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Georgia National Guard Plans to Geofence Public High Schools to Target Recruits

by Jordan Arizmendi

The Georgia Army National Guard (“GANG”) will geofence 67 different public high schools in the state, with recruiting ads targeting any phones within one mile of each of these schools. The purpose of such a campaign is to persuade our high school aged children to enlist.

The federal contract outline states, “Advertising with Digital Targeted Marketing’s primary objective is to reach the core targets of various segments of 17-24 year-olds in Georgia high schools and colleges, with the intent of generating qualified leads of potential applicants for enlistment while also raising awareness of the [GANG]. This is done using a combination of multiple targeted digital advertising campaigns, geofencing and re-capturing prior interest.”

Geofencing is not spot-on. There is no way to ensure that the ad will only go to the targeted age group of the school. For example, there are plenty of educational districts in Georgia that have high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools. Thus, the GANG will sneak their advertisement right to every child’s phone enrolled in those schools, regardless of what the parent thinks about the enlistment process.  

The federal contract outlined by the GANG lists the surveillance advertising techniques that the campaign will use, such as capturing the device ID of the student’s phones, tracking pixels, and IP address tracking. In addition, the outline suggests recruitment advertisements to be featured on Instagram, Snapchat, televisions, and music apps.

Page 9 of the federal contract outline states, “The ability to geographically target and retarget individuals at specific locations identified by [GANG].”

Retargeting is a sneaky internet advertising technique that reminds a website visitor of the site’s products or services even after they have left the site. Likewise, another procurement document instructs the contractor to run the ads during school but also after school as well. “This will allow us to capture potential leads while at afterschool events.”

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