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11/20/2004 Archived Entry: "Kids and RFID"

Tje following commentary comes from Katherine Albrecht, CASPIAN Director, who writes, Why do creepy RFID initiatives seem to gravitate to Texas, even though Texans are among the most privacy and freedom-loving people in the nation? The latest assault involves the children of the Spring Independent School District, just north of Houston, where 28,000 students will soon be issued RFID badges that will track them as they get on and off school buses.

Apparently, RFID reader devices in the buses scan the kids and send their data across town to police and school officials. (Excuse me, did I read that right? Police?!?) Of course, since the kids could lose or trade their cards, some bright bulbs are already considering RFID implants as a more secure alternative. Despite the fact that no child has ever been lost or abducted in the Spring district, students are being RFID tagged "just in case" (and at a considerable cost, too).

This program, if allowed to continue, would mark a disastrous turn for privacy and civil liberties in this country and set a terrible precedent. The tracking of school children is especially loathsome, since not only are kids a captive audience (in this regard, public school students are second only to prisoners and the military), but they are not old enough to vote out the perpetrators -- or even to take their grievances against them to a court of law. The program's impact on kids is summed up in the words of a 15-year-old, quoted as saying the program "makes me feel kind of like an animal." Is this how we, as a society, actually plan to treat the next generation of Americans? Are we really so intent on numbering, watching, and dehumanizing kids that we will ignore the impact of our technology on their independence and psychological wellbeing?

Kids must rely on adults to let them know what is and isn't appropriate in a free society. We adults, who are older and wiser and know the historical dangers of unchecked government power, have an obligation to look out for their interests. We must take a stand to protect our kids -- and indeed, ourselves -- from the busybodies who would have us all under lock and key (for our own safety, of course) the moment we let our guard down.

CASPIAN has many committed, freedom-loving members in the Houston area. If you wonderful folks want to plan a time and a date to rally to these kids' defense, CASPIAN will get the word out to the media and spread the message around the world not to mess with Texas. (And especially not its kids!) Write us at "Houston @/at nocards.org" if you want to take a stand.

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