Weatherford Democrat

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January 18, 2013

Estes bill targets RFID technology in schools

By CHRIS AGEE

District 30 State Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, whose constituency includes Parker County, recently filed a bill that would prohibit radio frequency identification by Texas school districts.

The technology, which uses radio waves to identify and track nearly anything, can transmit data through most surfaces.

Estes' office recently released a press release detailing his opposition to using RFID tracking to monitor students while in school.

"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," Estes said.

The press release listed several concerns of those opposed to RFID tags in schools, such as potential free speech violations, invasion of privacy, and conditioning children to being tracked and monitored.

"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," Estes added.

Estes' statement also suggested use of RFID tags could present its own security risks.

Anyone with a reading device can gain access to the information contained in the tags, the press release read. Furthermore, the statement concluded, teachers could rely on the technology rather than observation, potentially leading to a school believing a student is present without recognizing his or her disappearance.

Estes called the practice of monitoring students with RFID tags "a perfect example of big government run amok," adding, "It's time for legislators to step in and protect our citizens' privacy."

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