The Georgia Army National Guard has planned to track the locations of students at 67 high schools in a bid to target them for recruitment, according to federal contract materials obtained by The Intercept.
The documents describe a plan to “geofence” virtual boundaries around 67 public high schools in Georgia and target phones inside the boundaries with recruiting advertisements, The Intercept reported.
The plan calls for capturing device IDs unique to students’ phones and tracking pixels and IP addresses, according to The Intercept. Students would be targeted, as well as “parents or centers of influence (i.e. coaches, school counselors, etc.”
Ads are to be run during school hours as well as after school, as “this will allow us to capture potential leads while at after-school events,” according to one of the documents.
The deadline for potential contractors to apply to carry out this program was at the end of February, and no winner has yet been publicly announced, The Intercept reported.
News of the plan comes as the military faces a general recruiting crisis, with the Army and Navy missing goals for new recruits in 2022 and other branches barely clawing their way out of shortfalls. The Army National Guard and Air National Guard both fell short of enlistment goals in the last fiscal year.
Still, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union, Jay Stanley, said, “Location-based tracking is not legitimate.”
“It’s largely based on the collecting of people’s location data that they’re not aware of and haven’t given meaningful permission for,” Stanley said.
An attorney with the ACLU of Georgia, Benjamin Lynde, said, “I think we have to start putting electronic surveillance in the context of what we would accept if it weren’t electronic.”
“If there were military recruiters taking pictures of students and trying to identify them that way, parents wouldn’t think that conduct is acceptable,” he said, adding that targeting students directly with ads “could be a means to bypass parental involvement in the recruiting process.”