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RFID and Weapons Tracking; Ecuadoran Jail Riot; School Boards Call for Help; and More

Here’s a quick look at some of the security-related news since yesterday (and remember to check out the biggest news in security in our GSX Daily coverage).

RFID Tags on Firearms Could Let Enemies Detect Troops

Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags are fairly common in daily life, whether in use at toll booths, asset management in warehouses, and wristbands at amusement parks. However, it could have significant drawbacks for the U.S. military.

According to the Associated Press, RFID tags embedded in military guns can save hours of time-intensive tasks such as weapon counts and distribution, but those tags emit silent, invisible signals—which could become an unwanted tracking beacon on the battlefield to let enemies detect troops.

Jail Riot Leaves More than 100 Dead

At least 118 inmates have been killed in a vicious fight inside an Ecuadoran prison, and the number is expected to rise as more bodies are found and those injured struggle to survive, according to the BBC.

The fight—a gang war inside the prison—involved explosions, beheadings, and gunfire. The violence promoted Ecuadoran President Guillermo Lasso to declare a state of emergency across the country’s penitentiary system. “It’s unfortunate that prisons are being converted into territories of power struggles for criminal gangs,” Lasso said. “The Ecuadoran state needs to act.”

Late on Thursday, police announced they had regained control of the prison after a major operation involving 900 officers and army soldiers.

School Board Group Asks for Federal Assistance After Mask Mandate Threats

U.S. school board members—largely unpaid volunteers, parents, and former educators—have been shocked to find themselves at the center of a culture war battleground where mask mandates and other COVID-19 measures are concerned. At board meetings and elsewhere, they are regularly confronted and threatened by angry protesters, AP reported.

In response, the National School Boards Association has asked U.S. President Joe Biden for federal assistance to investigate and stop threats over these policies—likening the threats to a form of domestic terrorism.

Los Angeles Doubles Down on Vaccine Requirements

Officials in Los Angeles—the United States’ second-largest city—signaled that they will likely vote net week to prohibit unvaccinated people from entering most businesses. The proposed emergency ordinance would require proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, shopping centers, gyms, and other indoor spaces, Reuters reported.

Teen Vaping Plummeted Amid Remote Learning

A government report found that teen vaping dropped roughly 40 percent year-over-year in 2021, as students lacked in-person peer pressure when remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a national survey, 11 percent of high school students said they were recent e-cigarette or vaping product users, compared to 20 percent in 2020 and 28 percent in 2019.

While U.S. officials urged caution in interpreting the data, outside experts said the decrease makes sense given that young people often vape socially, AP reported.