Austin – State Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) today filed SB 173, a bill that prohibits the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology by school districts to track or transmit information regarding public school students.
RFID is a tracking technology that uses radio waves to identify, track, and monitor physical objects. RFID tags can transmit data silently through the air, unhindered by doors, walls, backpacks, purses, or clothing.
Those opposed to using RFID tags to monitor school children note various concerns about the technology including violation of free speech and association, violation of religious freedom, conditioning children to be tracked and monitored, and invasion of privacy.
“I do not want our children and grandchildren to grow up in a world where this type of intrusive, big-brother surveillance is considered normal,” Senator Estes said. “This is the same type of technology used to track cattle, so it’s disturbing to me that we are now seeing government use that same surveillance technology to track and monitor our young citizens.”
In addition to civil liberty concerns, there are also fears that relying on the technology rather than observation would create security risks. For example, a student could be counted as present on campus by virtue of his or her RFID tag, but be miles away before his or her disappearance were noticed. Additionally, while RFID systems may be developed for use in a school, the RFID tags may be read covertly anywhere by anyone with the right reading device.
“Using RFID tags to track children is a perfect example of big-government run amuck. It’s time for legislators to step in and protect our citizens’ privacy,” Estes said.
Estes serves nearly 820,000 constituents across Senate District 30 which includes all of Archer, Clay, Cooke, Erath, Grayson, Jack, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Wichita, Wise, and Young counties and parts of Collin and Denton counties.
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