Education
Anonymous in masks. Photo - Creative Commons/Vincent Diamante Anonymous in masks. Photo - Creative Commons/Vincent Diamante  

Hacker strikes after San Antonio students forced to wear tracking chips

The loosely associated group of “hacktivists” known as Anonymous hacked a San Antonio, Texas school district’s website over the weekend. The goal of the attack was to protest the district’s requirement that students at two schools wear tracking ID badges that log their whereabouts electronically.

In an online statement, someone claiming collaboration with Anonymous said he disabled the website because the school district “is stripping away the privacy of students in your school,” The Associated Press reports.

The school district’s website was not working as of Sunday.

The hacker described himself as 16 years of age in an email, according to The AP, and said he hacked into the district’s website on Saturday.

A spokesperson for the school district, Pascual Gonzalez, said he has not yet been able to determine that the website was hacked.

The identification cards are part of a pilot program. Beginning this fall, all students at John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School have been required to wear or carry IDs embedded with individual microchips at all times while on school grounds. Electronic readers installed in the schools’ ceiling panels then track every student’s location at school at all times.

If the schools can prove that students are, in fact, on campus, they receive more state funding.

The school district, Northside Independent School District, is the fourth largest in Texas. It comprises more than 100 schools with over 97,000 students.

The school district could eventually use the ID tracking system program at all of its campuses. However, at least one potential stumbling block has emerged.

Last week, according to San Antonio television station KENS, a federal district court judge ruled that a student at John Jay High School may continue attending classes without wearing a student-tracking ID badge, pending the outcome of a lawsuit.

The student, Andrea Hernandez, is a devout Christian who says that her religious beliefs prevent her from wearing the badge.

The principal at the high school had threatened Hernandez with expulsion before she and her father filed the lawsuit.

Anonymous is a decentralized, internet-based collective of hackers that has successfully attacked a multitude of targets since its inception including MasterCard, PayPal, the Church of Scientology and the United States Department of Justice.

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