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Brazilian Schoolchildren Tagged By Computer Chips 288

Posted by timothy
from the combine-two-fetishes-into-one dept.
New submitter smi.james.th writes with an AP story, and extracts from it: "'Grade-school students in a northeastern Brazilian city are using uniforms embedded with computer chips that alert parents if they are cutting classes, the city's education secretary, Coriolano Moraes, said Thursday.' Personally I don't find this too inspiring. Mr. Orwell certainly has warned the world about this."
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Brazilian Schoolchildren Tagged By Computer Chips

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  • by schrodingersGato (2602023) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @06:50PM (#39462917)
    I sure hope pedophiles in Brazil can't hack or learn to hack. Holy crap this is bad on so many levels
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, 'cause predatory paedophiles will have such a hard time finding kids otherwise, right?

    • that will kill them

      • by Gonoff (88518) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @07:12PM (#39463039)
        That is probably illegal in Brazil. Even if it is legal to do that to the kids, their parents might object.
      • TFA says the following:

        The T-shirts, can be washed and ironed without damaging the chips, Moraes said adding that the chips have a "security system that makes tampering virtually impossible."

        A microwave probably would destroy the chips, as would any strong enough EM source, but they're used to monitor whether a child is entering or leaving the school. So in other words, if the chip is dead, even if the child is in class, the system wouldn't have registered him because of lack of chip and the parents would get a snotty text message.

        FWIW, I'd probably try and destroy it as well though. Just to show how much I loved it.

    • Lo-tech hacking method, just put your t-shirt in your locker, slip on a different one and skip class anyways. GPS is happy and so is the kid.
      • No, you need your buddy to take your shirt to class with him. Is the GPS good enough to know "two people are in the same chair?"

        • That works until classes start moving around, like gym, theatre, shop, etc or meeting in different rooms. Not to mention having to make special cases for days with assemblies, field trips and other special circumstances.

          I'd guess that would be a huge load of work, and schools would be better off just making sure kids are in the school itself, and letting the teachers and staff ensure that students are in class once they're inside.
        • Do you really think they're putting a GPS (plus some kind of GSM modem to keep track of the location ) in each uniform? And that whole setup fits "underneath each school's coat-of-arms"?

          It's probably a basic RFID tag that gets logged by a reader by the door.

          • by hawguy (1600213)

            Do you really think they're putting a GPS (plus some kind of GSM modem to keep track of the location ) in each uniform? And that whole setup fits "underneath each school's coat-of-arms"?

            It's probably a basic RFID tag that gets logged by a reader by the door.

            They don't need GPS to track RFID chips on-campus, they just need RFID readers at every classroom and building exits.

            • Which is not the plan. They'll only install a reader by the door, according to the news reports.

            • by green1 (322787)

              And what purpose does this serve? have teachers completely forgotten how to take attendance? I know it's low tech, but it's a whole lot more accurate, cheaper, and much less orwellian.

              • Re:Lo-tech hacking (Score:5, Insightful)

                by EdIII (1114411) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @10:07PM (#39463781)

                And what purpose does this serve? have teachers completely forgotten how to take attendance? I know it's low tech, but it's a whole lot more accurate, cheaper, and much less orwellian.

                Not to mention it puts the responsibility with an adult that should already be investing time, energy, and interest in the child's welfare. Not only will that always be better than an automated system, it's also the right thing a teacher should be doing anyways.

      • by jorlando (145683)
        Schools (public or private) in Brazil don't have lockers for students. Maybe some private schools that area modelled after foreign schools.
      • It's not a GPS, just RFID.

    • by hawguy (1600213)

      I sure hope pedophiles in Brazil can't hack or learn to hack. Holy crap this is bad on so many levels

      I don't understand what kind of RFID hack will help a pedophile?

      What good will it do to be able to scan the t-shirt of the kid walking by his van and know that it's child #1231812421?

      It doesn't appear that the RFID chips will contain any identifying information, and why should they -- they just need a number to link the child to the database.

      Besides, most kids (at least in the USA) these days are already broadcasting a unique ID through their phone's Wifi MAC address or unencrypted cell phone signalling.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Oh my god take off your tinfoil hat! This is a basic RFID asset tracking system. It identifies who is in a building at any given time and is no more intrusive than a roll call system.

      So what if a pedophile gets access to the system. It's not like they can track the movements of the person anywhere they are with it.

      • by EdIII (1114411) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @10:21PM (#39463829)

        People are not assets, and should not be tracked.

        A perceived increase in security is never worth a tangible loss in freedoms.

        The danger is the children growing up and thinking this is okay everywhere they go. It is most emphatically, not okay .

        There can be exceptions, for adults only, in high security businesses. In those situations it will be a choice, and most likely well compensated. Tracking systems like this should never, ever, be acceptable in public and daily life, and certainly not for children. They should grow up thinking such systems are weird, intrusive, and only required in the most serious of circumstances.

        People need to fucking grow a pair and realize that life is dangerous. Have some courage and face life head on, and stop being such cowards trading away your freedoms at every corner for shiny trinkets and illusions of a safer world with a better informed authority.

  • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @06:52PM (#39462925)
    Doing this with chips is barbaric. We must do this with cameras and biometrics, hopefully also we'll get drones involved somehow. That's the American way!
    • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @06:57PM (#39462947)

      Doing this with chips is barbaric.

      No, it's British. The American way would be doing it with fries.

    • by amiga3D (567632)

      What ever happened to taking role? What kind of incompetent idiots are running schools when they need to chip the kids to keep up with them?

    • That means, they'll use whatever equipment an expensive contractor can sell. And it won't limit the liberty of the children, because it will work badly for 6 months and none at all after that.

      That is, it will have a chance of working badly if some tribunal somewhere don't declare it illegal. Otherwise, it won't even be turned on.

  • Fuck yes! (Score:4, Funny)

    by owenferguson (521762) <{owenferguson} {at} {hotmail.com}> on Saturday March 24, 2012 @06:52PM (#39462929)
    Sounds like the ideal provocation to strip buck naked and cut some class.
  • by wanzeo (1800058) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @06:53PM (#39462931)

    Technology CANNOT solve social problems. It can only hide symptoms.

    • by thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @07:47PM (#39463249)

      It can SHOW the symptoms. Seriously every school in the world already does this kind of checking. A roll call at the start of the class is the normal way.

      Throughout all of my highschool I've been wondering why we don't do something more productive with technology to automate this waste of the first 5 minutes of every class and incorporate all other services as well such as library loans with technology such as RFID.

      To be perfectly clear GPS tracking of students off school property is completely unacceptable, but this is not the case. This looks like a basic system to see who is in the class. An automated roll call. It's not solving anything, it's simply automating what we do already.

      • by green1 (322787)

        How is a situation in which you count uniforms instead of students an improvement in this area? do you really think the students are too dumb to figure out that they don't need to be present in class, they only have to make sure their chip is? Roll call is much more accurate, much harder to fake, and has the added benefit of being cheap. Not to mention the fact that after about day 5 of the semester it doesn't take any time as the teacher just does a cursory glance around to see which desks aren't occupied

    • Technology CANNOT solve social problems.

      Why not?

      Technology has solved lots of my social problems. I used to have trouble locating family and friends at the mall. Now we all have cellphones, so the problem is solved.

      Technology cannot solve all social problems, but it can certainly solve some of them.

  • It promises security and at the same time obviates the need for the parents to be responsible - the perfect American dream.

    • Just go the extra step and pay the Cool Kid to wear these, to make them The Thing to wear, so that anyone resisting gets socially outcast for a month.

      (/Bitter)

  • Those kids will learn very well that

    Being monitored: restrict your behavior.
    Absence of monitoring: you are free, do whatever you like.

    Those will be good citizens, as long as you don't forget to keep them leashed all the time.
  • by tragedy (27079) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @07:02PM (#39462977)

    I'm assuming this is just an rfid system and not something more elaborate. The question becomes what happens to students who are reported absent by malfunctioning or poorly set up equipment and incorrect information in databases?. In an ideal world, this wouldn't be a problem since the student would be able to verify their presence some other way, then the problem would be conscientiously addressed and corrected. This is the real world, however. In the real world, school administrators tend to be authoritarians and extremely blunt thinkers. The prevalence of ill-thought out "zero tolerance" policies in the area of education makes this perfectly clear. Students identified as absent by this system probably won't be given a chance to prove their innocence and may stand a good chance of being punished more harshly if they try.

    • With a big clump of people moving thought the door at the same time may lead to missing a few reads and with a big load of people beeps may not help as much as they do with one person at a time with a turnstile.

      • by kenh (9056)

        If it misses you on the way in, it will get you on the way out.

        By creating a 'choke point' where only one student can go through at a time (turnstile?) the reader can be assumed accurate, but if you want a backup plan, video record the faces of students that pass through the door...

      • by hawguy (1600213)

        With a big clump of people moving thought the door at the same time may lead to missing a few reads and with a big load of people beeps may not help as much as they do with one person at a time with a turnstile.

        Many kids already enter their school single file through the metal detector, so they'll be able to get clean RFID reads.

        I've run dozens of road races where literally hundreds of people were running across the RFID mats at the start, finish and random split locations, and I can only think of one instance where I didn't get a chip time (which is recorded separatly from clock time), and that was the time that someone stepped on my foot in a crowded start, flattening out the RFID tag (which put a kink in the an

    • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

      Zero tolerance means zero responsibility, and they are made by smart people to avoid these kinds of problems.

      Any time an administrator has to make a decision that may affect a student, they open themselves up to all kinds of trouble. Even if you win, a parent filing a lawsuit is at best a distraction and at worst a money drain. And just having a parent waging war, making noise at PTA meetings, or whatever they can think of to harass the administrator, it can become quite the pain. Usually, some dispute w

  • PoppyCock (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @07:08PM (#39463011) Journal
    Declaring that this is bad is a joke. These are tags in the uniforms of CHILDREN. It is as orwellian as putting RFID in my dogs. I would love to know if my teens cut school. And I am just fine with using a tag in their clothes.

    Now, if they want to do this to an adult, or forced embed it in a human, that is a DIFFERENT issue.
    • Re:PoppyCock (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@h a c k i sh.org> on Saturday March 24, 2012 @07:11PM (#39463027)

      Ah yes, the conservative mentality: children are pets of their adult owners.

      • Ah yes, the conservative mentality: children are pets of their adult owners.

        Conservatives are the ones for freedom and elimination of government oversight at all levels.

        Liberals are the ones who do things "for your own good".

        Get it straight man or you end up voting for exactly the opposite result as you desire. See: present.

        • Conservatives are the ones for freedom and elimination of government oversight at all levels.

          (new keyboard; please send me one.)

          btw, thanks for the bellylaugh.

        • by causality (777677) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @08:12PM (#39463377)

          Ah yes, the conservative mentality: children are pets of their adult owners.

          Conservatives are the ones for freedom and elimination of government oversight at all levels.

          Liberals are the ones who do things "for your own good".

          Get it straight man or you end up voting for exactly the opposite result as you desire. See: present.

          Actually conservatism is all about worship of the status quo. It is the belief that it should change very slowly if at all. It's misused all the time by people who don't understand it, and so has become one of those words that means whatever the speaker intends it to mean. But that's the actual definition; look it up if you doubt me.

          Libertarians (similar to classical liberals, nothing like modern liberals) are the ones who want to maximize freedom. Libertarianism is the belief that consenting adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want, no matter who disapproves, so long as they don't pose a threat to non-participants. Libertarianism would seriously take off as a political movement if it were possible to get candidates on the ballot for all major elections, which is why the two-party duopoly creates ridiculously elaborate, inconsistent, burdensome electoral rules and deeply entrenched funding mechanisms to prevent this from happening.

          Of course, "convervative" has been co-opted as a term and now tends to mean someone who is prudish, religious in an institutional (not personal) way, and wishes their preferred lifestyle to have the force of law, combined with the celebration of corporate power over state power. Just like "liberal" has become co-opted to mean "we know what's good for you" social engineering as well as an obsession with group identity (black, white, female, etc) at the expense of dealing with people as individuals. In that sense conservatives tend to be materialistic while liberals tend to be utterly childish and unable to separate their emotions from reason. Both are the delight of power-hungry politicians everywhere because both can be pandered to.

          • Libertarianism would seriously take off as a political movement if it were possible to get candidates on the ballot for all major elections, which is why the two-party duopoly creates ridiculously elaborate, inconsistent, burdensome electoral rules and deeply entrenched funding mechanisms to prevent this from happening.

            By your argument, in countries where political systems do not have a two-party duopoly, and third parties can easily get on the ballot and garner votes, they should do really well. Why, then, it does not happen in practice?

            E.g. in New Zealand, the parliament is elected using MMP, making it pretty easy for small parties to get at least one candidate in. Yet, their Libertarian party has never managed to get a single seat - they've tried five times under MMP, getting less than 1% of votes every time (in fact,

            • Indeed. The problem is this - Most people aren't libertarians.

              Everyone wants to be free, but few want everyone to be free.

              Until this changes, none of us can be free.

      • by kenh (9056)

        And the liberal mentality is they are the wards of the state - the state will provide all their needs, in a manner the state finds appropriate.

        Whee! It's fun to make up positions for other people, I can see why you do that trepidity...

      • ahem.

        pets are usually far better behaved.

    • These are tags in the uniforms of CHILDREN

      Early monitoring by the state is especially depressing.

      I would love to know if my teens cut school.

      It's too bad instead you'll only know if your kids clothes are at school.

      I'd say the going rate per day to hold a jacket in my backpack going to class could easily exceed $1, even in Brazil.

      So why is it valuable to train your kids to be sneaky bastards?

      If the state is not monitoring them you can place much more sophisticated devices for spot checks without them even th

      • This is not more "monitoring the state" than a traditional roll call. It's just logging entrances and exits. Doing it automatically or by hand is irrelevant.

    • Re:PoppyCock (Score:5, Insightful)

      by causality (777677) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @07:24PM (#39463111)

      Now, if they want to do this to an adult, or forced embed it in a human, that is a DIFFERENT issue.

      If you had always been tagged from the time you were a small child, and had all your life to get used to the idea, would you still think so?

      That's the danger.

      It's early conditioning (indoctrination) for a future time when it will be easier to justify (excuse) doing this to adults. Right now lots of adults feel the way you do about tagging or chipping adults. That makes it politically difficult or impossible to do that right now. That's about the only thing stopping it because politics is full of authoritarian types who would love to do it.

      • by hawguy (1600213)

        Now, if they want to do this to an adult, or forced embed it in a human, that is a DIFFERENT issue.

        If you had always been tagged from the time you were a small child, and had all your life to get used to the idea, would you still think so?

        That's the danger.

        I spent 12 years of being forced to eat school cafeteria meals with no chance to go off-campus for lunch.

        When I started college, I took full advantage of the freedom to eat fast food of my own choosing whenver I could afford it despite the fact that I had a "free" on-campus meal plan.

        Just because someone accepts something in grade school doesn't mean that they won't appreciate giving it up after they are out of school.

        • by causality (777677)

          Just because someone accepts something in grade school doesn't mean that they won't appreciate giving it up after they are out of school.

          Likewise, just because you can break free from your early influence and training, and question it, and ultimately reject it, does not mean that the average person has enough individuality to do so.

          That's a very sad and tragic thing to say. I wish it weren't so. But in this way, you are somewhat exceptional.

    • These are tags in the uniforms of CHILDREN. It is as orwellian as putting RFID in my dogs.

      I think the fine point here is, it's as Orwellian as who putting RFID in your dogs?

      The police? Animal Control? A neighbor? The Chinese restaurant down the street?

      They're your dogs, and legally children (in the U.S., anyway) are considered the property of parents until the age of majority. But these are mandated uniforms. Other parents may not want their children tagged, and their choice doesn't seem to matter quite so much. I would think this would be opt-in so that it would. Either way, the child's

      • Should I get to choose whether my child can reply to a roll call or not? If not, how is this different?

        For fucks sake, people, it's a damn RFID tag, not a GPS embedded under their skin.

        • Should I get to choose whether my child can reply to a roll call or not?

          I love that question! If the State is going to make public education mandatory, perhaps there should be a better assurance that the schools haven't become repurposed to merely desensitize them to being oppressed and intimately micromanaged, in preparation for their adult years as citizens. So they will tolerate anything as voters, consumers and employees.

          And this seems like a good issue to raise the question. Just as the introduction of backscatter scanners would have been the obvious point at which to r

          • In this instance, how is it any different?

            Uh, one thing is tracking them everywhere they go, another is just logging the timestamps of when they go through the entrace door. There's a big difference.

            The same goes for mandatory drug-tests at work when they get older. Perhaps the employer would also like to get some bloodwork done, to make sure you're not going to keel over from something you're genetically-predisposed to in a few years.

            Sorry, but I don't see how is mandatory drug-tests - an obvious and disgusting privacy violation - in any way similar to this.

            Our society - I don't know about Brazil's - has been getting increasingly more one-sided in disfavor of the individual. The approach in TFA doesn't seem like another likely maneuver towards that to you?

            Well, I'm not part of "your society" either, but no, I don't see how is this a maneuver towards that, and apparently no one here has been able to explain it either.

  • Whatever happened to good ol' fashioned attendance? Back when I was going to school, it was done with Scantron forms. The teacher took attendance and sent a runner to deliver the form(s) to the attendance office where they were processed. Once it was determined that a kid was out that shouldn't have been, that office called the parent to ascertain where the kid was. Simple, effective, and hardly Orwellian.

    Don't get me started on taking attendance in college courses, though...
    • by Cwix (1671282)

      My school didn't even go that for technologically. Roll was called, teacher checked the correct box. Slip was filled out and in between classes that teacher would deliver the results to the office to be dealt with.

  • Why put them in their uniform? The kid gets naked and your tracking goes in a messy pile of laundry next to the bed he's cavorting in. Or they ditch the uniforms are go for a ride while the uniform is still reporting them as school.

    Make the kids eat the chips every few days. This way you'll be able to identify their mangled remains after their car goes off the road or after they get kidnapped, murdered, their bodies set on fire after the parents cant pay the ransom....

  • Shhh (Score:4, Informative)

    by kenh (9056) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @07:22PM (#39463099) Homepage Journal

    Don't tell the kids there are 'magic transmitters' in their school uniforms - they'll just take off the RFID tag-laden article of clothing and put it in a friends backpack...

    And the teachers will wonder how her computer says every student is in the class when half the seats are empty?

  • Take off your T-shirt and give it to a friend. He will enter and stay in school with it. At the end of class, take it back outside the school.
  • If not, they'll become fundamentalists or Muslim terrorists. Or racists.

    Normally I'm against Orwellian schemes, but this one is for a good cause.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How long until little Suzie is carrying around 4 shirts/skirts in her bag for $10 each for her friends?

  • http://craphound.com/littlebrother/download [craphound.com] - some schools in South Carolina [slashdot.org] and elsewhere [blogspot.com] might be badly in need of that too...

    At least unlike British politicians the authories of Brazil do not seem to have proposed that kids be implanted with radio IDs (just yet).
  • by Desmoden (221564) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @10:05PM (#39463773) Homepage

    I get a SMS if my car moves 2ft when I'm not in it. My 3 yellow labs all have id chips as well as GPS trackers. My laptop and phone have "find me" features so I don't loose my precious terminal.

    However your kids, your husband, wife, parents run around in complete secrecy under the guise of "privacy"

    When people aren't looking, people do HORRIBLE THINGS. When teachers aren't looking kids do screwed up things, uncles "touch" and ask to not "tell", priests take advantage, people have strokes on hiking trips, pass out in bars.

    I should not only know where my most precious humans are, but I should know they are safe, conscious and alive.

    Sex trafficking, kidnapping, dump luck kill, wounds and mentally damages the brother and sisters and wives and husbands of all of us, and we sit around saying " oh it's totally worth it, because "privacy" is so critical.

    I grew up in a town with a secret gov facility. We were all under constant surveillance We all knew it.

    If sunlight or starlight can touch you, so can anyone who wants to. Anyone who thinks differently is kidding themselves.

    It's time we get over that book and start taking care of our loved ones.

    It MUST be transparent. It MUST have watchers watching watchers watching watchers. It MUST be optional.

    and we MUST stop losing humans like car keys.

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