Anonymous Takes Down NISD Over Student Tracking
Anonymous, the famous “hacktivist” group which is always hogging the limelight for their acts is back once again, this time attacking to protect the rights of the student community. The group has claimed responsibility for attacking and taking down the website of the Northside Independent School District (NISD) which is located in San Antonio over the issue of student tracking. The hackers sent out an email to kens5.com claiming that they took down the NISD website on Saturday and also sent a link to an earlier article about the student tracking project and their message was
“We saw your article … Anonymous (@tr1xxyAnon) are not going to allow this!”
The NISD, which came into limelight earlier this year, when they implemented a controversial program to curb the problem of truancy among the students and to secure additional funding from the state by controlling the attendance problem. The project, known as the “Student Locator Project”, requires the students to wear ID badges which have embedded Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips in them. So far, the schools which have implemented the project are the John Jay High School and the Anson Jones Middle School which started the program on October 1 this year. However, NISD has planned to expand the project to more than 110 schools in Texas and over 100,000 students to control the problem of student attendance, which is apparently a major issue at the given school district. Supposedly, the district could receive more than 2 million dollars as additional funding from the state if they are able to improve the attendance which is much more than what it would cost to implement the program, which is an estimated 525,000 dollars for the pilot project and an additional 136,000 dollars to keep it running every year. Apparently, the authorities are so stringent in implementing the program that the students who are not wearing their badges are being threatened with disciplinary action like suspensions and fines etc. and recently a student faced such a threat by her Principal at John Jay when she refused to wear the badge citing religious reasons. This is the reason why this move, has been met with multiple protests and outcry by students and parents alike and the reason given by Anonymous for targeting the NISD website which they made clear in a teasing message they sent to the twitter account of NISD which reads something like this :
This message was sent on Saturday when the Anonymous attacked the website which stayed down for over a day or two. In further response, they mentioned that they are fighting for students rights and seek answers from the officials at NISD.
“They’re tracking students! They have rights too. I want a statement about this, nobody agrees with that, even the parents!” Anonymous said in an e-mail.
The NISD officials on the other hand, have denied reports of their site being under attack.
However, the huge outcry concerning this student tracking problem has raised questions about the limits that the school authorities must observe and that students must not become subjects of technological experiments and if such a program is to be implemented, proper discussion with their parents and experts is very important for student welfare.