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back to article Texan schoolgirl expelled for refusing to wear RFID tag

A plan by a San Antonio school district to continuously monitor its students using RFID has run into legal problems after one of them took a stand against being forced to use the tracking technology. Northside Independent School District (NISD) in San Antonio, Texas has spent over $500,000 on its "Student Locator Project," a …

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again???

Presumably speed (or the lack therefore) of communication in those days was a major pain in the proverbial, so I would imagine that much like science fiction authors everywhere do, the author was imagining that the future would solve issues that they had in the present day, i.e. by having instant communication between far away places.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again???

Its the first time I've heard of an actual use for the religion that was forced on me at school.

Using it to stop them forcing an RFID tag on me.

Nice one.

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IT Angle

Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again???

"You mean, most non-Muslims who think they've "read the Koran" are considered to be wrong by those who believe it to be more than just a book."

Actually, I think that's exactly what he means. As far as I can tell, the believers use the term "Koran" for the word of God. If you happen to read and write Arabic, it is possible to reproduce those words in book form as a mnemonic, but that book isn't the real Koran and (quite possibly) unless you are a true believer merely reading the mnemonic won't count. I assume you have to be moved by the spirit to hear the actual words whilst reading before it actually counts.

IT angle: It's a bit like the difference between an EXE file and a running program.

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TRT
Silver badge

Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again???

"that book isn't the real Koran"

Try setting light to one, and you'll quickly see just how "real" it is perceived to be!

I do agree with you though. Until it is read, understood, believed etc. it's merely ink and paper.

Analogy - colour. What exactly is it?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dammit

Actually, freedom of taught and freedom of speech are closely related to freedom of religion.

You may call it BS, but it for sure adds a lot to the argumentation. Just look at US court-cases related to freedom of speech.

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Megaphone

Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again???

Nice one then you also know she's called "Babylon the Great", and perhaps understand what that represents?

And then you have probably also identified the beast she's riding, the very beast that will devour her.

Basically that means, if it is as you say that religion is the last bastion against being tracked, say goodbye to a life where you'r not being tracked. At least for an hour.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again???

> Love the way that you are factually correct, but got down-voted anyway

Veti is only factually correct if you believe that the koran is god's own words and becomes mere human words once translated.

According to Veti's logic I have never read War and Peace because I never read it in its original Russian language.

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Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again???

"He's only factually correct if you accept his basic assumption that the Arabic Koran is the divinely dictated word of God."

Not really, to my mind. I wouldn't call a Chinese-translated version of Shakespeare or Mort D'Arthur Shakespeare or Mallory. I'd call it 'a translated version of the Shakespeare/Mort D'Arthur/Koran [or however you care to spell it! Hell: If we can't even get the title in an agreeable English form, it just illustrates my point].

I'm willing to accept that enough nuance can be lost in translation to make the translation 'unworthy' of maintaining the original title and 'authority' on linguistic grounds, without needing to drag mysticism into it.

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Pint

Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again???

"According to Veti's logic I have never read War and Peace because I never read it in its original Russian language."

So you got all the puns, allusions to Russian sayings, cultural references, word play, etc?

You've read it, but you haven't fully comprehended 100% of the subtleties. So you've missed part of the message. Only a small part, but to my mind - when conveying matters of philosophy and religion - that small, subtle part could be argued as being crucial.

Just sayin'!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again???

Well if you actually read the revelation about the mark, you find it in Rev 13:18. Then read the next verse Rev 14:1 and you see an other mark of different origin. And that one is for sure not physical.

The reason why some Christians think it could be an ID or especially an RFID is due to what's stated in 13:17 that nobody might be able to buy or sell except a person having the mark.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again???

Well you prob should go to Certain Baltic States for hilarity, they "officially" at any rate, localise "all" foreign gents' names with an "S" or "IS" at the end both forename and surname, and all ladies names with "E' or possibly "A".This is so that they kinda match the local ones. And that's just the start, sometimes they need new double vowels or "Dž" because there is no "J".

So, for example, for film stars, they have "Šons Bīns" , for pronunciation, the Š is a "sh" and the Ī is an "ee". That's right- yer man from "Game Of Thrones"..... a missed film product placement opportunity if ever there was one! ;)

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Mushroom

@AC Who read the Book of Mormon....

I'm with you on this one. I read it for a laugh to see what was in it. Quite frankly I was laughing my ass off and more than a little surprised that these people couldn't smell bullshit. I mean would you or anyone here believe someone if they were told what had happened to them but that they couldn't see the "plates" with the text on them? I mean REALLY?!!??!? Yeah sure Joe Ill believe you on this one. I mean whats the worst that could happen.

As for this girl taking a stand I applaud her. It takes a brass set to stand up to these idiots who think doing something like this is a good idea. I mean making it so you HAVE TO HAVE these tags on for some of the bathrooms? I really find it hard to believe whoever thought that part was a GOOD idea shouldn't be in jail for invasion of privacy and or child endangerment because if someone was to be a kiddie fiddler working there they could have a perfect idea when someone was doing something so they could get pics/videos/etc of said person/act. REALLY!??!!???

I hope she wins and this kind of shit is stopped before it gets to be too big.

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Boffin

Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again???

@AC 15:43

Thing is, no-one cares enough about the precise wording of 'War & Peace' to make that claim. You're not about to take a (translated) quotation from it as evidence that all Russians are savages, and a Russian isn't about to take a quote from it as their reason for stoning an adulteress. It just doesn't matter that much.

The Koran does. The precise wording of it is incredibly important. To get a feel for just how important, consider that the Gospel of St John refers to Christ himself as "the Word" of God.

To Muslims, the Koran isn't "their equivalent of the Bible", it's "their equivalent of Jesus Christ". That's part of the reason why they get so upset when people burn it.

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Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again??? (@ Psyx, 22nd November 2012 17:31 GMT )

"You've read it, but you haven't fully comprehended 100% of the subtleties. So you've missed part of the message"

So, following that reasoning, 99.99% of Christians haven't read the Bible. That explains lots of things! ;)

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Re: Dammit

AC @ 04:04: Fair call that.

AC @ 15:35: Claiming your religious freedom is being infringed when it isn't still adds nothing to the debate.

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Big Brother

Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again???

Long time reader, first time contributer so excuse the AC.

Ive read the Quran in both Arabic and English and trust me they are different enough to be significant. Far be it for me to comment on the spiritual consequences of the changes in content but my own analogy would be how northerners have many different words for bread (bap, barn cake, butty, teacake etc) classical Arabic tends to have this for a variety of concepts, which i found difficult to get my head round.

Personally the biggest difference is in terms of form, the Arabic version reads like poetry and can be lovely just to hear or read aloud (despite not having a clue whats going on).

So, I would deff give credence to those who make the claim, that to have read the Quran is to have read it in its original form (whilst to understand it requires a fair amount of contextual knowledge)

On topic: i wouldn't say 500k is too much, i suspect there was significant software dev. Also most work places tend to have RFID type systems for entry and exit to various spaces. And I am one of those "baddies" that has exploited such data for a variety of ends. So although i can sympathies with the Rutherford people's claim that this is the sharp end of the wedge, i hate to break it to 'em the thick end is already reality later on in life.

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Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again??? @Richard 81

I'm not sure that you understand how much is lost in translation. I tried reading a translation of the Quran myself (I'm pretty much agnostic and was doing it to try to understand the background to the religious conflicts, in the same way that I've read the Bible and the Book of Mormon), and the mess that was the translation I was reading must be poor, because it was difficult to read, and contradicted itself within a few pages. I got about a third of the way through before losing interest.

I've been told by someone who can read Arabic that it is a very difficult language to translate without losing some of the meaning, because the structure of the language differs in several fundamental ways from European languages. I cannot confirm this from first hand knowledge, but I am prepared to believe it.

Thus, I believe that to get the maximum benefit of the Quran, it is necessary to learn and understand (grok?) Arabic, such that you don't need to translate to comprehend.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dammit

it's also possible that the religion angle was just that. the religion angle is the only way parents are able to avoid a disageeable vaccine, for instance, even though it doesn't have any practical relation other than as a loophole in the law/rules.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again???

wasn't all PIRA, you know. some of those bombers were british intel or funded by them. england could have just decided not to invade and occupy their own relatives, the whole time miustakenly believing them to be of different blood.

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Facepalm

Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again???

Okay, so according to the (translated, transliterated, probably largely MUNGed) legend,

"The Mark of the Beast" (*tm) is applied to:

A) The right hand.

B) The forehead.

Taking into account the difficulty in translating Sanskrit / Arameic into English, this plausibly implicates mobile phones, wristwatches, baseball caps, gloves, jewellery, hair, inoculation scars, lobotomies etc... etc... as "The Mark of the Beast" (*tm).

Given the way a lanyard is worn, it's a weak argument at best, to deny that all these other contrivances could be "The Mark of the Beast" (*tm) and cry foul over this one thing which (quite rightly) makes you feel uneasy.

Don't know where I'm going with this, but, yeah, anyway.

Down with this sort of thing!

Both the unneccesary surveillance and the mumbo-jumbo.

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Happy

Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again???

Or Mary Visconti, as she was at the time.

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Bronze badge

Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again???

>Love the way that you are factually correct, but got down-voted anyway, just because someone doesn't like religion!

Love the way that someone can get their 'factually correct' facts wrong and get upvoted just because people have studied neither Islam nor comparative religion.

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RFID?

Good for her, but why do they need RFIDs? All they need to do is install a bit of equipment to track the mobile phones that all the kids at school have these days, and they'll be able to track them outside school as well :-)

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Re: RFID?

To track a phone it would have to be in use for a phone call, sending/receiving data, etc. Otherwise it's location would only be generally known as being 'somewhere near the base station' when it does a Location Area Update (or whatever the 3G equivalent of that is these days). And that'd be no better than knowing that it's somewhere in the school...

Mind you, I reckon that kids' phones are probably permanently on Facebook, etc. so no problems there...

Back in the old days when I were a lad every school had a much more effective way of finding kids that were bunking off. In my school he was called Mr Simmonds, and he could find anyone, anywhere, either in the school or in town. Don't they have people like that in schools these days?

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Holmes

Re: RFID?

So how is it possible to find the location of a mobile within a few feet without making a call to it. With sufficiently sensitive equipment it is possible to interrogate a SIM card without the phone being switched on.

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Devil

Re: RFID?

That's actually not a terrible idea!

Use WiFi and associate the phones' MACs with the students - give phone-less students a free smartphone (should also help the scheme be more popular), then use existing (or new, if they can't be used) access points to triangulate students' locations.

Cost: if (big if) existing APs can be used and they don't need to buy tons of new phones, then pretty cheap - loading the software and a few days on-site calibrating the triangulation.

Bonus: You're able to detect people wandering around who shouldn't be there. Legit visitors can have their phones registered onto the system at reception.

I did consider that the kids would just switch them off, but if it's the 'official' method of registration for classes, then phone off = truancy, regardless of whether you're off site or not.

NOTE: just a thought exercise, I actually really disagree with tracking and monitoring kids like this!

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Anonymous Coward

@bazza, your wrong, mobiles to not need to be in use, just on

That is all.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: RFID?

So true about Mr. Simmonds!

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Re: RFID?

Yeah - that will work wonders with smartphones nowadays having a battery life just a touch longer than an ant's attention span. Dead battery = truancy.

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Re: RFID?

If the aim of the system is just to take attendance and make sure kids are at school and not truanting (and also for valid fire-safety reasons eg make sure that everybody s out if there is an evacuation), then Oyster-like scanners that just show the kids checking in and out of school should be enough. No need to track their movement inch by inch and keep track of when they're going to the john.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @bazza, your wrong, mobiles to not need to be in use, just on

@AC Posted Thursday 22nd November 2012 09:22 GMT

"@bazza, your wrong, mobiles to not need to be in use, just on"

Well if you know of a way for a school to pinpoint a non-radiating mobile phone whilst staying on the right side of the laws concerning spectrum abuse, privacy, investigatory powers, illegal intercept and physics I suggest you patent it or, more likely, go back to telecoms, physics and engineering school to learn why your idea doesn't work.

And even if the phone is doing background email polling (so not a Blackberry then, their push is 'receive only' so far as the phone is concerned which is why their battery life is good) you can't lawfully detect, geolocate and identify it without a warrant. Good luck on getting one of those!

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Boffin

Quite right too!

She's at a science academy and didn't use science (like a lead shield), or engineering (like a hammer) to maintain her privacy? Disgraceful!

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Re: Quite right too!

Science and religion don't mix. Her religious beliefs should send her to Christian school

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Re: Quite right too!

I thought the simple, student style method of rejecting this system would be to anonymize it.. Just swap tags with each other every couple of days.

That way the powers that be would know where students go, just not which ones.

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@Steve Evans

If this is also about truancy I don't see why the kids couldn't rotate carrying several tags at once. It would work a treat until the teachers realized that something was amiss when RFID attendance was 100% even though only 10% of the children were actually present.

The kids could go a step further and wear several fake lanyards to have the school checking them all the time or better yet a daily ritual of "gee, I don't know why it stopped working? Yes, I do still have the Tesla coil and Jacob's Ladder from my science fair project, why do you ask?" Once the school replaced each a few hundred times they might realize it wasn't such a bright idea. Kids these days, they really should learn a little about passive (well covert-aggressive) resistance.

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PT

Re: @Steve Evans

For those without a Tesla coil, one second in the microwave is equally effective on RFID chips.

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Re: @Steve Evans

Passive resistance by students to anything at school always seemed to get the desired effect. Just shows we are bringing up a society where kids now accept being tracked. In 20 years time we will all be tracked and maybe it will be down to our generation to rebel?

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Re: @Steve Evans

indeed. RFIDs dont work very well once you have drilled through the antenna.

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DN4
Thumb Up

Excellent

I like where this leads. Please, please track everyone using mobile phones and make it the ultimate tracking technology. Then I will become invisible to tracking for free.

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DN4

Re: Excellent

Should have been a reply to http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2012/11/21/schoolgirl_expelled_rfid_chip/#c_1632382

Not sure how I managed to start a new thread....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Excellent

snip/ free.... without a cellphone /snip

except, someone (French) was arrested for allegedly being suspiciously WITHOUT a cellphone

that was a couple of years ago mind, related news surfaced this week that the UK secret cops with long-hair were very much (allegedly) involved in this French bust of an anarchist cell, triggered by not having a cell

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Terminator

"We've got one here who can see." - They live. 1988.

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Nice one.

Good film.

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OTT

From my UK viewpoint, this scheme seems very invasive and will probably be a white elephant. I'm sure students could work out ways of fooling the system. After all, they're meant to be bright young things!

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Re: OTT

Indeed...

If it's essentially a necklace thing, what's to stop me from... say... taking it off? Unless it's more of a collar design.

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Re: OTT

Considering it's needed to open the library (to check out books you need for homework), the cafeteria (so you can have lunch), or the toilet (every so often you can't hold it in), I think those would stop you from taking it off. As for shielding, as they're meant to be shown out in the open, any kind of shielding would likely be visible, too.

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Re: OTT

Just get your friend to carry your lanyard/rfid to all those lessons when you have better things to do.

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Re: OTT

It'd take the average kid mere moments to workout the likely efficacy of 30sec in a microwave.... Get it right and it's just a "failed card" with no external sign that it's been zapped. It would then be very difficult to pin the blame on the kid.

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Silver badge

You've got the right idea...

...but I've a feeling 30 seconds in a microwave might just result in plenty of external signs that it's been zapped.

I'll just go and put my office access card in the microwave to test this... Be right back!

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Re: OTT

How would you get into the toilet or checkout a library book with a zapped card?

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