[NetBehaviour] Texas high school: 4, 200 students are forced to wear an ID badge with an RFID tracking chip.

marc marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Thu Nov 22 12:02:04 CET 2012

Hi all,

I saw a link this info from the Bricolist this morning,

It stinks of top-down appropriation of student freedoms via 
neo-liberalist agendas. This kind of invasion, not only should be 
challenged by the parents, and civil lawyers, and any other decent human 
being - but, I would also be interested in finding any art works out 
there dealing with this kind of thing. Of course, this directly relates 
to concerns relating to the shift from ideas of Panopticon into the 
world of the Netopticon, networked global surveillance.

Some hacktivism projects may be onto this already. PLease let me know if 
you may know of some works you think I may not be aware of...

I have been studying different forms of hacktivist art exploring in 
their 'contexts' issues involving networked surveillance. But, in 
respect of taking on the theme of the Netopticon directly. I think Heath 
Bunting has been the closest. In an article I wrote on Heath's work 
earlier this year called 'Heath Bunting, The Status Project & The 
He deals with the concept of status value - where a precise codification 
of class is iniatialized through a variant of data systems. "Currently, 
he defines three classes of identitiy: human being, person and corporate."

So, in regard to the texas students for instance; they become part of a 
corporate networked system of ownership. These RFID tracking devices, 
brand the students as 'official' items whilst it checks out that the 
student is not out-stepping the 'scripted' behaviours imposed by the 
'John Jay High School' protocols.

"Yet, as this ever-creeping surveillance culture grows and attaches its 
all seeing eyes onto us all. Whether we are referring to domestic 
interactions, organizational or deliberate, this is not the main issue. 
Neo-liberalism has developed so much now, we are all part of the 
Netopticon. English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in 
the late Eighteenth Century designed the Panopticon. It allowed officers 
in institutions, particularly in prisons, to observe (-opticon) all 
(pan-) inmates without them knowing whether or not they are being 
watched. In the end it was not built, but the French philosopher Michel 
Foucault in his publication Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the 
Prison,[10] in 1975 said that we are not only monitored in prisons, but 
in all hierarchical structures like the army, schools, hospitals and 
factories. This process has evolved through history to resemble 
Bentham's Panopticon. The up-dated version of Panopticon, can now be 
thought of as the Netopticon - where individuals are complicit in 
feeding their own forms of collective co-surveillance, as well as being 
traced by corporations, governments and spammers."

More context here...

A Family’s Fight for Freedom: Lawyers Move to Block RFID Expulsion. 
Preliminary Injunction Sought in School RFID Tracking Badge Case.

A Texas school district has come under legal fire after a student was 
expelled for failure to comply with the “School Locator Project,” an 
RFID chip tracking program currently being piloted in a San Antonio 
middle and high school. Letter from John Jay High School withdrawing 
Andrea Hernandez for not submitting to the RFID tracking ID badges.

John Jay High School sophomore Andrea Hernandez was involuntarily 
withdrawn after protesting her school’s tracking badge policy for 
months. When appeals to respect her rights were repeatedly ignored, the 
family decided to fight back, seeking legal council.

Related: Student Expelled for Refusing Location Tracking RFID Badge

In a just-released statement, civil liberties organization The 
Rutherford Institute, which represents the Hernandez family, has 
announced it will immediately seek a preliminary injunction against the 
district to prevent Andrea from being moved to another school.

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