The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Tracking IDs spark students’ concern

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A San Antonio student’s lawsuit landed before a federal judge recently after her school began issuing student IDs embedded with microchips.

For her, the chips were morally wrong because they go directly against her Christian beliefs. Others seem to agree.

During a TCC ethics class discussion, one student commented that such microchips conflict with his Catholic upbringing as well. He views all such devices, even those used for medical identification, as a symbol of the “mark of the beast” mentioned in the Bible. His view mirrors the concerns of the San Antonio student’s lawsuit.

While many would argue that nearly everyone carries a cell phone with radio frequency identification transmitters installed, cell phones remain a matter of individual choice. School IDs generally do not.

Some schools have introduced locator IDs as a way to keep from losing funds. RFID-equipped IDs have the ability to track a student, so if he or she is on campus during roll call, the student can still be counted present. And the institution would still get the due amount of funding for the students even if they were sitting on the john, in the parking lot or texting in the hallway.

Whether the student is learning anything at the moment doesn’t seem to be a factor.

Well, that is a lame reason, especially for those of us who eagerly accepted those scannable grocery store cards that would save us money.

Little did we know that the card was fervently tracking our purchases, and now we are being offered special buys according to our previous buying habits. Was the trade off in savings worth our having complete strangers knowing how many pounds of bacon we eat or bottles of wine we consume per week?

And could locator IDs eventually make their way to TCC campuses? If so, the scenario could be even worse. The tracking devices could register how many times we eat at Subway or how often we visit the bookstore. Students may even wonder if they were being located off campus as well.

The United States is still based on democracy and a right to privacy. Before a school should decide matters that decrease individual privacy, why not put it to a vote and simply ask students if they are willing to have locator devices installed in their student IDs so the institution can enlarge its coffers?

It is often said that there is no such thing as a stupid question, but that question might actually fall in the category.

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