SIA sends letter opposing Texas RFID legislation

Association's CEO says bills don’t take safety, economic concerns into account


Security Industry Association CEO Don Erickson has sent a letter toTexaslawmakers opposing proposed legislation that would prohibit the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to identify and track students.

The controversy erupted last year when a San Antonio school district instituted a controversial policy requiring students to wear identification cards embedded with microchips that track their movements. The policy sparked outrage among privacy advocates and one student filed a lawsuit against the school district saying the policy violates her religious beliefs. State legislators have now filed three bills (HB 101, HB 102 and SB 173) that would ban the use of the technology.

"I am concerned that this technology can be very dehumanizing," HB 101 and HB 102 co-author Rep. Lois Kolkhorst told the San Antonio Express-News. "I really don't like how parents don't have much input and think it is an example of government overstepping its bounds."

In his letter to lawmakers, Erickson says that RFID has proven to be a reliable solution for the protection of people and assets and that prohibiting the technology could have a detrimental impact to the state’s economy including job losses since many makers of the technology are based in the state. Additionally, Erickson said schools that can verify higher attendance rates are more likely to receive additional funding from federal and state governments and that these bills don’t take into account the security benefits that RFID can provide, especially in light of the recent Sandy Hook massacre.

"SIA supports a holistic approach to school security that includes funding for school security assessments; investment in technology, such as digital video cameras and RFID-based access control systems; and emergency preparedness training for education and law enforcement personnel," he writes in the letter.

To download a PDF version of the complete letter, visit www.siaonline.org/government.