing-to-wear-rfid-tracking-chip-badge-7000007723/

Russia Today – http://rt.com/usa/news/rfid-badge-texas-hernandez-269/