RFIDs To Track School Kids

from the where-do-you-think-you're-going? dept

While everyone’s talking about how RFID chips can be used to track people and violate their privacy, a school in a “bad neighborhood” in Buffalo, New York is pushing ahead with their plans to monitor all their students by RFID. They want to know when they got off the bus, what time they got to class, what they bought in the cafeteria, when they visited the nurse, and what books they took out of the library. Tellingly, they’re using the same system that was designed for use in jails. The folks who make the system insist that there aren’t any big privacy issues. When students are checked in, they approach a kiosk which displays their picture, and they need to touch the screen to confirm the information. Also, they say that the various databases of information aren’t connected, and require separate passwords to access records. It’s probably true that the system isn’t as bad as some make it out to be, but it does make you wonder what mindset it puts the kids in to know that everywhere they go, they are being spied on.

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Comments on “RFIDs To Track School Kids”

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Beck says:

Extend the Application

…it does make you wonder what mindset it puts the kids in to know that everywhere they go, they are being spied on.

Maybe it puts them in the mindset that they better be on their best behavior in school.

Really now, what’s so bad about this? As the article points out, all they are doing is automating processes that occur manually right now. Every school keeps track of attendance in class, they keep track of tardiness, they charge kids when they buy lunch in the cafeteria, etc.

I think this application should be extended. I think it should have an interface to the Internet so that parents can sign in and verify that their kids arrived at school, see that their kids are in class when they are supposed to be, see what they ate for lunch, etc. I think it would be interesting to find out that my son left class early and spent time in the principal’s office.

Director Mitch (user link) says:

Re: Extend the Application

I think there is a difference between “tracking” and “passed a reader”

An RFID tag just tells a reader if you have passed one and, as the article points out, the tag has to be within two feet – or about arm’s reach – of the reader. Once you passed a reader, this technology can’t tell whether the kid is in class, or hopped the fence and is smoking cigs down at the McDonalds.

I don’t see how it is much different that punching a timecard.

For “tracking” you would need a GPS tracking device (Lojack for kids), and quite personally, don’t see why you wouldn’t give one to a 6 year old. 16 year olds, different story.

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