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Students and Bodies Tracked Via RFID Tags 437

Posted by Zonk
from the they're-everywhere-they're-everywhere dept.
AT writes "The Brittan School District in Sutter County, California, is requiring students to carry RFID-tagged identity badges on them at all times. Readers are currently installed at the doors to all classrooms. Readers were removed from bathrooms when parents protested. The school district is meeting next week to consider parents objections to the system." Relatedly (but not), Leilah writes "The University of California is considering using RFID tags or bar codes to help track their collection of bodies and parts. They are attempting to reopen their body donation program which has been on hold since spring 2004 due to disappearing parts - they've previously had legal trouble over improper disposal as well."
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Students and Bodies Tracked Via RFID Tags

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  • There Is No Escape (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fembots (753724) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:01PM (#11635986) Homepage
    Readers were removed from bathrooms when parents protested

    They must have forgotten about those RFIDed toilet paper. Someone I know received a $94 invoice for "Excessive use of toilet paper" from her son's school.

    Seriously though, tracking body parts is fine since they're donated "inventory", but tracking a human is a different matter entirely.

    And I'm not going to make a joke about the ease of transition from that school to the university.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So when the next columbine happens, it will be easier to recognize the bodies
  • by de1orean (851146) <ian&deloreanrock,org> on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:02PM (#11636005)
    now the school will know when kids leave campus and go to Steve Wynn's casino on the Las Vegas strip.

    or the morgue.
    • Re:this is great. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by brian.glanz (849625)

      Cross references of all this data via identity is RFID's most frightening "promise." All the arguments had in recent years about privacy are exponentially more critical; already, we are awash in more publically available data about ourselves than we can individually manage. We need tools as individuals being tracked, to manage access to data which identifies us.

      Is anyone in the U.S. Congress close enough to technical to understand, to defend individuals from exploitation? Who there can swim in the deep end

  • About damn time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Skyshadow (508) * on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:03PM (#11636010) Homepage
    Furthermore: we should put a GPS tag on all cars that'll report you if you go over the speed limit. Speeding *kills* people. Oh, and we'll need to inspect it twice a year for illegal modifications to your ride. Cutting off the cats hurts the environment. BTW, the cops'll be around next Tuesday to check your house for illegal cable. And here, you need to install this program to check for illegal MP3s or movies on your computer. And you'll be registering all your guns once a year so the government can keep track of where they are...

    Total Law Enforcement rules. And the trains run on time, too!

    • Re:About damn time (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jeffrey Baker (6191)
      So, are you saying you should be allowed to cut off your catalytic converters and drive around polluting?
      • Are you saying you should be allowed to illegally distribute music to millions of people using P2P software? It's just as illegal.

      • Re:About damn time (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Skyshadow (508) * on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:21PM (#11636187) Homepage
        So, are you saying you should be allowed to cut off your catalytic converters and drive around polluting?

        No, I'm saying having the government watch every last movement I make is the absolute antithesis of the American way of life.

        • by KarmaBlackballed (222917) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @09:29PM (#11637351) Homepage Journal
          "Where are your papers" is a phrase an American adult should ever endure while minding their own business in the USA. And it is no one's business where an American adult goes, except maybe his wife's.

          Minors in a school are a different thing altogether; and I don't buy the slippery slope arguments on that point. Kids do leave the schools without authorization. And no, that is never a good or welcome thing. This way school admin has another tool to know where they are, or are not, during school hours.

          Some people have different thoughts on this matter. The most reasonable approach might be to assign these cards only parent request.
          • by Steeltoe (98226) on Friday February 11, 2005 @04:55AM (#11639727) Homepage
            Put yourself in a kids shoes. Just because you are an adult NOW, it's easy to say they should be monitored constantly 24 hours a day.

            What do you teach children when you have to tag them and constantly monitor all their activities?

            That you don't trust them. They never learn to be trusted, thus either will rebell even more than the kids of today or become complacent slaves to society (neither is healthy for anybody).

            When many of these kids grow up, they'll be so used to being monitored and bitched around, when society requires this for adults too, they will not have a concept of freedom that we do. It's the American way of life to be monitored and put under constant surveillance then. Corporations monitoring for maximizing profits will seem natural, because that will make more money, and you don't really have any other options. The concept has been eradicated.

            Kids become adults you know. And they become what we teach = our own example mixed with our treatment of them.

            • by Cappy Red (576737) <miketoon@nOspAm.yahoo.com> on Friday February 11, 2005 @09:14AM (#11640566)
              "What do you teach children when you have to tag them and constantly monitor all their activities?

              That you don't trust them."

              Thank you! I was hoping someone would say that.

              Indeed, put yourself into a kid's shoes... well, actually, the grandparent poster didn't seem to have any concern for the feeling of violation a kid may feel at this. The ends, for him, seem to so justify the means, that anything ill about those means seems not to exist.

              The general disregard for the rights, ideas, and opinions of kids is what pissed me off most about being one. No matter how smart you are, no one wants to listen to what you have to say until you're eighteen, or more likely twenty-one. If you're a kid with a talent, you're the monkey in somebody's sideshow, fodder for talkshows, political photo-ops, or slow news day "human interest" pieces.

              Setting that diatribe aside, though, and going a bit more in depth on one of the parent poster's points:

              "They never learn to be trusted, thus either will rebell even more than the kids of today or become complacent slaves to society"

              They will not become slaves to a society that isn't constantly watching them. What lesson should be taken from being tagged and monitored than that one should behave while being watched? If one is never not watched, can one learn that one should follow the rules then too? When would that lesson be learned?

              Society works through the often tacit agreement of the people in it to follow certain guidelines at all times, with the knowledge that, for most of that time, they won't be near anyone who can enforce those guidelines. Most of the time you can probably get away with crossing a double yellow line. Most of the time you can get away with stealing someone else's stapler. Most of the time you can sneak into someone else's yard and use the pool. We don't need to be constantly under surveilance, though, because most of us do agree to this social contract.

              The term "social contract" brings up another of the parent poster's points(and one that has been brought up before): trust. Drafting a contract in business requires good faith on both sides. Good faith... trust. The social contract requires no less. The tagging of these students shows a lack of that faith.
        • Re:About damn time (Score:3, Insightful)

          by spicate (667270)
          More importantly...
          1) it conditions kids (even more) to living in a society in which their every move is monitored.

          2) it gives enormous power to administrators, who, as anyone who went through public high school should know, are only human. I had my run-ins with administrators (mostly because of school newspaper articles) and they can be pretty petty.

          Of course, we're talking about 7th and 8th graders, but it's a terrible precedent to set. One of the students was quoted as saying, "Look at this. I'm a groc
      • Well, yes. (Score:2, Informative)

        by Gordonjcp (186804)
        Catalytic converters are the biggest scam ever. They only work for about two years after they are made, because the buildup of soot on the inside contaminates the catalyst. Furthermore, they need to be extremely hot to actually work. If they are not hot enough, they produce *worse* pollution than a non-catalyst car exhaust. So, when you're driving at 115mph on the motorway, your cat is working perfectly, but you don't really need it. When you're driving at 15mph in a city traffic jam, your cat is not w
        • Re:Well, yes. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by FrankSchwab (675585) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:29PM (#11636263) Journal
          OK, I'll tell you what. I'll pull my 98 Explorer with 90,000 miles on it up to the nearest emissions testing station, in any condition you choose (hot, cold, whatever). You pull up in your non-catalytic equipped, reasonably similarly engined vehicle. We'll put $500 apiece down, least emissions takes all. Are you willing to take that bet? 'Cause I'm willing to take your money.
      • Re:About damn time (Score:5, Insightful)

        by blincoln (592401) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:24PM (#11636222) Homepage Journal
        So, are you saying you should be allowed to cut off your catalytic converters and drive around polluting?

        Yes, because opponents of total law enforcement are always supporters of total anarchy.
    • Re:About damn time (Score:3, Insightful)

      by darkmeridian (119044)
      Cars already have "black boxes" installed in them. Prosecutors have used that data to prosecute bad drivers. The question with government regulation is how much we *truly* believe in freedom. People do not want to wear safety belts, but get fined if they do not. They complain about government regulation. But right now, the government bars insurances companies from not covering those whose injuries are caused by not wearing a safety belt. If insurance companies (and definitely not the government) did not pay
    • Re:About damn time (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mOoZik (698544)
      Don't be an idiot. This is a way of taking attendance: that's all. How is it different than having some guy there to do it manually? Why does everything turn to hell when technology is involved? Are you all technophobes? This is simple technology with a simple aim. Get over it, people.

      • Re:About damn time (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Skyshadow (508) *
        Oh, so all I have to do to save two minutes at the start of class is submit to constant automated surveillance? Why didn't you say so!
        • Re:About damn time (Score:5, Insightful)

          by deacon (40533) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @09:07PM (#11637143) Journal
          You have to start them young.

          By getting people used to idea of being tracked when they are young and powerless, you have a better chance of not making them question the tracking when they are adults. Then, the next step towards total control can be taken on the next generation of children.

          In fact, you can see how effective this is by looking at some of the posts in this thread already: Note how many people have been conditioned to believe that regular monitoring is normal and "healthy" now, and thus automation of this monitoring is absolutely OK.

      • Re:About damn time (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pi_rules (123171) *

        Don't be an idiot. This is a way of taking attendance: that's all. How is it different than having some guy there to do it manually? Why does everything turn to hell when technology is involved? Are you all technophobes? This is simple technology with a simple aim. Get over it, people.

        This is Slashdot -- we're not technophobes.

        As others have already said on here the real danger is that if such measures are instituted then we'll be creating an entire populace of people that just don't understand what it is

    • Re:About damn time (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Planesdragon (210349)
      Furthermore: we should put a GPS tag on all cars that'll report you if you go over the speed limit

      Why not? There's hardly an expectation of privacy, and hard-enforced speed limits would force the populace and the government to come to a real agreement on speeding.

      . Oh, and we'll need to inspect it twice a year for illegal modifications to your ride.

      Twice is a bit much. How about once? (looks out window, sees annual inspection stickers on EVERY car.)

      BTW, the cops'll be around next Tuesday to che
      • Re:About damn time (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Apro+im (241275) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:35PM (#11636321) Homepage
        telling the government that you do in fact own twenty rifles and help train your friends in civil insurgency? Sure. It'll keep them honest.

        Terrorist! Off you go to Guantanamo Bay - no, leave those rights at home, you won't need them.
      • Re:About damn time (Score:3, Interesting)

        by geekoid (135745)
        "Why not? There's hardly an expectation of privacy, and hard-enforced speed limits would force the populace and the government to come to a real agreement on speeding."
        Good question:]
        1) because it will be a taxation issue, not a safty issue. Every installation of traffic light camers has led to a reduction of yello light time. specifically so they could issue more tickets.
        It would be very profitable for the city to make the highway speed limits 45 MPH. "for safety"

        2) You are now in a position where you mu
  • This won't work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FrYGuY101 (770432) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:03PM (#11636013) Journal
    It reminds me of one class I had in High School. You signed in at the door, and the teacher never checked.

    It was the last period of the day, and an extremely easy class. So despite there being the full list of students, the classroom was basically empty.

    So, how long do you think it will be until students just give their badges to their friends?
    • Yeah, like that episode of TNG where the runaways left their comm badges (basically the RFID badge we're talking about here) to ride the elevator while they went wherever. Unless you're going to implant these in something important, I can't see them being reliable when you need them (ie, you can tell when johnny innocent is in class, but if johnny is getting his gun from his locker he's probably left his badge somewhere)
    • Re:This won't work (Score:2, Informative)

      by civman2 (773494)
      My cousins attend UMass at Amherst. They have little "laser gun type things" that they use to sign in. You just scan your ID with the scanner and it marks you as present. Some of their classes are in lecture halls with over 400 students. They just rotate who shows up to class based on day of the week.

      They already have.
    • Re:This won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Caseyscrib (728790) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:49PM (#11636473)
      So, how long do you think it will be until students just give their badges to their friends?

      Yeah but turn this around. Let's say the student loses his name tag and some other kids find it. Those kids enter some unauthorized area and cause damage. I guarantee you the school will come looking for the student. When he/she says he lost his ID card, they'll just suspend him for not having his ID card. They might do that on top of holding him accountable for breaking stuff.

      Basically, you're shifting the burden of proof onto the accused - guilty until proven innocent. Very bad move! It's no wonder kids don't understand their constitutional rights when we treat them like cattle.

      Oh, and in regards to your original statement, the school won't even check the records until something happens. It won't prevent anything except make it easier for the school to point and say "You broke the rules here, here, and here." Most of the rules broken are usually asinine in the first place, and no reasonable person would follow them. In doing this, the school also violates the right of every single other student following the rules.

  • How is using an RFID system which is more accurate, efficient, and convenient any different from tracking students on paper?

    Most schools I've seen use paper attendance sheets; keep a paper copy of your schedule (ie. where you SHOULD be during that time period) and require a written record if you leave a class for any reason and also your destination--bathroom included.

    I fail to see the difference here, let alone how it's somehow an invasion of privacy.
    • I fail to see the difference here,
      The difference is that you can see where the attendance sheets are, you can't see where the readers are located.
      • And you can see every teacher on duty walking the halls to catch kids cutting class? I know of teachers when I was in high school that would hide to ambush kids that were skipping.

      • "The difference is that you can see where the attendance sheets are, you can't see where the readers are located."

        Does it matter? If it were installed where I went to school I'd expect one in the doorway of every room and any entrance to the building.

        I wouldn't expect privacy in a bathroom anyway as a faculty member is usually assigned the task of periodicially checking for students that shouldn't be in there.

        Worried about someone somehow reading the tags from outside of the building? Ok, in the case of
    • When I was in HS (which was only 6 years ago), there was no "tracking system" of any kind. Sure, some teachers took attendance. But most did not. And there was definitely no school-wide system.

      Seriously, how hard is it for a dumbfuck teacher to notice when a kid is missing 2-3 days a week? It is not like we're talking university-style auditoriums of hundreds of students.. a typical HS class side is only 30-45 kids.

      Is there really a *need* to automate this? Seems like a waste of money more than anything el
      • 45 kids in a High School class? Seriously? My god Americans are right to slag off their state education system. When I went to school here in Scotland the legal maximum was about 31 for theory classes (English, Maths, Geography, Modern Languages, etc.) and 22-ish for practical (Sciences, Art, PE, Tech, etc). And I believe that has been lowered since.
    • by Petrushka (815171) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:25PM (#11636233)
      Exactly. This is a case of gratuitous use of excessive technology where pen and paper are capable of doing the job precisely as accurately, almost as efficiently, and much more cheaply.

      The only motivation for this is surveillance for the sake of surveillance: to spy on students in forums where the school knows it would not normally have the right to spy on them. (I am reminded of how I, as a non-USAian, have to provide the FBI with my photo and fingerprints every time I enter the US. That isn't to catch crooks or terrorists: it's surveillance for the sake of surveillance.)

      Oh, and by the way, we have always been at war with Eurasia.
    • by Gen-GNU (36980) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:33PM (#11636304)
      The difference, as I see it is removing the basic trust given to students by the school. As it stands, if you show up late for a class, and say you got held late in the previous one, the teacher can say trust you and not mark you as late.

      It's a basic human system. Students in high school are becoming adults. As such, they need to be given some freedom, and shown that they can go outside the lines a bit as long as it isn't excessive, and still be ok. The world is not out to get them, but if they completely disregard the rules, then they will be in trouble.

      This system changes that. Now anytime you step outside the lines, it can be tracked, every story checked. You, from day 1 entering the school, are treated as if you are guilty. Now we are saying to students who enter the schoool: "we know you're gonna screw up, and we want to be able to prove it when you do."
      • "The difference, as I see it is removing the basic trust given to students by the school. As it stands, if you show up late for a class, and say you got held late in the previous one, the teacher can say trust you and not mark you as late."

        I think the rest of your argument is fairly valid. Although I'd like to mention the school I went to already had removed the trust. If you were late, you had to provide written proof that a teacher held you up. If you didn't have it, you were sent to get it. If you
      • The University of New Hampshire provides free access to a full-time attorney for any of its students if they need help with legal issues. She will even defend you if you get arrested. I loved this idea the second I heard it, and think we should have a "public defendant" at our high schools, but only for the reason that we have a police officer there. It's only fair to the student to have somebody advocating their rights when they're going up against powerful authority. Also, if we are trying to treat s
    • How is using an RFID system which is more accurate, efficient, and convenient any different from tracking students on paper? [...] I fail to see the difference here, let alone how it's somehow an invasion of privacy.

      Remember that public school is about a whole lot more than education... it's also about teaching kids what they should expect from society. I doubt anyone has a problem with students being accountable. We parents all want our kids to stay in school, to learn, to not cut class. But what we're t
  • by Homology (639438) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:06PM (#11636039)
    "The Brittan School District in Sutter County, California, is requiring students to carry RFID-tagged identity badges on them at all times. Readers are currently installed at the doors to all classrooms. ..."

    I don't envy this kind of freedom....

    • These same kids go say the pledge of allegiance... and we expect them to belive it! No wonder the kids of today grow up all depressed and twisted.
    • Grow up. Kids are required by law to go to school anyway. Is their "freedom" being restricted because they have to be there every day? No one is sticking an RFID under every citizen's skin so they can be tracked by government satellite. They are making sure kids at school are in fact at school.
    • ...because Bush saying something and a local municipality's school district have a LOT in common, dipshit.

      Maybe we should have all of the faculty, staff, and administrators at the school wear earplugs and blindfolds, and ban surveillance cameras of any kind, because the people who are the stewards of minors and entrusted with their protection in a public, tax-funded school system have NO RIGHT to no where those students are, and definitely don't have a right to use technology to make their lives easier.

      Fi
  • RFID good? (Score:5, Funny)

    by t_allardyce (48447) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:06PM (#11636045) Journal
    Well the upside to all this is that if a major school shooting takes place, the university will be all set up for the bodies.

    (ducks)
  • All times? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by null etc. (524767) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:07PM (#11636052)
    On the back is a tube roughly the size of a roll of dimes.

    Sounds like fun to carry.

    which then is translated into the student's name by software contained in a handheld device used by teachers to check attendance.

    I can see it now: "Hey, Mikey - take my badge and scan it for English class, or I'm gonna beat you up with it!"

    Bueller... Bueller... Bueller...

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:07PM (#11636054)
    Get together several times a day to trade id badges... and leave the staff wondering why the girls are going to the boy's restroom, etc.! They can require you to carry an ID, but can they enforce a requirement to carry YOUR OWN ID?
    • Re:Obvious solution (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Verteiron (224042) * on Thursday February 10, 2005 @08:45PM (#11636950) Homepage
      No, they can't. But they can make expulsion the penalty for giving away/trading your badge. Then you'll have to go to a different school, presumably one without tracking devices. Mind you, the buses won't get you if you're outside the school's district, so you'll have to get a ride or drive yourself there.

      If you can't get to a different school, you and your parents will be called to appear in court and explain why. Unless the reason is provably medical or financial, you will then be ordered to attend school. This order does not mean you will be re-admitted to your own school again, it means you have to find a way to get to some school that will accept you from outside its own district. In addition, the state will fine you (and your parents) and assign you (and your parents) community service.

      If you fail/refuse to do this, you will face further fines, more community service hours AND you will be forced (as in police coming to your house and physically carrying you if neccessary) to go to a special truancy school filled with recovering druggies, violent kids undergoing therapy, and anyone who doesn't (or can't) conform to "the system" at their own expense.

      Peaceful protest is always an option for a student. Unfortunately, the consequences are unpleasant not just for the student but for his entire family. Your best bet is to attact a lot of media attention while going through the process outlined above. Public outcry usually gets some kind of action taken.

      You might be able to fight the tracking system if you can pass off your refusal to use it as a "free speech" right, but don't bet on it. Read up on "Tinker v. Des Moines (393 US 503)" if you're interested in this.
  • Bah. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Telastyn (206146)
    So what? I mean schools require students to reply to a roll call... making them swipe a badge is the same thing.

  • Outlaws (Score:5, Funny)

    by imscarr (246204) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:07PM (#11636059) Homepage
    When RFID spoofers are outlawed, only outlaws will have RFID spoofers.

  • > Readers were removed from bathrooms when parents protested. The school district is meeting next week to consider parents objections to the system."

    "Consider". Heh, and all this time I've been spelling "override" the old-fashioned way.

    >Relatedly (but not), Leilah writes "The University of California is considering using RFID tags or bar codes to help track their collection of bodies and parts. They are attempting to reopen their body donation program which has been on hold since spring 2004 due

  • Not a big deal. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Seumas (6865) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:10PM (#11636070)
    I'm not a fan of radical RFID use. I'm skeptical of many uses, such as sticking them in bank cards so that when you step through the doors of your local branch, they know whether they can ignore you or if you're a significant enough customer that they should meet you at the door and give you tip-top attention.

    This just doesn't seem like a big deal. Rather than wasting class time doing roll-call, they automate it so that as soon as you walk into the class, you're counted as present. This will help parents and school officials know that students are not missing and are where they should be. Maybe they'll even implement full blown java cards to ensure that only the AV-club students can access the AV room, only faculty can access the faculty lounge and so on. Even better would be requiring the use of a java card to gain access to the school at all. Swipe the card to get in the front door. No more lunatics wandering the halls.

    Oh, and most adults have to use these cards in the real world, too. The only difference is that we have to swipe our cards and that swipe usually ends up in a database, logging the time, door and building we entered. The only difference here is that the RFID readers in the door eliminate the need to swipe the card.

    I also don't see the big deal with tagging body parts like this. It enforced accountability and I'm pretty sure dead people or someone who no longer has that arm attached to them doesn't much care what happens to it - tagged or not.

    Also, any remotely intelligent kid will just wrap the card with a couple layers of tin foil, stick it in their lunch box, etc.

    Like I said, I'm a really skeptical person when it comes to RFIDs. I hate the idea of tagging, tracking and cataloging EVERYTHING under the sun. But these two cited implementations seem entirely reasonable.
  • by fm6 (162816) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:11PM (#11636078) Homepage Journal
    ...when you can't remember where you left a cadaver?
    • Grad Student: "Good afternoon, officer, I'm so happy you came right away. You see, I need your help with registering something as stolen property."

      Cop: "Could you give me a description of the stolen property?"

      Grad Student: "Yes, you see, she was about 1.7 or 1.8 meters, brown hair, in a black body bag...."

      Cop: (WTF?)
  • They are attempting to reopen their body donation program which has been on hold since spring 2004 due to disappearing parts...

    Somebody please clue me in here. What sort of a sick excuse for a human being would steal parts of a cadaver???
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:13PM (#11636097)
    I am getting the impression from reading rants on Slashdot that people think if you have an RFID badge that someone could be sitting at some screen watching a little dot represent a person as they move across a building. Watching the little dot move step-by-step down the building.

    Yes, this is an invasion of privacy but this is not what RFID does. RFID is an inventory control method. Almost always, an [unpowered] RFID badge must be swiped within a foot a reader - and even then you sometimes have to swipe it once or twice to get a reading. RFID cannot and does not provide a method of tracking exact locations.
    • RFID cannot and does not provide a method of tracking exact locations.

      This is pure speculation on my part, but given a powered badge and two readers, it should be possible to triangulate the loaction of the badge, right? But then you could do the same thing a cell phone...

      I know you were specifically referring to unpowered badges, but unless you remove the battery (and most probably won't), badges like these [rfideas.com] have a range of fifteen feet. I've worked these badges in the past, and I've been able to pic

    • Yes, but if you put an RFID reader in every door in a building you can get a pretty good idea of where the person went and what he did. It's not as invasive as video monitoring (you can't see exactly what the person in the room, just when he entered it), but in a way it's worse because there's no way to hide from it, assuming you're forced to wear the badges and every door has a reader. Sure, if you put a card reader at the front of the school you'd be able to see when kids went in and out, but it wouldn'
  • by fireduck (197000) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:17PM (#11636132)
    is what the school gets in return. This article points out that the school got some computer equipment donated to them. However, according to the version of this story at MSNBC [msn.com]:
    "InCom has paid the school several thousand dollars for agreeing to the experiment, and has promised a royalty from each sale if the system takes off, said the company's co-founder, Michael Dobson, who works as a technology specialist in the town's high school. Brittan's technology aide also works part-time for InCom."

    Seems more like this is less of a "it's for the safety of the kids" and more of a "let's make money by tagging our kids like cattle."
  • by jemenake (595948) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:18PM (#11636144)
    Frankly, I don't really see any problem with the tracking of the kids, per se. It doesn't tell you what they're doing in the bathroom... it just lets you know that they are in the bathroom... which I don't regard as an invasion of privacy, really. All in all, it's good to keep close track of those meddling kids.

    However....

    The thing about this that really freaks me out is that it might give us a group of future voters who view this level of tracking as "the way things are". I'm someone who considers the Patriot act to be a dangerous step in the direction of Nazi Germany. However, I think that a group of kids just graduating from a school where they wore, essentially, tracking beacons for four year will think that the Patriot Act is downright lax.
    • I don't know if I like this plan, but I agree. The kids have to be there anyway, so how exactly is making SURE they are there a violation of freedom or privacy or whatever.

      However, the feeling that someone is always watching you is very unpleasant, and it cannot possibly be psychologically healthy to feel that for long durations of time. The knowledge that you are being personally tracked all day, 180 days a year, for 12 years has to be mentally destructive.
    • I think the reason people are weirded out by this, but not by paper attendance lists and other traditional methods of getting kids to go to class, is that technology has a tendency to be regarded as absolute and infallible, and its records are used instead of human judgment. This creates the "well, the computer says so. the computer's never wrong" situation which popped up in old jokes about banks etc.

      You can argue with the principal that you forgot to sign the attendence sheet but what if they rely on t
  • Microwave them (Score:3, Interesting)

    by forand (530402) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:22PM (#11636201) Homepage
    If the parents are upset over this they should just microwave their child's identity card everytime they get one. The child can continue wearing the card but it won't do anything.
  • Zombies (Score:3, Funny)

    by ajlitt (19055) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:25PM (#11636227)
    This will certainly make it easier to find the zombies.

    1) Put RFID chips in body parts
    2) Wait for zombies to eat them
    3) ???
    4) Profit!
  • "Living-impaired" attorneys/advocates who will fight tooth and nail to keep RFID tags off of those who are disadvantaged by their lack of basic life signs. Dead people have rights (voting?) too, you know!
  • The UC system? Good luck putting RFID tags on Berkeley students.

  • My girl has a university class that has over 400 students. To sign in to class everyone had to buy a 18 dollar little remote sign in thingy. Like a remote control. Yes after a little while some students would have their friends "beam" them in for attendance. In one class a bunch of students got caught cause one guy had like 10 remotes for all of his friends that ditched. Although I don't know how he got caught cause you can basically beam in from the back of the auditorium. Haha
  • As indirectly noted elsewhere in the thread, the system doesn't mean very much unless they can tie it to real people. That calls for two extensions.

    The minor one is that they need some external system to detect a human presence. This covers both the cases of one student trying to carry several students' IDs, or the case of someone who does not have an ID.

    The more serious and intrusive extension is to link the ID to the bearer. There are various ways this could be done. For example, a proximity-linked su

  • @Birth (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:31PM (#11636293) Homepage Journal
    Why not just tag us at birth.. add sensors everywhere.. stores. schools. homes. cars.

    "Its for the children"

    My kid would be home schooled if our system here tried this garbage.
  • Michael Jackson will be buying a reader!
  • That would solve the problem of students giving their badges to friends in order to play hookey. I cant imagine a teen giving up their phone for any significant amount of time.
  • by barfy (256323) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @08:14PM (#11636677)
    This is being used to automatically take attendance. That's it.

    Nobody's "rights" are being violated, nobody is forced to take any drugs... Yes, you look like a bit of a dork wearing one, and I am not sure that there has been a rash of elementary kids that have been trying to infiltrate the school.

    I am pretty sure that this is not serving any purpose other than enriching the school. How hard *is* attendance anyways? But surely, this is no big deal.

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