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Student RFID Tracking Suspended from School

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the do-you-know-where-your-kids-are dept.

Privacy 412

ewhac writes "As reported earlier, a Sutter County, CA, elementary school unilaterally took the dubious step of forcing students, under penalty of disciplinary action, to wear RFID badges with their name, grade, and photo. The RFID tags were read by sensors placed above classroom and bathroom doors (though the latter had been shut off). The system was ostensibly used to automate attendance-keeping. Well, InCom Corp., the company that provided the tech free of charge to the school, has abruptly pulled out, without explanation. The school superintendant claimed to be, "disappointed," at the development. However, some parents are not mollified, and vow to permanently keep such people-tracking technologies out of their schools."

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412 comments

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695243)

FP

TO YOUR MOM

Like War Of Warcraft (5, Insightful)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695245)

Due to high demand [cnn.com], this company has no other option but to pull out from this school charity.

But seriously, businesses rarely do things for free, and it's unlikely any one would offer free services in exchange of bad PR.

Re:Like War Of Warcraft (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695420)

They'll be back in a few years - we always act suprised at first ... then you have to feed your kids and put up with it at work and you forget about it after a couple of months like with video survelliance.

Re: Like War Of Warcraft (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695502)


> But seriously, businesses rarely do things for free,

Undoubtedly they were trying to generate a success story in a gamble to be first-to-market. "The first (school's) fix is free."

> and it's unlikely any one would offer free services in exchange of bad PR.

Yeah, bad PR doesn't fit the (hypothetical) business plan given ablove.

Nothing like a good controversy... (0)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695253)

Nothing like a good controversy to make an entrepreneur an about-face...

Pussyfooting isn't the only answer...

Re:Nothing like a good controversy... (2, Insightful)

tambo (310170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695503)

Nothing like a good controversy to make an entrepreneur an about-face...

It's just too bad that the "controversy" detracts attention from the actual issue.

I'm a pretty strong privacy advocate, but I simply can't understand the parents' uproar over this. Teachers take attendance, and hall monitors watch hallways between periods. RFIDs take attendance and watch hallway movements. What's the difference?

I can certainly understand the objection to posting RFID sensors outside bathrooms - that serves no legitimate purpose - we don't care if little Johnny stayed on the can for 45 minutes 'cause he's constipated. And it just... seems... sketchy. So the school removed those. Problem solved.

I can also understand that there's an abuse potential, e.g., people getting hold of some kind of tracker and tracking your kid when he's out of school. So Johnny picks up his ID before he gets on the school bus, and he leaves it at the door when he gets home. For the most part, problem solved.

And, I can understand that it's hardly foolproof: Johnny can just carry Mark's ID around all day as evidence of attendance while Mark skips school. No system is perfect, especially not on the first iteration. People have to try them in the field in order to work out the kinks.

In summary - sure, there are concerns. They can be circumvented or simply ignored. In the absence of a solid complaint, I have to chalk this up to parents protesting primarily for attention-whore purposes... people will rah-rah for any cause if they think they'll get on TV because of it. :shakes head:

- David Stein

Re:Nothing like a good controversy... (5, Insightful)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695589)

It has nothing really to do with the childrens' privacy, after all, in elementry school that doesn't mean shit to you.

It is about INSTILLING the idea that tracking people is ok in young minds. People will grow up thinking hey government, put a GPS receiver on my back, I have nothing to hide! Due to this our future governments will have absolute power over the people because as children they were taught it was ok.

Wizardry (4, Funny)

jackal! (88105) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695257)

Hey, a similar scheme seemed to work well at Hogwart's.

Mischief managed.

J

Re:Wizardry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695401)

err yeah, and I have an enchanted jockstrap.

This Might not be Over... (2, Insightful)

vbdrummer0 (736163) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695259)

It's good that the corp pulled out, but who's to say that the school district won't just find someone else to do the job? Surely someone around would do it just for the publicity now that it's such a big story.

I don't get it (3, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695263)

They're children. Surely you want to track them. It's like the big complaints people have about having cameras in schools and people monitoring them. I tell ya, when I went to school we could have done with some of those cameras. Would have put a quick stop to all the anti-social lord-of-the-flies-esq behaviour that characterizes the school years of most kids.

Re:I don't get it (0, Offtopic)

TFGeditor (737839) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695347)

What hydrocephalic moron modded the Insightful parent "Troll?"

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695440)

That would be me. What's your problem, punk? I'll see you in the parking lot after school - where there are no cameras.

Now off to mod your comment as 'Flamebait'...

HAND.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695522)

"Now off to mod your comment as 'Flamebait'..."

Can't do it, dweeb. You can't post and mod the same discussion.

Nya-nta-nya!!

Plllllllll!!

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695629)

I guess you didn't notice that I posted that as AC. Which means I was able to mod your infantile comment as 'Offtopic' just now.

Idiot.

Re:I don't get it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695381)

Children grow up.

I for one don't welcome our young "it's okay to track people" overlords.

These children shouldn't be tracked. They should be properly supervised.

Re:I don't get it (1)

VoidWraith (797276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695590)

They're NOT being tracked. They're having attendance done automatically by RFID. They don't have nodes all over the school, they just scan it when they enter and leave the classroom. I don't see how people get tracking out of this.

Re:I don't get it (2, Interesting)

mattgorle (807823) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695405)

All very nice and utopian. I believe, however, that it's beneficial to have some upsets during childhood.

After all, if you don't have to deal with social disasters at school, how on earth do you propose to deal with them later on in life when learning isn't as easy?

Re:I don't get it (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695472)

WTF? I should be able to live in society without being threatened by physical violence. As an adult, I am free to live this way by avoiding people who think it is ok to solve problems with violence. Kids being herded into public schools have no such freedom. So we can either solve this problem by giving them that freedom, or we can try to control the school environment so these anti-social dickweeds arn't around.

Re:I don't get it (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695610)

RFID tags or GPS receivers are not tasers that shock bullies. How is an RFID supposed to protect children?

It doesn't, which is why this is a stupid idea implemented by a stupid school paid by a company with no shame.

Re:I don't get it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695438)

That's right they are children. Surely you want children to grown up in a free environment, not in an oppressive one where all their moves and misdeeds are known.

Getting away with things your not supposed to do, by lying, deceiving, cheating are important skills. It aids imagination and curiosity, such skills are need to advance society. We don't need more mindless droids.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Cappy Red (576737) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695477)

Or, teachers and administrators could do what they are being paid to do, and intervene into situations that get out of hand. Student or teacher, you don't need a security camera to know what's going down in your school.

Re:I don't get it (2, Insightful)

swimin (828756) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695526)

As a student in a public school in America:

I SHOULD HAVE JUST AS MUCH PRIVACY AS YOU. Why?
Because Im just as much or more of a citizen than you, and does any government, be it state, local, or fedral, need to know where I am every second of the day if they are doing their job and nothing more?

Please think a tiny bit before you speak/type, or is this too much to ask for?

Re:I don't get it (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695634)

Amen!

Searching backpacks is not going to prevent a school shooting. Then you just make it happen soon because that child will just shoot the person looking in his/her backpack.

School grounds are still some of the safest places, invading privacy en-masse will solve nothing. There never has been a problem with violence as school and we have no problem now. If a kid is going to shoot a school nothing is going to stop him.

Re:I don't get it (1)

mike77 (519751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695649)

There are several problems here. First, the school is not intending to track their every move and make them more safe, they state they are doing it to ease the process of taking attendance. And what are they taking away for this paltry convenience? The very privacy and rights of our future generations!

Is this technology going to stop some crazed lunatic from coming in the door of the school? Nope. might it stop some kids from skipping class, or sneaking in the back door un-noticed? sure. but damn, that's just kids being kids. For those of us out of school, imagine how much less school would have been enjoyable if you couldn't get by with the odd broken rule?


Is it any wonder that in a recent study (referenced here on slashdot) that HS kids think the freedom of the press is too free? Ie, the gov't should ok an article before it's published? Does anyone wonder why these children have those ideas? because they're never given the belief or knowledge of their rights!!!

I'm an American. I cherish my right to live my life w/out some big brother constantly looking over my shoulder and judging me and ensuring I stick to the party line. What's the quote..? I man who would give up some of his rights for a little security, deserves neither. I'll take my chance in this crazy world we live in. As long as I can live my life, my way! and ya know what? I hope to instill in my children that same beliefe in freedom and privacy as I have.



See ya'll on the other side of the broder after the police state.

1 Kid Many Badges (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695264)

I'm gonna cut class wear my badge for me.
Easy Hack

Re:1 Kid Many Badges (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695318)

Untill they start wondering why the two of you spend so long in the bathroom togehter alone.
Or why you enterd the bathroom of the opposite gender than you are.

Re:1 Kid Many Badges (4, Insightful)

CapeMonkey (795733) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695578)

Actually, in the original Wired article (http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,66554,00 .html), the teachers still had to verify everyone was there, only they got a fancy PDA to do it. But since they were still taking attendence ANYways, what was the point?

Re:1 Kid Many Badges (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695588)

That's why we need to implant them in into kids' skulls!

Kids these days (5, Interesting)

DrKyle (818035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695265)

They probably figured out that kids are smarter than they are when it comes to technology. I'm sure if I was in a school that used RFID (and 10 years younger) I would be able to do some mischief using that system by cloning other peoples RFIDs, making it seem they were in multiple places at once, or letting people skip school and have dupe RFIDs stay in the library etc. For the majority of students I'm sure things would work as expected, but some of those "troubled teens" or "geeks" would have a wickedly fun time with it.

Re:Kids these days (2, Funny)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695293)

I guess an RF sheild would have been my first fun

being in school when everybody thinks you aren't and then you can produce your badge on demand would be fun.

Pedophiles these days (3, Insightful)

snoopyjd (665929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695297)

If I were a parent I would not want my child walking around with a RFID tag that could give potential assailants information they could use to manipulate my child. If they actually had the child's name, grade on the tag I am sure someone would figure out how to get it.

Re:Pedophiles these days (3, Insightful)

sfjoe (470510) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695340)


Thank God for you, sir! I was afraid for a minute that there might be an actual conversation about public policy where nobody mentioned pedophiles. It's a good thing we have people like you continually remind us to, "think of the children".

Re:Pedophiles these days (-1, Troll)

TFGeditor (737839) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695382)

When it comes to pedophiles, I wish a hell of a lot more people would "think of the children." It is way too easy to forget. I am glad someone reminds us.

Re:Pedophiles these days (-1, Troll)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695403)

No, no, thank God for you, sir! The world needs more people to say that it is okay to talk to strangers, accept candy from people you don't know, and get in the back of unmarked vans for a video game! Please, continue your most noble work of promoting irresponsible parenting!

Re:Pedophiles these days (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695411)

Well, with people thinking of the children in the way that you do, someone's got to make sure that their young bottoms don't get violated.

Re:Pedophiles these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695391)

And you never will be...

Re:Pedophiles these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695632)

WTF is a 'pedophile'? Someone sexually aroused by walking?

Re:Kids these days (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695481)

I would come home everyday from school and promply 'recharge' that tag in my microwave. I would encourage everyone else to do so also.

Re:Kids these days (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695592)

i'm sick to death of morons screaming "won't somebody PLEASE think of the children" frankly i don't give a shit about your snot nosed little brats. survival of the fittest i say. if they are dumb enough to get knocked off by a pedo too bad. one less idiot to reproduce later. the same goes for play ground saftey.

I can't speak as a parent.. (5, Insightful)

EvilCabbage (589836) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695274)

.. but I'd be disgusted if I had a child that a school wanted to monitor in this way. Is this really the way of the future? Get the kiddly-winks used to the idea of being constantly under watch nice and early? This kind of stuff worries me greatly. Are we going to be looking back at these episodes in five years wondering how we let things get so out of hand so quickly?

I am a parent, and... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695346)

I'd be right with the ones who vow to keep this out of their school. No way, no how, not ever.

Re:I can't speak as a parent.. (2, Funny)

tim256 (855256) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695376)

If you think about childern(under 12) as little drunk adults, the system isn't such a bad idea.

These devices are used to track childern not to watch them. The school should keep track of their students during the day. I don't see whats wrong with this tool. Although for kids 12 and up, I don't think it's appropriate.

Re:I can't speak as a parent.. (5, Insightful)

LukaFox (765323) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695378)

In some ways, this seems like the natural progression of the public school system (at least as I remember it). Efficiency and liability have already motivated policies that treat students more like livestock. Granted, that this technology would make it easier (and cause new problems and work-arounds if people become too reliant on it). It's a tough call sometimes. Parents expect that schools keep track of their kids while they're there, but does that mean having them carry devices that really do track their every move?

Re:I can't speak as a parent.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695445)

Get the kiddly-winks used to the idea of being constantly under watch nice and early?
Yeah. The Man is trying to get people used to the idea of being tagged as cattle.

Re:I can't speak as a parent.. (1, Insightful)

iced_773 (857608) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695465)

...used to the idea of being constantly under watch nice and early?

It's a great idea. Ingrain the idea into them at an early age that they are being supervised, so they will not get away with anything. When they grow up, they will have much stronger consciences, and the world will be a better place.

Re:I can't speak as a parent.. (4, Insightful)

YOU LIKEWISE FAIL IT (651184) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695644)

It's amazing to occasionally see a stupid, unspoken assumption about morality actually spoken out loud. Fear of being punished is not the same as having a conscience, and relates more to law than morals. Morality of any stripe has to arise from personal conviction, and not from coercion.

Re:I can't speak as a parent.. (3, Insightful)

kwerle (39371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695600)

Schools are legally liable for children. There is a carrot (if the kid isn't there, they don't get funding), and a stick (if the kid isn't there, the school is responsible for knowing their whereabouts). Why wouldn't a school want to do this? Why should it be a surprise? Finally, why would it be a bad thing (don't give me slippery slope crap - just any single reason it is a bad idea in and of itself)?

Re:I can't speak as a parent.. (1)

VoidWraith (797276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695616)

I can speak as a student. I think this system is great, if it was more appropriately implemented. Like they already decided, get rid of the bathroom sensors, but get completely rid of the teacher having to take manual attendance. Attach the RFID to something big the student needs to bring with them, like a backpack, so they don't just wear an extra one. Although, for what seems like an elementary gradeschool I don't see this as a big issue. For a high school, this system looks great! Unless of course you WANT your kids to skip class, in which case, we're arguing something fundamentally different.

In other news... (4, Funny)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695287)

...Incom Corp. has announced that it is getting out of the RFID market entirely and will instead start producing starfighters.

And in yet other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695487)

Dirtside got modded Score:-1, Troll.

Good Lord! (2)

stinerman (812158) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695288)

Hopefully the school can't find another business to continue this crap. I wonder if any parents tried to keep their kids home from school or if there was some sort of opt-out program.

I, for one, will NOT be welcoming our RFID tagging principal overlords.

Re:Good Lord! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695329)

That's why I make my kids wear tinfoil hats. Someday, they'll understand. Someday, they'll start talking to me.

Re:Good Lord! (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695550)

"But think of how much safer our children will be. Think of the children!" Quoth the conservative mother, nevermore.

Perhaps another company... (0)

russotto (537200) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695291)

Like Omni Consumer Products. OCP never let bad publicity -- or anything else -- stand in the way of implementation of a bad idea.

P.S. Slashdot bad-posting guilt-by-subnet-association sucks.

I would feel better about this if (5, Insightful)

xC0000005 (715810) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695294)

the company had stated why they pulled out, and stated that it was because they disagreed with the policy of tracking students everwhere, but truth is, they probably don't. That's what this company does. They probably pulled out because of bad publicity and wanting to avoid being named a defendant in a lawsuit. Great, the students aren't being tracked. Problem is, that leaves the door open for the situation to be repeated. Without the clear determent of a court ruling against this, or an open statement against this by the school/company, I can't help but wonder if this is a hollow victory.

Tin-foil hat time (3, Interesting)

Silentnite (815125) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695307)

How soon until we're incorporating them into our clothes?

On the other hand though, this system would be rather easy to beat, given that you could ostensibly duplicate your RFID. "How did Jimmy go to the bathroom AND stay in class??". Or just place your tag on someone you know is going to your class and skipping.

Honestly, we need better teachers, not a better way to keep the crappy ones locked in.

As a high school student myself... (5, Insightful)

ConfusedGuy (791335) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695308)

I was interviewed a few days ago for my local paper with the hypothetical "what if YOUR school instituted RFID tags?" thrown at me. My reply was that in an age where reliance on technology is reaching a dangerous threshold, it'd be wiser to spend the money and resources on a new administrator or teacher instead of tagging students.

I know, at least at my school, we could stand to drop a few laptop computers in order to hire another body to patrol the halls. Sure, cameras and tags might catch everything but how practical is it when one man is responsible for catching every rule breaker?

O' course, the same article stated that my local school board wouldn't mind implementing the system for "safety and attendance." Where's the ACLU when you need them?

Re:As a high school student myself... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695460)

The school board doesn't give a shit about "safety and attendance". All they want to do is cover the backs in case of lawsuit.

Re:As a high school student myself... (3, Interesting)

flint (118836) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695501)

ACLU? Children don't have the same rights that adult citizens do. Random searches occur in many SoCal schools every day. Your locker can be searched, your backpack searched, your person sniffed by an intimidating German shepherd, school put into lockdown for hours so that children must relive themselves over a trashcan in front of their peers etc... any time the powers that be deem it's necessary for their health and welfare. The school effectively gains the same control (as well as responsiblity for safekeeping) that parents exercise over children.

Re: As a high school student myself... (2, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695533)


> [King Zad's voice?] in an age where reliance on technology is reaching a dangerous threshold, it'd be wiser to spend the money and resources on a new administrator or teacher instead of tagging students.

Yeah, but the tags just make it so much easier when they need to sell a few more students to the organ harvesters in order to make their next payment on the new football stadium.



Re:As a high school student myself... (3, Interesting)

Jjeff1 (636051) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695577)

"Lets buy new computers NEXT year and this year we'll have money for a couple teachers."

It doesn't work like that. Between grants, unions, bonds, capital projects, federal funds, state funds, cookie sales and everything else; a school has to be careful how they spend money. The vast majority of money they get has limits on how it can be spent. Computer money certainly does not mix with teacher salary money. Even with computer money, you might be able to buy a room full of servers, but no HP Openview type software to manage them or AC to keep them from catching on fire.

From what I've seen, it will shake out like this...

1. Project is high profile, everyone jumps through hoops to make it look good for the public/superintendant, whoever.
2. Project loses lustre (ie, bed press, Incom drops out).
3. Project is neglected, never used, probably doesn't even function anymore.
4. Something happens where people from #1 expect to use system again (unknown student accused of crime, etc..)
5. Go back to #1.

Having consulted with a number of schools, perhaps I'm just a bit jaded. But I've seen it many times before.

Hey kids! (5, Funny)

IvyMike (178408) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695335)

When they try to pull this next time, remember this handy formula:

RFID badge + 3 seconds in a microwave = piece of dead plastic.

Re:Hey kids! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695414)

in jr. high my school made us all wear id bages on a chain around our neck. i think they stoped when the cost if replacing all the plastic covers and cains got too high. i fixed the problem by attaching the chain to my belt loop so that my leg would kick the badge too much to be seen. i think if i knew it had a rfid chip i would microwave it and if the admins complained i would tell them to spin on it till they screamed like pigs on their honey moon.

Re:Hey kids! (1)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695480)

"Kids", remember that? I would be reminding/informing my OWN children of that fact. (And no, this is not hypothetical, I have 3 of them.) I want my children SUPERVISED while they're at school, granted, but I do not want them being taught that it is acceptable for someone to track every move they make. We're already seeing the results of this in the acceptance of employees and lawmakers alike of employers tracking their movements via GPS.

ObPost... (1)

Elminst (53259) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695345)

But think of the children!!!!

Although in this case it seems the parents are actually thinking the right way... Against the trend of let-the-school-raise-the-child these days.

I have nothing against the school raising kids (4, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695619)

but Americans need to make up their fucking minds. They don't want to spend gobs of time teaching and socializing their kids, but by God they'll be damned if someone else is gonna do it 'fer dem. What we're left with is millions of kids with no real direction in life. Their parents are too busy (often just getting by) to do much of anything, but the schools are pretty limited in what they can do. Take Japanese schools, where the school takes an active role in socializing children, for instance. If American parents don't want the school's raising their kids that fine, but they need to start doing it themselves, or just stop having them then.

It shouldn't come as a surprise... (5, Insightful)

bacon55 (853395) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695358)

That people, and even parents would be disturbed by children being literally treated like cattle.

Part of growing up is doing things wrong, and getting away with it. If kids couldn't get in a bit of trouble, if they didn't think they could break the rules just a LITTLE, we would have a generation perfectly suited for doing EXACTLY what they are told, by anyone in power.

Thats bad - very bad. Kids have to know they can break some rules and it's ok, and that people in power are not gods. If we all learned that leaving the library 10 minutes early for break is something we can't get away with, (see, word of god) we certainly wouldn't have the balls to tell our employer to F'off when they cut our lunchbreak down to 20 minutes.

Sad day... (1)

Striker770S (825292) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695370)

Student RFID Tracking Suspended from School
with that pun intended, it is a sad day for all pun makers and superintendants alike...
(and if your a pun making superintendant, well then your just screwed)

They can track them with this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695377)

Troy is at it again. [baytoday.ca]

What was the reason? (2, Funny)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695384)

Well, InCom Corp., the company that provided the tech free of charge to the school, has abruptly pulled out, without explanation.

Hrm, I wonder if their eventual explanation will involve words like "threats" and "guns".

Anyone have the webpage for Incom, Corp to check out their press releases?

Re:What was the reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695470)

Oddly, it appears to be a kiddie porn site.

Re: What was the reason? (2, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695583)


> Hrm, I wonder if their eventual explanation will involve words like "threats" and "guns".

Either that, or the students learned to spell l-a-w-s-u-i-t.

RFID blows (1)

CharAznable (702598) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695406)

Not only because privacy concerns, but the technology itself. Standards are loosely defined and conflicting, equipment is expensive and not really that accurate. In my workplace, we're kinda being pushed to move in that direction, and after learning more about it, we want to put it off as long as possible. If we're going to be scanning barcodes frequently anyway because RFID is not realiable enough, then it's not worth it.

It's a problem when unproven technology is used to make important decisions, policy, disciplinary or otherwise, just because a bunch of suits, beancounters or bureaucrats think that technology is infalible. Same problem with electronic voting.

parallels (1)

em0te (807074) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695519)

"Well, InCom Corp., the company that provided the tech free of charge to the school, has abruptly pulled out, without explanation"

I had to do that once, then again it was because my parents walked in.

Not mollified (3, Insightful)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695416)

However, some parents are not mollified, and vow to permanently keep such people-tracking technologies out of their schools

Hurrah!

"I'm disappointed; that's about all I can say at this point," Earnie Graham, the superintendent and principal of Brittan Elementary School in Sutter, said Tuesday night. "I think I let my staff down. Nobody on this campus knows every student."

How about starting by getting rid of this clown?

I like the RFID idea (2, Funny)

demonic-halo (652519) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695436)

Here are some cool things I think can be done with RFID student tracking.

1) If a student was absent from class, automatically email the student the homework assignments for the day.

2) Log times when students enter and exit bathrooms, and share that data with the smoke alarm. Identify which students are potential druggies or smokers.

3) Add RFID scanners to the broom closets, and give teachers RFID badges too, to identify which teacher/students are performing fellatio

4) Use RFID to keep track of room usages for marketing purposes. For example, school clubs are generally hosted in various class rooms. Identifying popular club could lead to better ideas in fundraising events that students would be interested in.

Re:I like the RFID idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695530)

1) If a student was absent from class, automatically email the student the homework assignments for the day.

Oh great so now I can't get out of homework.

2) Log times when students enter and exit bathrooms, and share that data with the smoke alarm. Identify which students are potential druggies or smokers.

Huh, this is dumbest thing I seen in a while. You may as well stick a video camera in the bathroom. And, I think that students who are "potential druggies" have other problems which are causing them to use drugs. I don't think bathroom times are going to identify this.

3) Add RFID scanners to the broom closets, and give teachers RFID badges too, to identify which teacher/students are performing fellatio

I guess then the janitor is getting some.

4) Use RFID to keep track of room usages for marketing purposes. For example, school clubs are generally hosted in various class rooms. Identifying popular club could lead to better ideas in fundraising events that students would be interested in.

Well this is too easily rigged. If you want to direct funds to areas that students are interested in why don't you just ask them, simple!

Re:I like the RFID idea (1)

ScytheBlade1 (772156) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695635)

Oh great so now I can't get out of homework.
That's all I needed to read, in order to understand just what the rest of your post would be.

Let's just say that there's a reason you posted as AC, as it's clear that you don't want the karma hit.

money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695455)

That`s what it`s all about for all companies, including this one. The only plausible reason they would "pull out abruptly" is that they were informed of not only a possible loss, but a very probable one indeed. How would that happen? They would get sued, and some law that we don`t know about would hit daylight.
So they pulled out so that another company that`s not so bright can think -Hey, there`s an opening in a market, let`s grab it! That way the new company will take the fall, or at least make clear what kind of strategy is needed to reenter the market - without a probable loss of maoney...

Government vs. Business vs. Public demands (4, Interesting)

Money for Nothin' (754763) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695458)

So here we have a case in which 2 opposing sides -- the public, and the publicly-funded government school -- are fighting over a technology that a private company has been selling and promoting.

The people paying for the system get pissed off about it. Company responds by having nothing more to do with the situation -- in other words, the company, recognizing the threat to their own future profits, is catering to the demands of the public.

Meanwhile, the government, represented by the school principal, still wants to act against the will of the public which is funding it.

Please, somebody promote socialism to me, and tell me that the government responds better to public demands than businesses do, or heck, even that the govn't has the public's best interests in mind. LOL!

The sad thing is, that because of vested interests (read: public school teacher unions), the parents are going to continue paying for this system they oppose. Welcome to the wonders of socialism and government, generally.

Re:Government vs. Business vs. Public demands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695539)

The will of the people? You mean the vocal minority that were screaming how this was illegal and immoral, or the other minority that were infavour of this. Or perhaps the majority that never were heard from because the meeting to discuss this was cancled. You think that having 1% of a group stand up and yell should make them back off a promising idea or do you really think that this 1% actually does represent the other 99% accuratly.

So...right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11695544)

Public schools should be abolished! All kids should go to private schools!

Oh wait, except the people who can't pay for it.

Re: Government vs. Business vs. Public demands (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695564)


> The sad thing is, that because of vested interests (read: public school teacher unions), the parents are going to continue paying for this system they oppose.

Fortunately it was free of charge, so the payments won't be very high.

> Welcome to the wonders of socialism and government, generally.

Yeah, 'cause the schools are so much better in Somalia.

one possible reason to pull out.... (2, Interesting)

hurfy (735314) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695466)

"The school had already disabled the scanners above classroom doors and was not disciplining students who didn't wear the badges."

Doesnt seem like that would produce much worthwhile info from the test now does it?

The privacy aspect sounds like kind of a non-issue at the moment :)

Less monitors? (1)

Leroy_Brown242 (683141) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695485)

I wonder if the implimentation of the RFID tags also came with less people patrolling the halls. Assuming that the kids are wearing the tags and they know when they leave.

I can see it as a cost savings measure over the long run, if that is the case.

Further (4, Interesting)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695492)

I say it didn't go far enough, instead of just RFID tags, full GPS should have been used, that way kids could be caught running in the halls, crowding round a toilet (that means someone is getting dunked), cutting in line for lunch and making-out in the bike shed (2 people should NOT be that close together). There would be a display with little dots showing their position at all times. You could even add sensors to this device to make sure its never removed, and a microphone and camera so you can patch in to any kid. Im certain the school would run like clockwork, no-one would be out-of-line, especially after the electric shock modules were installed.

What's the big deal? (1)

p0rnking (255997) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695497)

Personally, I don't see a problem with having the kids wear the tags?
If the kids are where they are suppose to be, then the teacher(s) already know where they are, but if the kids aren't where they should be, then this should tell you, and it is the school's business to know where they are.
The kids, while at school, are the school's responsibility.
It's not like these tags are on them to keep track of them 24/7 (which I think would be a good idea for the parents to have when they kids are "living under their roof").

Not all uses are bad (2, Interesting)

Manip (656104) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695513)

What if one of these little kids went missing? This would allow literal alarm bells to sound in such case. Tracking attendance in classrooms isn't an invasion of privacy (tracking toilet uses is) because a normal register system does exactly the same thing.

I like the idea. However used on older kids and expanded to the entire school ground might be a little bit of an invasion.

A somehow useful French law (5, Interesting)

franois-do (547649) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695527)

A French law (applying only in France, of course, but that may give ideas to other countries as well) forbids any employer to use the same mechanisms for access control and for work presence control. In other words, whenever you are badging for something, you should be warned about what you are doing, and that being said, nobody can use a work presence control system to track your coffee breaks or the way you organize your own work (I have been told a SNECMA human resources director got fired for having installed this kind of thing).

However, I guess that with RFID this law has to be completed in one way or another. For instance by having the RFID sensors signalled, and their purposes indicated by separate colors.

How is this different to... (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695531)

teachers checking attendance?

When I was at school, teachers checked attendance when you went into class. And if you needed to leave the classroom (e.g. to go to the loo or whatever else), you would need to get permission from the teacher. If a kid cuts class and goes down the back behind the shed to smoke or do drugs or something, they would show up as "absent" on both the computer method and the hand checked method. And they would be in just as much trouble if they are caught.

This just replaces a teacher with a hand-checked attendence list with a computer checking the same attendance, how does that make it a problem?

Good (5, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695580)

I think this is a Good Thing. Not because kids don't need to be accountable for their whereabouts -- hell, they need more accountability -- but because if something like a tracking device is accepted at a young age, it will become more accepted as they grow into adults.

Next thing you know, they'll be putting GPS on our cars.

Re:Good (1)

Skudd (770222) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695623)

This falls into the same category as an advertisement I saw on TV the other day...

"Don't change your lifestyle. Eat what you normally eat. Just take our pill and watch the fat fall off!"

We're entering a society of "Don't worry about anything: Automate it!", and it's getting quite disturbing.

But the one good thing... (4, Insightful)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11695613)

Earnie Graham, the superintendent and principal of Brittan Elementary School in Sutter, said Tuesday night. "I think I let my staff down. Nobody on this campus knows every student."

Now we have identified the REAL problem, that they should be looking to a solution for. Or, of course, we could always try and get technology to think for us.

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