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Students can be made to wear chips

SAN ANTONIO — A public school district in Texas can require students to wear locator chips when they are on school property, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday in a case raising technology-driven privacy concerns among liberal and conservative groups alike.

US District Judge Orlando Garcia said the San Antonio Northside School District had the right to expel sophomore Andrea Hernandez, 15, from a magnet school at Jay High School, because she refused to wear the device, which is required of all students.

The judge refused the student’s request to block the district from removing her from the school while the case works its way through the federal courts.

The American Civil Liberties Union is among the rights organisations to oppose the district’s use of radio frequency identification, or RFID, technology.

“We don’t want to see this kind of intrusive surveillance infrastructure gain inroads into our culture,” ACLU senior policy analyst Jay Stanley said. “We should not be teaching our children to accept such an intrusive surveillance technology.”

The district’s RFID policy has also been criticised by conservatives, who call it an example of “big government” further monitoring individuals and eroding their liberties and privacy rights.

The Rutherford Institute, a conservative Virginia-based policy centre that represented Hernandez in her federal court case, said the ruling violated the student’s constitutional right to privacy, and vowed to appeal. (Reuters)

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