08.27.2010 0

School District Considers GPS Tracking of Students

It seems every day we read or hear about another invasion of our privacy that is being suggested or implemented under the guise of public safety or security.

Our cell phones have Global Positioning Satellite chips to allow the location of the phone to be tracked, and if you have OnStar, your car can be tracked. Our streets our covered in traffic cameras, ATM cameras and private security cameras which seemingly hang from every pole. Prying eyes can even look through our clothes as we attempt to board an airplane, all under the guise of security. The federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals even recently ruled that the government can put a GPS device on our vehicles and track our every move.

In Great Britain, the incredibly clear images from one of those on the street “Big Brother” cameras has become an Internet sensation as tens of thousands of people worldwide have viewed the video of a woman approaching a cat, petting the cat, then picking the animal up and dropping it into a trash dumpster.

Here in the U.S., mobile vans are being equipped with full body scanning technology to be able to peer into trunks of vehicles without the 4th amendment search warrant inconvenience. The manufacturer claims that the vans are not being equipped with strong enough equipment to prowl our streets as mobile peeping toms. Of course, we were also assured that the airport equipment would not be saving the under clothing images of innocent travelers, only to learn that many of those images are in fact archived.

Now, technology salesmen are busily attempting to convince school districts to incorporate GPS tracking identification microchips into student identification cards, backpacks, laptops and other devices, under the guise of keeping children safe from predators. Of course, the fallacy is that these GPS devices will be easily removed from the child by anyone with ill intent, and will serve little if any purpose.

With the massive assault underway on our privacy for security purposes, it is not hard to imagine the next obvious step, one that is already being done with pets: Putting the chips under the skin of the child to ensure non-removable identification, and in the human version, tracking of any child.

While this last step may be a few years away, it is not hard to imagine, with the tracking system proposed in New Canaan, Connecticut, school administrators busily studying their computer screen layouts of the campus tracking their favorite students as they head to the classroom, locker room and down the hall to the restroom.

Every day it seems more probable than ever that in the near future, science fiction novelists’ and film makers’ prophetic visions of a society with little personal privacy will unfold. Let’s hope our local school boards don’t speed up this grim future using the misguided excuse of increasing student security.

Rick Manning is the Director of Communications for Americans for Limited Government.

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