Mandatory Cell Phones Can Track Students at Montclair State

November 27, 2007

Thanks to the Drudge Report, FIRE became aware today of a new mandatory cell phone requirement at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Jay Dow reports for WCBS that students are required to pay for the phones themselves—at least $420 per year, depending on the level of service, added to their campus bill. The phones include GPS tracking technology, but the students do not seem to be required to have their phones with them at any particular time. Here’s the ominous part, as Dow reports:

“What it does is allow students to have an extra pair [of eyes] or group of people watching over them when they’re going from one location to another,” Montclair Police Department Chief Paul Cell said.

I just hope that those eyes are only looking when students really want them to be watching—and that the GPS data is not recorded in such a way as to permit abuses by the occasional overzealous administrator or police investigator.

Montclair’s partner in this venture is Rave Wireless, which has its own blog. Rave’s other university client right now is Fairleigh Dickinson University, where Rave reports:

[P]arents are thrilled as well. Knowing that their children are protected with the assistance of Rave Guardian, a student-operated GPS device that is installed in all the phones distributed, allows them to sleep easier at night with the extra level of security that is looking after kids.

That takes in loco parentis to a whole new level.

Schools:  Montclair State University