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Japanese Schoolchildren to be Tagged with RFID 684

Posted by timothy
from the hey-those-things-are-out-of-season dept.
oostevo writes "CNET has reported that Japanese schoolchildren in the city of Osaka will be tagged with RFID tags. Apparently this is in addition to the trial program in Tabe that The Register reported earlier, where parents can track their children on their way to school."
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Japanese Schoolchildren to be Tagged with RFID

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  • How else will they know if their schoolchildren are being attacked by this month's Tentacle Monster?
    • by Epistax (544591) <epistax@noSPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:26PM (#9693554) Journal
      Without RFID all they have to fall back on is Gamera and Japan's legion of super robots.
      • by saden1 (581102) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @12:23AM (#9693928)
        Me, I'd pay a square kid in my block to carry my tag home, call my parent with my super cool DoCoMo cell phone and tell them I'll be studying with a friend so I can get into a good cram school. Parent's violation of my privacy problem solved.
        • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy.gmail@com> on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @01:23AM (#9694175)
          Parent's violation of my privacy problem solved.

          Children don't have a "right" to privacy. Their parents may choose to respect their children's privacy if they believe them to be mature enough (and most aren't, even once they are legal adults - although it's often not as much of the parents' business after that).

          • by Grant_Watson (312705) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @01:48AM (#9694258)
            "Children don't have a 'right' to privacy."

            I don't know; I've seen some parents whose invasion of their children's privacy goes so far as to be morally objectionable. Though I'm no philosopher, I'd suggest that there's a moral right of some kind, though its extent is definitely a matter for debate.

            The law (in Japan or wherever) is a different matter, of course.
          • Agreed. That's why we have the term "minor". Most kids aren't capable of making good decisions all on thier own. That's why they need guidance from responsible adults. It's all part of the learning process, though. To quote the Beastie Boys, "As long as I learn, I will make mistakes." (spare me the comments about Mike D providing parenting advice) If parents can help kids learn how to make better decisions by making them take personal responsibility for their whereabouts, then it's a good thing.
          • by Scrameustache (459504) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @10:21AM (#9696525) Homepage Journal
            Children don't have a "right" to privacy.

            In all the countries of the world, except the United States of America and Somalia, they do.

            Article 16 [unicef.org]

            1. No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.
    • maybe.. (Score:3, Funny)

      by deadmongrel (621467)
      they should tag the monsters? Giant Robo? anyone?
    • by NanoGator (522640) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:48PM (#9693707) Homepage Journal
      "How else will they know if their schoolchildren are being attacked by this month's Tentacle Monster?"

      Boy am I relieved that the first +5 funny in this comment didn't have anything to do with the "they all look alike" stereotype.
      • It's a good thing that it was replaced by the "all of Japan is like the children's cartoon shows we watch" stereotype that's so prevalent today.
      • by bananahammock (595781) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @02:24AM (#9694373)
        There was this Japanese kid in my baseball team (in Australia), and one game he was a no-show. When we caught up with him later (this is before mobiles and such), it seems he went to the specific park where we were playing, however as there were another three or four games concurrently underway (we're talking a pretty big park), not only could he not locate his team mates, but that it was doubly hard as we all looked the same.

        I can't remember how he replied when I asked about the different uniforms.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          In the US, they've tested recognition rates of ethnicities towards different ethnicites. The method was they show a Black person a picture of a white person, then ask him to pick him out from a group of pictures of ten white people - and repeat the process in different combinations. By far the lowest recognition rate was of Asians identifying White people.
    • by raju1kabir (251972) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @04:15AM (#9694745) Homepage
      How else will they know if their schoolchildren are being attacked by this month's Tentacle Monster?

      Don't be ridiculous.

      Follow the money and the conclusion is clear: Japanese schoolchildren are about go to on sale at Walmart.

  • progress (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rd4tech (711615) * on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:21PM (#9693507)
    The tags will be read by readers installed in school gates and other key locations to track the kids' movements.

    /tinfoil_hat_on

    In 2 years replace the word 'kids' with 'employees'.
    In 5 years replace the word 'employers' with 'shoppers'.
    in 9 years replace the word 'shoppers' with...

    /tinfoil_hat_stays_on
    • Re:progress (Score:5, Funny)

      by harikiri (211017) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:48PM (#9693701)
      And once every year, a class of year 9 students will mysteriously disappear, and their tags will gradually wink out over the course of the next three days....

      Only one will survive.
    • Re:progress (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EtherAlchemist (789180) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:48PM (#9693705)
      If your workplace requires you to swipe or wave a little card to allow you to enter or exit areas of the building, you are already being tracked. Those systems report your movement in real-time as you move through those swipe points. At my place of work, it is accompanied on a monitor at the reception and security desk by the picture of the employee (the same appearing on the card).

      Shoppers will come before full-time, real-time employee tracking- more monetary value than employees and probably sooner than 2 years.

      I would be surprised, however, if in 9 years students here are being tracked. I think America's parents are too paranoid to stand for this. I personally have no problem with it, schools in my kids' district are repsonsible (by law, no less) for their whereabouts to and from school. I'd actually find peace of mind in RFID tracking, more so in GPS. Kidnappers and such aren't going to hunt for what they can already see, it's not like some asshole is going to sit in a van looking for GPS or RFID signals when he can look out his window (hey, big news break- kids can be found near schools).

      But a school, however, isn't lurking in a car somewhere watching your kids and they're the ones who SHOULD know where their students are, right? If a signal is reported outside of school during hours or worse, if it goes dead, they would know right away and could take immediate action in finding out why the child is not in school.
      • Re:progress (Score:5, Interesting)

        by AstroDrabb (534369) * on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @12:41AM (#9694010)
        As a Daddy of two, I think always being able to find my children is great. However, exactly how do you put these RFID tags on to our kids? A bracelet? An anklet? Those can easily be taken off buy the kids as well as by the kidnapper. Should we inject our kids with RFID tags? I dont' know. That seems a little far for me, though the though of loosing my little girl does make it seem like an "OK" idea. It is a tough choice for a parent.
        • Re:progress (Score:4, Insightful)

          by shepd (155729) <slashdot,org&gmail,com> on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @01:56AM (#9694284) Homepage Journal
          >Should we inject our kids with RFID tags?

          Definately not. I am certain any kid that has that done will end up resenting their parents when they are older for violating them like that.

          Heck, if it weren't for all the "normalcy" society places on it, circumcision would be a cause for resentment of one's parents, too.

          At least an anklet can be taken off without leaving any permanent reminders.
        • Re:progress (Score:5, Insightful)

          by killjoe (766577) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @02:54AM (#9694489)
          Be careful. If the ID is injected I am sure a kidnapper would have no qualms about removing it with a knife.

          Sometimes I swear we are just asking for it.
        • Re:progress (Score:5, Insightful)

          by johannesg (664142) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @02:57AM (#9694499)
          Personally I think you'd be a better parent if you teach your children about essential liberties. Not being continuously monitored by anyone (even you!) is one of those liberties, and the age where they will appreciate that is probably much sooner than you think.

          That means you'll have to do your parenting the hard way. You know, like the countless generations before you did...

        • Re:progress (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Grym (725290) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @03:23AM (#9694581)

          ...though the though of loosing my little girl does make it seem like an "OK" idea. It is a tough choice for a parent.

          Which is exactly why all restrictions on freedoms have and always will start there. THINK OF THE CHILDREN! It's an emotional device that gets people do what they otherwise wouldn't, but it sets a precedent that can't be taken back.

          As of right now, high-school students do not have the right to free speech or privacy. For example, a student cannot write anything in the school paper that goes against the school administration's views, and any student's locker can be searched at any time without warning. And while this may, admittedly, help prevent embarrassments for the school system or drugs in schools, what sense of civil rights does this instill in them?

          Similarly, if they schools RFID tagging every student, imagine how much easier it will be to get those same people in twenty years to accept a nationalized RFID card/implant.

          -Grym

          • Re:progress (Score:5, Insightful)

            by LordLucless (582312) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @07:52AM (#9695326)
            Um, if the school paper is produced with school resources, and the school lockers are paid for by school funds, then the school has every right to search for them.

            Freedom of speech and privacy does not mean you have to fund the people embarrassing you. If you want to write things about your school, produce your own newspaper.

            As far as RFIDs go, I don't like them, but I can see them as an outgrowth of modern trends - at least in Australia. More and more responsibility is being placed on those looking after children, and less and less authority is given. A school here was successfully sued by the parents of two children who truanted, and where injured in the course of having a rock fight. At the same time, schools are prohibited from and corporal punishment, or removing children from their peers ("timeouts") in case they alienate them from their friends.

            I don't know the conditions in the states, nor in Japan, but based on things going on here, all I can say is "more power to them". People who demand other people take responsibility for their own stupid actions deserve whatever they get. Grow up, take responsibility for yourself, and don't blame the school if your kid is a dick.
            • Re:progress (Score:4, Insightful)

              by 955301 (209856) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @09:49AM (#9696191) Journal
              Um, if the school paper is produced with school resources, and the school lockers are paid for by school funds, then the school has every right to search for them.

              Gee and I wonder where the school resources and funds come from? Besides that, isn't the purpose of a school newspaper to teach up-and-coming journalist and writers how the system works and to peak their interests? What system is it they're being taught when these things are censored? Not journalism - they're being taught politics. You might even be able to correlate this type of restrictive approach to the education system's publications to acceptance of censorship that occurs in American news media today.

              Parents should be taught that if they have a problem with something published in the newspaper, they should write in an editorial, NOT tell the administration to squelch it. That's how you respond to someone saying something you don't agree with.

        • Re:progress (Score:5, Insightful)

          by turgid (580780) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @04:16AM (#9694750) Journal
          However, exactly how do you put these RFID tags on to our kids?....Should we inject our kids with RFID tags?....That seems a little far for me, though the though of loosing my little girl does make it seem like an "OK" idea.

          All systems are open to abuse. What happens when J. Random Paedophile hacks the system and can use it to choose a victim?

          One day Little Girl will become Mature Woman. Will she appreciate having a RFID tag then? 99.9% of people probably will, because of social conditioning. But what happens when J. Random Rapist or Stalker hacks the system and uses it to choose a victim?

          Severe legal penalties already do not stop these people. Why would simply knowing someone's whereabouts stop them? At least we'll know where to go to find the body after the event.

        • Re:progress (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Dracolytch (714699)
          Of course, the question this brings up to me is: Who else can always find my children?

          ~D
    • by madmarcel (610409) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @12:01AM (#9693796)
      I think you'd find that the most likely second target for a scheme like this would be (convicted) criminals, not employees.

      (IIRC Most crimes are committed by repeat offenders)

      First our pets and cattle, then our children, then criminals, then the rest of us.

      A while ago, after reading a newspaper article about some hideous unsolved crime, I mentioned to a friend that we should start putting radiotags on criminals. Man, he hit the roof! Wow. He used a variety of terms to describe this idea, the one that I remember most was 'Nazi'.

      Radio tagging people has its merits and can certainly make the world a 'Better Place'(tm), but it is simply too prone to abuse/misuse.

      Who would you trust to manage and control the monitoring system? Your government? The United Nations? Your local police department? Your favourite church/religion/cult/sect?
      • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @01:46AM (#9694249) Homepage
        These things all start with the same 3 groups. These 3 groups have fewer rights than everyone else in society, and hence always get hit with freedom-reducing technologies first.

        • The military. These people have voluntarily given up some rights in order to safeguard the freedom of everyone else.
        • Convicts. These people violated our rules, and thus have some rights taken away.
        • Children. They aren't considered to be full humans, until on their 18th birthday they make an overnight magical transformation into a full adult. Prisoners have more rights than them.
      • by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @02:26AM (#9694382) Journal
        Who would you trust to manage and control the monitoring system?

        The military.

      • Even worse, once "everyone" has it, people will start linking things to it (like they currently do with social security numbers). Imagine not being able to order food at a restaurant because you're not tagged, and hence are not "verifiable", or being able to enter a movie theatre or concert, because you could "be one of those subversives."

        Of course, the criminals will have a field day - once they can wand you to verify your ID, people might just stop looking at photo IDs (which are easy enough to fake an
    • Re:progress (Score:5, Funny)

      by NTmatter (589153) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @12:04AM (#9693815) Homepage
      Is this the same system tested on the homeless [slashdot.org] earlier this year? If so, have they unset the evil bit for this implementation?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:21PM (#9693508)
    They love electronics. They'll probably be signing up for Hello Kitty themed RFID tags voluntarily.
  • by The-Bus (138060) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:21PM (#9693512)
    I can't think of any other culture that would want to do something like this. I love Japan. Everything about it seems to be 20 years in the future. If you ever say anything weird or unbelievable, add "in Japan" at the end, and it sounds more realistic.

    Try it out.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:22PM (#9693517)
    If this could prevent child-napping, yes I'd put one on my kids.

    I'd tell 'em they have it when they're old enough to understand. And if they don't like, when they're old enough they can take it out themselves.

    • by MC_Cancer_Pants (728724) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:47PM (#9693691)
      but then you couldn't put your kids in the microwave anymore.
    • by node 3 (115640) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @12:18AM (#9693904)
      If this could prevent child-napping, yes I'd put one on my kids.

      The odds of being kidnapped (in general, of course if your area has higher stats, then my arguments change) are so low that this sort of thing doesn't do a lot of good. The odds are very high, however, of RFID tags being used for undesirable purposes (unless RFID is well-regulated with regards to privacy, which seems unlikely at this point).

      We have:

      1. A dubious benefit.
      2. A certain detriment.

      In complete seriousness, if my parents had tagged me in this way, I'd be very upset with them. I could forgive ignorance on their part (them being fed the line that this is a good thing, and that there are no drawbacks). I could *not* forgive them if they did this with full knowledge (not that I'd disown them or something, just that there would always be this one issue that, regardless of how good our relationship is, I could not forgive).

      Now, in Japan the culture is quite different. This doesn't strike me as being too terribly unacceptable there.
    • Remember kids, RFID is a four letter word!
    • by maxpublic (450413) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @01:18AM (#9694154) Homepage
      If this could prevent child-napping, yes I'd put one on my kids.

      But it wouldn't. An RFID detector would be easy enough to buy or manufacture from parts you could get at Radioshack. If the tag is injected under the skin you'd use the detector to locate it, then cut it out.

      Remember, it's not as if the kidnapper is at all concerned with the welfare of the child. Cutting out a small hunk of flesh isn't going to bother them. And a canny kidnapper would do something interesting with that hunk of flesh - like tape it to the underside of someone else's car so the police would waste time trying to locate and storm(trooper) the house of some innocent.

      There is no upside to tagging kids in the crime prevention department. The only use that such a system has is to track the child itself, for the benefit of the parents (in terms of control) or the government (also in terms of control).

      Max
  • by Seek_1 (639070) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:22PM (#9693518)
    .. if it saves one kid, then it's worth it...

    Or just think about yourself trying to explain how you don't want to see this because it violates privacy to a parent whose child is missing/abducted..
    • by jeffkjo1 (663413) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:26PM (#9693551) Homepage
      .. if it saves one kid, then it's worth it...

      This argument is such a fallacy. Why don't we encase our children in 'Nerf'? After all, then they would just bounce off of cars when they run out in the street.

      If it saved one child, it's worth it right?
      • by lewp (95638) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:35PM (#9693608) Journal
        That would be so cool.
      • by Jardine (398197) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:42PM (#9693656) Homepage
        Why don't we encase our children in 'Nerf'? After all, then they would just bounce off of cars when they run out in the street.

        If it saved one child, it's worth it right?


        That would be worth it for the entertainment value alone.
      • by TylerL82 (617087) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:50PM (#9693716) Homepage
        Why don't we encase our children in 'Nerf'? After all, then they would just bounce off of cars when they run out in the street.

        Because that would ENCOURAGE kids to run out into the street so they could be hit by cars.
        ...Lord knows that's what I'd do...
      • Don't kick the baby!
    • by jonman_d (465049) <nemilar@@@optonline...net> on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:26PM (#9693553) Homepage Journal
      I think the police department in your town should require citizens to have RFID implants, and their movements/location should be recorded at all times. If anyone is ever murdered/raped/abducted, or if a robbery is ever reported, someone can check the recording and use the unique ID to tell almost instintaniously who the criminal is. There wouldn't even be a need to have a live watch over the feeds.

      You wouldn't mind that, would you?
    • by Twanfox (185252) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:37PM (#9693619)
      I think many people tend to be cautious of the implication, and the precident that it sets. These kids will be growing up accustomed to wearing tracking collars, and may well not see a problem with it if a good enough case is pressed for adults to carry such tags 'in the name of public safety'. Besides, just having such tags will not serve as a solid secured method of finding abducted children. First thing an abductor would do, knowing that these tags are out there, is to strip the kid, and throw away every piece of clothing or gear they had. Now, you have the same problem (abducted kid) and you still don't know where they're at.

      Human society has a nasty tendancy to slip from what may be a clear defined goal (Keep kids safe by tracking them) towards something that's similar where the logic matches fairly close (Keep people safe by tracking them). However, at the same time, you run a higher risk of abuse of such information. While this is something of a straw man argument, consider what the Holocaust would've been like if the leaders of the country could find every member of the Jewish community, hiding or not, because they were wearing tags?

      Personally, I'd almost rather teach my children self defense and how to handle unknowns in the world, than to rely on a removable tracking tag for their "safety". They'll be better off for knowing that.
    • by perlchild (582235) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:59PM (#9693783)
      Just how many schools tells parents what they can do to their children?
      Besides, if the school mandates it, it has to pay for it. Have the school get the RFID readers installed at choke points, and make it voluntary for parents. That way:

      1) Parents feel they take a meaningful step to protect their kids
      2) Parents who don't believe in RFID don't have to fight the system just because you think you're better than them.
      3) Parents who refused the RFID can't blame the school for their refusal.

      Why is it that whenever something "better" comes along, it has to be Mandatory?
      Better things should be voluntary, that way we can all become better human beings by making enlightened choices.
    • You can't save everyone.... eventually the survival of every living organism drops to zero.
    • by shostiru (708862) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @02:33AM (#9694409)
      You got modded insightful for that? Sheesh.

      Media attention to the contrary, kidnapping isn't that common, and when it does occur it's usually done by a parent or relative. The introduction of Amber Alert programs has greatly increased media coverage of kidnappings; an unfortunate side effect of this is a mistaken perception that kidnappings are common and increasing occurrances.

      Banning school athletics programs would save far more children's lives. So would banning automobiles, eliminating all foods that include potential allergens, and placing all children in gated institutions until 18, just to think of a few examples.

      Maybe things are different where you live, but everywhere I've been, children who are prevented from learning how to handle risk tend towards one of two extremes. Either they react by doing incredibly stupid things (unprotected sex, reckless driving, etc.) and tend to get hurt, or they have no idea how to handle adult risks and responsibilities once they grow up and are no longer safely ensconced in bubble wrap.

      I do realize that when people have children, the genetic imperative hijacks behaviour to varying degree. Maybe this made sense back when society was simpler, risks more easily understood and addressed, and the capacity for smothering and control limited. That does not make it a rational or effective strategy for raising children to be functional adults in today's society.

      Patrick Henry did not learn the courage to utter "give me liberty or give me death" by being raised by parents whose mantras were "think of the children" and "if it saves just one child...".

  • glaring flaw (Score:5, Insightful)

    by satsuke (263225) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:23PM (#9693524)
    The only problem with the way they are implementing it (and I don't see any workaround short of implanting the kids skin with RFID devices) is that since the tracking devices are tied to their book bags, if a pedo or other person wants the kid, they just have to drop or incapacitate the book bag chip .. thus making the tracking device useless.

    Now if parents want to know if their kid is down at the pachinko parlour or some such ,. than it might be useful.
  • Stalkers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whfsdude (592601) <whfsdude AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:23PM (#9693525) Homepage
    What happens when someone else besides the school is able to access them? I can view my whole school district's security cams and people think that is a privacy issue.

    What is going to happen when someone is able to track these kids and it isn't the school?
    • Re:Stalkers (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Linus Sixpack (709619)
      You're right.

      Imagine an RFID reader that could tell when children were alone and let a whacko sort children from a distance.

      It's an other instance of an _item_ being used to replace an _understanding_. Children should be taught to careful not cared for till they have no choices.

      I can just imagine the kid at the back of the room with a bag full of RFID chips while his friends play hooky.
  • Not the worst idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by XeRXeS-TCN (788834) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:23PM (#9693530)
    Well I can understand all the privacy issues surrounding putting RFID tags on people, but it's not the worst idea in the world with kids on that age. I know it runs the risk of setting a precedent, but kids that age aren't really at the stage where they need a huge degree of independance from their parents, and aren't sneaking off to drink/smoke like high school kids might do, so it's not really a situation where the parents are violating their kids' privacy. It would certainly allay certain fears about kids being abducted or getting into trouble. The only thing that concerns me somewhat is the alarm on "danger areas", because that could be abused by an over-strict system.
  • by KingEomer (795285) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:24PM (#9693537) Homepage
    Hmmm. Who wants to start placing bets on which child will emerge as the lone survivor of class 9-B?
  • by diagnosis (38691) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:24PM (#9693541) Homepage
    Aside from the obviously frightening implications of this, how does it make sense? Are Japanese school children disappearing left and right? I thought Japan was an incredibly safe country.

    On the other hand, if the kids are smart enough, think of the opportunity to play hookie: simply leave your RFID tag *within* the school, and sneak out! Go play video games all day, with an electronic alibi!

    I am going to see if I can get work to start using these...

    ---------------------
    Freedom or Evil: freevil.net [freevil.net]
    G. W. Bush says, "You decide!"
    • I thought Japan was an incredibly safe country.

      Yes, was. And still is by the rest of the world's standard, I expect, with a national crime rate around 1.5% IIRC. But as another poster mentioned, the smaller crime rate makes incidents stand out all that much more when they do happen. (For example: residents of e.g. Washington D.C. or Chicago, when was the last time you were surprised by reading about a murder in the newspaper? Yet such events come as a severe shock to the Japanese.) In particular, th

  • BattleRoyale (Score:4, Interesting)

    by xixax (44677) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:25PM (#9693546)
    So this must be the promised sequel to Battle Royale. Participating children will be monitored, and must engage each other in mortal combat if they encounter each other. If they do not battle, the RFID collars will explode. The project will continue until only one child survives....

    Battle Royale [battleroyalefilm.com]

    Xix.

  • by niew (133188) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:27PM (#9693558)
    Japanese schoolchildren in the city of Osaka will be tagged with RFID tags.

    ... a Mutual of Omaha Special.

    Come with us now as we study the migratory patterns of the Japanese School Child.

    [Helicoptor flys over a school yard full of children, one is separated out from the herd and tranqualized with a dart, scientist staples an RFID tag in his ear...]

  • Fun in the school (Score:4, Informative)

    by r00zky (622648) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:29PM (#9693573)
    1. Copy the RFID tag of a classmate
    2. Change it for yours when you're out of school.
    3. Enter the max. number of shops/places considered "dangerous" for you in one day.
    4. Restore your RFID before going home.
    5. Make fun of the poor bastard the next day of class

    No profit but lots of fun
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:31PM (#9693585) Homepage
    Digital Angel [destronfearing.com] tried selling this for kids a few years ago. But it turned out the big market was cows and pigs.

    With a few slight mods to the screen formats, the Online Herd Management System should be applicable to schools.

  • Thank God (Score:3, Informative)

    by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:37PM (#9693620)
    Martin will no longer be alone.

    Obscure Simpsons reference.

    Seriously though, one has to wonder about the ethics of something like tagging humans. The example I think of is the debate in ethics about 'coercion'... which is usually wrong except in rare circumstances such as protecting your own children. RFID tracking might be fine if a parent wants to have it for their young children, but under no circumstances could be mandated for adults (which I would argue, is more like 13 and older)
  • by femto (459605) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:38PM (#9693629) Homepage
    Today, such a move is controversial. But then none of us have grown up wearing an RFID tag.

    What if we had grown up wearing RFID tags? We probably wouldn't be objecting to today's chidren wearing RFID tags. More likely, the argument would be about something like "Should RFID tags be implanted or worn outside the body?".

    That's the real danger of children wearing RFID tags. They will lose the ability to object when their own children are violated.

  • by TuxPaper (531914) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:41PM (#9693649)
    Just what your local pedophile has been asking for all along.. a way to track kids so that they can grab them in much more concealed places. Oh look, that one kid just seperated from his friends and is now going down an empty street all by himself.. yum!
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:51PM (#9693728)

    The whole recurring theme about man and machine? Ghost in the Shell? Tetsuo in Akira merging with all the machinery around him? How many other examples can you name? I've always wondered why that's such a common idea in anime. I have my answer now.

    It's because the Japanese think it's a good idea, that's why.

    You know, Slashdot is a great place to be a geek. Look at the new technologies coming out, marvel at their application...but sometimes you just gotta say enough is enough.

    And I have to draw the line right before RFID tagging my children.

    It's impressively geeky, but c'mon guys - sometimes "because you can" isn't the right answer!

  • by 1337 Twinkie (795608) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:55PM (#9693756) Homepage Journal
    I know a lot of people here think this can fight abduction. But how? Would a kidnapper really care whether or not the kid has a tag? If the sensors were placed EVERYWHERE, maybe they could track a missing child, but the abductor would certainly not stick around school with a tagged (or any) kid. I could see this as a potential means to fight truency, but not abduction.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:58PM (#9693776) Homepage Journal
    This seems like a real waste of resources, especially in Japan, unless there's some kind of kidnapping wave there that I haven't heard about. And it encourages parents to complacently trust technology, rather than communicate directly with their children.

    As for the slippery slope, remember that children have fewer rights than adults. To kids it looks like their rights are just suppressed, because they don't have the power to take it back. But it's actually because they are still learning to be people, when subordination to experience is necessary, and haven't actually developed the inalienable rights inherent in adults. Otherwise kids would have all emancipated themselves already, at latest in the 1960s when they all got money, cars, and TV role models.

    It will be important to remember these distinctions when the police states attempt to raise the age of application of these tracking devices, saying that kids don't mind, why shouldn't adults, whose lives are risker. Adults who are monitored become even more neurotic, sources of risk. Monitoring us will make us less safe, as society becomes unhinged from the transferred social pressure. At least watching the increase in deviance, from unfairly implanted kids who are already developed into adults, will give us some data warning us away from general application of the technique.
  • by R2.0 (532027) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @12:28AM (#9693946)
    One of the (many) unintended consequences of this will be that parents and authorities will have a higher perceived confidence level but a lower real confidence level.

    Current situation: Parent sends child to school. Did they get there? Probably, based on past behavior and other factors, but not necessarily definitely. Therefore, the parents continue to assert controls and recieve feedback (aka nagging and snooping) over time to increase the liklihood of the child going to school and behaving safely.

    Proposed situation: Parent sends child to school. Did they get there? Definitely, based on the feedback from the sensors at the school. Parents don't need to check and reinforce behavior (spy and nag), because they can be sure that their little darling is safe at school. Except that only the tag is at school, in their little darling's friend's bag. Little darling is skipping school and is currenly at a bukkake shoot earning some extra coin.

    I'll stick with the nagging and snooping.
    • by ratamacue (593855) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @08:15AM (#9695431)
      One of the (many) unintended consequences of this will be that parents and authorities will have a higher perceived confidence level but a lower real confidence level.

      In other words, as the scope of government expands, the level of personal responsibility is diminished. It doesn't benefit government to have people take responsibility for their own lives. The more dependent the people on government, the greater the benefit for those who control government.

  • by buckhead_buddy (186384) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @12:59AM (#9694079)
    The current goal is one reduction of school bueracracy and truency rather than stopping crime and abduction. Why not do this more simply with Bluetooth enabled key cards instead? Maybe the goal of taking this the more invasive aims like those is on the horizon, but must be introduced one step to hell at a time.

    Get the RFID tags implanted to help locate children in earthquakes and major disasters. Get long lasting bio-driven versions that will survive between school sessions and vacations to protect against abductors. Widely deploy readers to track school kids who might choose to vandalize a school. Will the tags be removed at the end of one's education? No, they're harmless. Within a few generations you have a populace with high percentages of people already RFID tagged and having no problems. Require it of everyone.

    If the current uses are "just" to reduce bueracracy, I'd definitely side with technologies that would not be easily expandable to a more trecherous slope.
  • by KingDork2K3 (455980) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @01:10AM (#9694120) Homepage
    As an English teacher at a Japanese elementary school, I'd like to explain a few things about how the commuting works for students here.

    Almost no kids in Japanese public schools are driven to school by their parents. It is not against the rules, but is generally discouraged. Public schools generally do not have buses, though some students will take a bus if their parents can afford it and they live far from school. Middle and high school students might bike or take a train, but those are often off-limits for elementary students, who must either walk or come by bus (Kids generally go to the local elementary/middle school, but there are exams for high school, which might require a long trip every day).

    In my small rural town (pop. 7000), and in many other places, elementary and middle school students who are walking/biking must follow certain routes to and from school. Teachers are posted at locations along the route to check up on the students. But, they can't be everywhere. The middle school in my town has recently had problems with middle-aged men approaching female students. Students are out in the open for a much longer period of time than in the US and are thus bigger targets.

    That said, I don't want to see my students given RFID tags. However, I wouldn't be surprised if it became very popular here. Elementary and middle school students already have tags with their full name and the school's name on it which must be worn at all times. Also, nearly all middle and high schools have uniforms. With all this required attire, it's hard for students to go someplace after school that they're not supposed to be, and this is part of the point. People will even sometimes complain to a school if they see its students doing something they don't approve of. There is already a lot of monitoring in place here, and I don't see this as being a big shift.

    Related article -
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle. pl5 ?ek20040520ag.htm

    PS - It's not that important, but the CNET article is poorly written and unclear. Osaka city and Wakayama prefecture are completely seperate places, but someone who knows very little about Japan might think that Osaka city is the small "town" in Wakayama where the RFID tags are being tested. Anyone have a better article?
    • MOD PARENT UP! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jettoblack (683831)
      He knows what he's talking about, unlike most of the Insightful-modded posts so far.

      Since this article is talking about elementary school students, I'm really disgusted by the number of Funny-modded jokes about tentacle rape and spooge and what not. Sickos. You know, those kinds of anime & manga are much more popular in the US than in Japan, so despite its origin, what does that say about who are really the pervs?

      But, for what its worth, despite Japan's reputation for being a safe country (which it ge
  • Disgusting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by syousef (465911) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @01:48AM (#9694259) Journal
    Japanese schoolkids have enough pressure to deal with as it is. Tagging them like animals isn't going to do them good. Just how high a youth suicide rate do they want?

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak

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