Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy Education United Kingdom

Students Tracked In UK College Via RFID For 1-3 Years 64

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-know-what-you-did-last-summer dept.
wendyg writes "As part of redeveloping its three-site campus and without consultation with parents or the Information Commissioner, the UK's West Cheshire College installed a highly detailed tracking system using ultrawideband RFID tags handed out to its 14- to 17-year-old students. The system, which cost up approximately £1 million, was abandoned earlier this year because of escalating costs and lack of the functionality the college wanted. The college has been reluctant to answer questions, dubbing privacy campaigner and persistent questioner Pippa King 'vexatious,' and material relating to the trial has been vanishing off the Net. The law requiring parental consent for the use of biometrics in schools (for things like taking attendance and paying for meals) came into force last month. It seems it already needs to be updated."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Students Tracked In UK College Via RFID For 1-3 Years

Comments Filter:
  • by kipsate (314423) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @05:04PM (#45476675)
    No RFID required to track you all day. Cameras everywhere. Carrying a cellphone? Driving a car?

    We already know where you are, and where you're going.
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Its about simplicity and cost. Its *far* simpler than tracking via cameras ( especially real-time ) and cheaper than a phone, which is often banned in schools anyway and since they are not school owned like the RFID tags, there might be some legal issues.

      RFID is super cheap, reusable, and simple to automate the tracking.

      • RFID is super cheap, reusable, and simple to automate the tracking.

        Well, maybe the tags are, but the systems to do so clearly aren't.

      • and easy to defeat. How long do you think it would be before a significant portion of the students would be walking around with their cards in shielded envelopes made of foil? You can even buy he damned things at gas stations now in designer colors.

        • by nurb432 (527695)

          And when defeated you get in trouble,. In a controlled environment its easy to detect defeated/nonfunctional ones.. you have 10 kids in class but only 8 register on the map...

          • by Obfuscant (592200)

            And when defeated you get in trouble,. In a controlled environment its easy to detect defeated/nonfunctional ones.. you have 10 kids in class but only 8 register on the map...

            No, more like a phone call to the parents. "Billy hasn't been in class for a week. Could you provide a parent's release or doctor's note, please?" Even though the name of the place was "College", the ages are high school -- 14-17.

            And that is the good reason for the tracking system. Attendance for headcount purposes, and so the attendee can be found easily if the parents call saying "his Mom is in the hospital, can you find him and tell him to come home?" When the parents expect schools to keep track of th

  • Biometrics? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by intermodal (534361) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @05:04PM (#45476677) Homepage Journal

    This isn't biometrics. This is RFID.

    • I believe that was what he was suggesting at the end -- that the new law needs to have RFID added to it.

      • While I would tend to agree, the difference between RFID and biometrics is fairly significant in that one can change or not carry an RFID. Biometrics are permanent feature of you. Even if the endgame is similar, the arguments against each in this kind of context are both valid and different in significant ways.

    • This isn't biometrics. This is RFID.

      This isn't tracking. This is convenience.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @05:06PM (#45476693)

    Anyone who wants to track anyone else. Must first wear a gps enabled public accessable camera 24-7 for 1 full year.

    If after that you STILL think it's a good idea. We shoot you in the head.

    We haven't tried this yet. I'm sure it can work.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Anyone who wants to track anyone else. Must first wear a gps enabled public accessable camera 24-7 for 1 full year.

      If after that you STILL think it's a good idea. We shoot you in the head.

      We haven't tried this yet. I'm sure it can work.

      I'd rather spank them silly with a hardcover edition of Orwell's '1984' with the Eurythmics playing "1984" [youtube.com] in the background.

    • by umghhh (965931)
      not sure why people so upset - it is all for our own good
    • If after that you STILL think it's a good idea. We shoot you in the head.

      I can't stand these 'privacy is dead' or 'privacy is an anomaly' douchebags...we have whatever privacy that we as consumers/voters demand!

      I appreciate the finality and certainty of your joke...we really do need to just tell the 'privacy is dead' people to fuck off and die...or w/e language is appropriate for the context ;)

      'fuck off and die'...we geeks need to start drawing lines for what work we'll do...

      imagine a world where tracking p

      • even if the US engineers stopped playing ball with The Man(tm), overseas in india they will not even UNDERSTAND what privacy is, let alone care about it. certainly not care about it over here!

        its a lost cause. enough of us are selfish pricks that we only live for our own job and income and care nothing for what is good for Us as a whole. if we cared, you would not find google sitting in so many buildings, fucking us over daily with their attacks on privacy.

        engineers will never unionize for the same reaso

    • by jcr (53032)

      I like this plan. Especially the last part.

      -jcr

  • Make it mandatory to wear Google Glasses and an EEG. Oh and you're not allowed to turn it off. You know, like cellphones, can't take out the battery either.
    • by roc97007 (608802)

      > You know, like cellphones, can't take out the battery either.

      Can't take the battery out of your smart phone? There's a secret way to turn it completely off: (a) Grab the ends of your smartphone firmly. (b) Twist as hard as you can.

      The store will assist you in turning your smart phone back on. [1]

      [1] "Gee, I don't know what happened. I just found it like that. Maybe it exploded. This is covered under warranty, right?"

  • by rijrunner (263757) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @05:28PM (#45476887)

    So.. someone got their hands on the Marauder's Map..

    • by rossdee (243626)

      Any significantly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - A C Clarke

  • Training (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @05:30PM (#45476905) Homepage Journal

    Train the next generation to accept it as normal.

  • by Bruce66423 (1678196) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @05:39PM (#45476987)
    One of the students or their parents needs to submit a request for all the data held about the student by the college; data protection laws in the UK require ANY data holder to provide this in full for £10 ($17). This MUST include a full record of all that was recorded about them by this system. Once that has been obtained, we will know the reality, rather continue to speculate.
    • by Inda (580031)
      Yep, it's called a Subject Access Request (SAR) and can be used to belt companies over the head. Every UK company claims to follow the Data Protection Act and has certificates plastered in their receptions to show how great they are, but I've yet to find a company that follows the law.

      Here's a good tool: send your SAR and wait for the reply. 99% of the time, they will not include the letter you sent them requesting the SAR. This is one piece of documentation you know without doubt they have in their posessi
  • Does anyone else find the title "Information Commissioner" Orwellian in itself?

    • by NoMaster (142776)
      About as Orwellian as "Homeland Security". The difference is that no-one in the UK has ever made thinly-veiled propaganda^w^w TV shows promoting the good, necessary, and important work of the honest folk who are just doing their jobs working for the Information Comissioner...
  • by mythosaz (572040) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @05:58PM (#45477159)

    Not all individual tracking is evil. If they were forced into the system, or they violated privacy laws, then reprimand appropriately and move on.

    Traffic has a similar problem. With simple traffic flow measuring, you see that exit 220 was high volume and too crowded, so you expand it. If you had tracked cars end-to-end, you'd have seen that the real bottleneck was the absurdly bad exit 219, which nobody used, since 220 was, albeit slow, still better than taking exit 219.

    You can likely simulate student moments from class to class, department to department, and building to building since you know their schedules (must walk from the McKinley building to the Grant building in 10 minutes on Wednesdays at 1:20pm), but figuring out when individual students from individual classes go on their breaks and schedule gaps is a challenge akin to the exit 220 issue, and if you're genuinely interested in planning your new buildings in a way that don't hamper an already busy campus, you track individual movements.

    Let tinfoil types opt out.

    ...or just track their phone's MAC surreptitiously. :)

    • by abies (607076)

      Based on data gathered from RFID tracing in our college, we will start coeducational toilets, because of high frequency of male-female pairs being close together in one of existing, gender-separate ones.

  • by PPH (736903) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @09:25PM (#45478413)

    Steve Irwin, slowly sneaking up on a student with net, tranquilizer gun and tracking device.

    "Crikey! These can be meaner than a crocodile if you corner them outside of homeroom."

  • A group at a college wants total access to track everything about students, spending undisclosed funds with undisclosed backers for undisclosed reasons, and they can't actually share the results because it is sensitive? And that's on top of a vague goal as to what this would accomplish.

    Well, at least there is some consistency to this fascist trend.

Everyone can be taught to sculpt: Michelangelo would have had to be taught how not to. So it is with the great programmers.

Working...