Monday, July 07, 2008

Governor Vetoes Anti-Tracking Legislation

Projo carried an end-of-the year follow-up article on Middletown's pilot use of student tracking devices. Elementary students at Aquidneck school this year were tracking for one semester in a pilot program. Radio detector tags were placed on students' backpacks.

During the legislative session a bill was introduced and passed prohibiting the use of such tracking devices on students. The fears were that the devices could be used for other tracking with/without permission and that acess to the tracking system could be gained by unauthorized persons.

The guv vetoed the legislation, “in certain circumstances, it may be helpful for schools to have the ability to quickly identify where each of their students is located.”

Rep. Charlene Lima (D-Cranston), the House bill sponsor, "said it is one thing if parents wish to monitor their children...however the government should not have a role in tracking people.” The ACLU aslo weighed in against this type of student tracking which deletes our civil rights to privacy. Kids have rights, too.

"The Mobile Accountability Program, or MAP, was the brainchild of Collins’ brother, Chris Collins, a former engineering director at GTECH who left his job to start MAPIT Corp." The program was tested in a free semester-long pilot program at one school. Edward Collins, Middletown's facilities director, is the brother of the MAPIT Corp. owner. The results, along with comments made by school personnel, will now be used to promote and sell this technology to school system. Good luck with no $. Aquidneck School had a 90% participation rate.

The use of this technology is prohibited in Calif. & some other states have it on their agendas.
“If you want to make sure a kid is on the bus, why not just count them?” said Guilherme Roschke, a fellow at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy protection research center in Washington, D.C. Roschke said similar proposals in other states typically haven’t been accompanied by data or research that shows why the tracking technology is necessary.
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