Nov 052013
 November 5, 2013  Posted by  Surveillance, U.S., Youth & Schools

Karen Ann Cullotta report:

When a trio of privacy rights activists dropped by a Wilmette School District 39 board of education meeting, they told officials that installing a security system that requires visitors to swipe their driver’s license before entering school buildings could prove both invasive and unconstitutional.

A school district spokeswoman said officials plan to review the concerns expressed by Wilmette resident Richard Sobel and fellow members of the Cyber Privacy Project.

But District 39 joins school districts across the north suburbs and the country in investing in a driver’s license scanning system aimed at preventing registered sex offenders from stepping inside a school building.

Read more on the Chicago Tribune.

I experienced one such system a few years ago in a school in my area of New York. Not surprisingly, I immediately asked a bunch of questions as to whether and how the information got processed and stored. I’m glad to see others raising questions, too.

It’s one thing to be asked to show your driver’s license or some identification if you’re entering a school, but it’s another thing to have school personnel running checks – even if automated – against databases. In this case, the school district is reportedly concerned about sexual predators. What if a district decided it was also concerned about determining who had a concealed carry permit? Or who might have a record of mental illness? “It’s for the children,” they’d say, right? But public schools are public property. Should a member of the public have to go through such checks just to enter a school? Where will it stop?

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