June, 2012 - Surveillance News

Domestic Surveillance Drones
May Get Armed

A May 23, 2012, article at CBSDC.com, quotes Chief deputy Randy McDaniel, of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office in Texas, that surveillance drones might be armed with rubber bullets and tear gas, because, “Those are things that law enforcement utilizes day in and day out and in certain situations it might be advantageous to have this type of system on the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle).” Deputy McDaniel also said, “We’ve never gone into surveillance for sake of surveillance unless there is criminal activity afoot ...Just to see what you’re doing in your backyard pool — we don’t care.”   Catherine Crump, a staff attorney with the ACLU, said, “It’s simply not appropriate to use any of force, lethal or non-lethal, on a drone,” and, “The prospect of people out in public being Tased or targeted by force by flying drones where no officers is physically present on the scene raises the prospect of unconstitutional force being used on individuals.”

Sources:  cbsdc.com, “Groups Concerned Over Arming Of Domestic Drones,” May 23, 2012:  http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/05/23/groups-concerned-over-arming-of-domestic-drones/

Texas School District Plan
RFID-Chip Program
For Student ID Cards

Radio frequency Identification System (RFID) tags will be implanted in student ID cards in some Texas schools as part of a pilot program.  The program, currently to be tested in two schools and for  all special education students, may eventually expand to all of the approximately 100,000 students in the Northside Independent School District, according to a May 24, 2012, article.   The article, by Francisco Vara-Orta, also states that  the pilot program -- which will cost $525,065 to implement and $136,005 per year to run -- will involve about 6,290 students, who will receive the $15.00 cards for the fall session.  The students must pay for a replacement card if the original card is lost.   The district spokesperson said the technology will “make schools safer, [they will] know where our students are all the time in a school, and increase revenues.”   The card-readers will be installed on school grounds and buses, but cannot track a student when the student leaves school property.  The program will “more than pay for itself,” according to one school official, because the school district would receive $1.7 million next year from improved attendance and from Medicaid reimbursements for busing special needs children.  For example, two school districts in the Houston area have used the technology for several years and have realized “hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for improved attendance.”

Sources:  Francisco Vara-Orta, “Students will be tracked via chips in IDs,” mysanantonio.com, May 24, 2012:  http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/ education/article/Students-will-be-tracked-via-chips-in-IDs-3584339.php#ixzz1vsssNfl7