In Bexar County, Texas (for those unfamiliar: that's where San Antonio is), the Northside ISD is implementing a pilot program at one of their High Schools to add an RFID tag to student ID cards, and use that to track attendance.
Now, I'm normally a huge fan of privacy and a huge opponent of any kind of "official" snooping by a government agency. When I read about this, I expected to be highly offended, but I'm not.
Let me explain.
I have no problem with an employer doing exactly this thing. I know the limitations of RFID, so I know there's really only so much knowledge they can gain. So if my employer were to implement something exactly like this, I would have no problem with it.
So, as far as being on school grounds, I have no problem with students being "tracked," that is, as much as an RFID allows your movements to be tracked (that is: not a lot).
What about privacy, though? Well, what about it. If they went all out and had RFID scanners in every classroom, bathroom, office, and so forth, all they'd really know is that the ID with RFID Tag such-and-such was in room such-and-so at whatever-time. And it's unlikely they'd spend that kind of money. It's far more likely that they'd have scanners at the entrances to log when a student entered or left the building. And I fully agree that they should get to know and log that information. I'll go further, if they wanted to implement a joined system that allowed them to use video as well- so they could make sure the right student had the right ID, or notice when someone without an ID entered campus, for instance, I'd be fine with that, too. The school building is "public" in that it's owned by local government (the School District), but it's really a restricted use building, and I'm okay with that.
Outside of school, the IDs would have no effect. Or, rather, if you were concerned about them having an effect you could simply leave the card at home while you went off to do whatever. So their ability to "track" you outside of school is virtually nil.
So, why am I blogging about this then? I hate the growth of the police state. I think that's clear from my posts. So, when an item like this gets my attention, I feel it's necessary- to provide the proper balance- to note when something that could be seen as "intrusive" really isn't.