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Using RFID and Wi-Fi to Track Students

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the scurry-little-ants-scurry dept.

Privacy 183

An anonymous reader writes "The BBC reports on a proposal to use RFID and wi-fi to track students wherever they go on campus: 'Battery-powered RFID tags are placed on an asset and they communicate with at least three wireless access points inside the network to triangulate a location.' At The Wireless Event in London, 'Marcus Birkl, head of wireless at Siemens, said location tracking of assets or people was one of the biggest incentives for companies, hospitals and education institutions to roll out wi-fi networks.' The article points out that integration of RFID and wi-fi raises the possibility that RFID can be used for remote surveillance."

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183 comments

Goatshe! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19274915)

Goatshe! [goatshe.cx]

Re:Goatshe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19275561)

Not bad.

Hmmm, did the BBC fire their web designers? (3, Interesting)

Richard McBeef (1092673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274919)

Seriously though, I can't remember Slashdot ever linking directly to the printable page. I wish they'd do it more often.

Re:Hmmm, did the BBC fire their web designers? (1)

bobo mahoney (1098593) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275373)

It is quite refreshing to have a simple black and white page to visit. No add of flashing graphics - I didn't think such pages existed.

Re:Hmmm, did the BBC fire their web designers? (2, Insightful)

Sosigenes (950988) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275711)

That said, the BBC's website design is not really much different. Plain black text on a white background. No ads, no flashing graphics, and just a small header at the top and side navigation. I find the BBC's site a refreshing change from the majority of news websites which go overboard with flash animations, colours and more adverts than text.

If there was one case when linking to a printable page wasn't necessary in my opinion, it'd be the BBC.

Re:Hmmm, did the BBC fire their web designers? (1)

h2g2bob (948006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275885)

Finally, a link to the printable version. On the BBC: the ONE FREAKING PLACE which doesn't have all that stupid stuff in the first place. On the UK versions at least, there aren't even any ads to get rid of.

Re:Hmmm, did the BBC fire their web designers? (1)

8-bitDesigner (980672) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275395)

Hey, I don't know about you, but as a webdesigner, I consider that page to be bloody gorgeous.

fadsfdsafdas (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19274923)

fdfadsafds

Help in an emergency? (5, Insightful)

BHearsum (325814) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274937)

Angelo Lamme, from Motorola, said tracking students on a campus could help during a fire or an emergency.

And how exactly are you going to access the data if the school is on fire? I cannot think of any legitimate use for this.

Re:Help in an emergency? (3, Interesting)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275075)

Maybe, but it will look good on the tracking screen when all the little dots indicating tags start blinking out.

Don't upset the dots. (5, Funny)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275257)

"Who's upsetting my dots?? Are you messing with my dots?!?"

Aliens (1)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275791)

Hudson: We've got multiple signals... uh, front and behind... reading's off the chart!
Vasquez: There's nothing here. You're just reading us, there's nothing!
Hudson: Look there's something moving in here and it ain't us! Reading's off the charts man! They're all around us man! What the hell?
Dietrich: Maybe they don't show up on infra red at all -

And you left yours where? (2, Interesting)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275231)

Adding to your thought: Unless the device is virtually inseperable from the student, what's to say that it isn't left behind during evacuation, or conversely, the student who doesn't evacuate happened to leave their backpack containing it back in their dorm room for the day?

Implant it or strap it to their ankle...otherwise the error rate in tracking the actual location of the individual becomes pretty high.

Re:And you left yours where? (2, Funny)

paintswithcolour (929954) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275943)

Easy...we'll just wear cool comm-badges

Wait...what do you mean comm-badges aren't cool, and you don't want to wear one?

Re:Help in an emergency? (2, Insightful)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275861)

"I cannot think of any legitimate use for this."

You obviously cannot think very hard then. Lecture attendance registers (and alerting a student if they are about to miss a lecture), finding lost patients (apparently a common problem, especially with mentally unstable patients), Student security, efficient computers/lighting (i.e. computers/lights turn on/off when someone enters/exits room), computer account security and log-on convenience.

There are probably many more, but they're the ones I've come up with in under a minute. They would also help in fire/emergency situations; just because a fire breaks out doesn't automatically mean all computer systems around the entire campus instantly stop working. Not that fire is a particular problem at any university I know of, but in the event of fire they could undoubtedly save lives.

Sure the technology could be abused, but privacy can easily be abused without such technology anyway. Respecting student/patient privacy is a policy issue, not a technology issue.

opportunity (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274947)

for some geek student to hack in and stalk a cute target.

Re:opportunity (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275653)

for some geek student to hack in and stalk a cute target.

      There are no cute targets in his basement. This means he'd have to leave it. On second thoughts, that new computer game is really cool...

      Geeks are the least of your worries.

Re:opportunity (2, Interesting)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275775)

for some geek student to hack in and stalk a cute target.

You got it all wrong, Geeks are socially adjusted. Nerds are the ones that wouldn't go up and talk to someone cute, and even then they wouldn't have the courage to follow them. You're just talking about a straight-up creep. Geek and creep, while sounding similar, are definitely distinctly different.

Umm, Stalking. (5, Insightful)

Irvu (248207) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274973)

Once each student is equipped with a WiFi tag do theyr really imagine that only the school will have this info. Forget the overzealous parent that wants 24/7 monitoring. What about the creepy stalker who wants to follow the girl of his dreams? What about the kidnapper who wants to watch his target?

Forget claims about 'encryption' (it's a unique ID who cares what it "means") or limitations on distance, readers have already shown success at distances far beyond those claimed.

What about the paedophile who wants to track that one kid...

 

Re:Umm, Stalking. (5, Funny)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275123)

What about the creepy stalker who wants to follow the girl of his dreams?
Hrmmm... Good point. On second thought, I support RFID tags for students.

Re:Umm, Stalking. (4, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275167)

What about the paedophile who wants to track that one kid...

What's he going to hang around a college for?

Re:Umm, Stalking. (1)

Irvu (248207) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275293)

17 year olds.

Re:Umm, Stalking. (4, Funny)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275349)

um, hello - pedos don't go for 17 year olds. Normal people do, at least until they open their mouths.

Re:Umm, Stalking. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275627)

it's a pedophile not a granny fucker... even SEVEN years old is getting old for him, much less 17 years old. Heck I think ANYONE would want to screw a 17 year old, and could do it legally in most countries. I find it disturbing that you equate pedophilia with 17 year olds...

Re:Umm, Stalking. (3, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275179)

Once each student is equipped with a WiFi tag do theyr really imagine that only the school will have this info. Forget the overzealous parent that wants 24/7 monitoring. What about the creepy stalker who wants to follow the girl of his dreams?

Exactly, and does it even matter if only the "school" has it? Like nobody bad ever worked in a school. So the Creepy Vice Principle can see that this one girl is alone in the bathroom in the middle of a class session. Great.

Re:Umm, Stalking. (2, Insightful)

Cemu (968469) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275301)

Imagine. Someone could peer through the logs and see when/where a person is by themselves late at night on a regular basis. Most criminals are opportunistic and there's no better opportunity than what this would create.

Are there mod points for creepy?

Re:Umm, Stalking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19275679)

"Once each student is equipped with a WiFi tag do theyr really imagine that only the school will have this info..."

Speaking of privacy issues, how much do you want to bet this idea will be quietly dropped as soon as students (secondary or university aged I would expect)demand that all STAFF at their school be cattle branded with these things as well.

Kind of changes the perspective on things for decision makers when it affects them as well.
Personally, any school demanding I or any other student wear these things for the ability to take their courses after I pay them for it already could suck my nuts.

alternately, I expect this may bring the classic "Tinfoil Helmet" or some variation of it back into fashion.

OLD News (1)

teeloo (766817) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274981)

This was the basis of an episode of Numb3rs season 2, where they reverse-calculated the movements of several gunmen in a school.

Re:OLD News (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275133)

I saw that episode, but wasn't sure if it was something that had actually been done in a real school before. Of course like all such cop dramas it portrayed such surveillance as though it was completely positive and had no negative implications at all. Oh look, we'll just use the RFID tracker/traffic camera/sattelite photo that tracks everybody all the time to find the guy who we just realized was a bad guy!

Good show, btw. At least, the first season was great and the math was all spot on -- the only critique I have being that there was always a convenient quantitative metric for seemingly subjective things like "quality of sniper location (for cover and escape routes) and difficult of shot". Season two was still good, but I think the show is losing steam and more and more of the math just seems made up.

That's rather off-topic though.

Re:OLD News (2, Interesting)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275193)

If you're a bad guy, why not just switch tags with someone else?

Re:OLD News (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275277)

Because it was embedded somewhere in your chest cavity at birth, of course.

But yeah, that's an obvious problem. Stolen ID == the RFID tracker "proves" it was you who was in the administrative office when the petty cash box was looted.

Re:OLD News (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275599)

Because it was embedded somewhere in your chest cavity at birth, of course.

      Speaking as a physician this is probably not the best place to put it...lots of important stuff in the chest...we wouldn't want any "accidents" now would we?

Re:OLD News (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275619)

we wouldn't want any "accidents" now would we?

In dystopian Burkistan, actually, we do. Just enough accidental fatalities that the intentional deaths caused by making the thing explode next to your lungs didn't look unusual.

Re:OLD News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19275385)

Try Ender's Game. It's a small book from 1985. You may have heard of it.

This is Snape's idea (5, Funny)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274991)

Thus rendering Harry's invisibility cloak useless.

Re:This is Snape's idea (1)

u-bend (1095729) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275157)

Offtopic? C'mon, it was funny. A little levity here please before we go back to trying to think of how this won't be misused in a college setting.

Re:This is Snape's idea (2, Informative)

PilotDvr (940016) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275305)

Actually, it is how the Marauder's Map works

Re:This is Snape's idea - two words: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19275669)

Mischief managed

Re:This is Snape's idea (-1, Offtopic)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275575)

Harry dies - SPOILER!

Orwell College, I assume... (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 7 years ago | (#19274999)

no practical reason for this whatsoever.

Re:Orwell College, I assume... (2, Insightful)

PilotDvr (940016) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275209)

Tell that to the parents of the Purdue University kid who was dead in a utility closet for a week or more before they found him.

Re:Orwell College, I assume... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19275541)

What I like is the persons who take one lone case to be all the cases for their argument and then spout it out in a public forum as if its a compelling argument. You sir, should be ashamed of your knee jerk statement.
I'm aware that you'll have a snappy comeback for this one so stuff it.

Students = Assets? (2, Insightful)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275001)

"Battery-powered RFID tags are placed on an asset and they communicate with at least three wireless access points inside the network to triangulate a location."

So students are now assets?

It was a typo. (3, Funny)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275107)

So students are now assets?

I think it was a typo. They meant they want to track student asses. You know, the jackasses who get drunk and trash parts of the campus or the ones who think "Animal House" was a video student manual on how to act when at college.

Re:Students = Assets? (2, Insightful)

Richard McBeef (1092673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275163)

So students are now assets?

On a balance sheet? Yes. Or possibly liabilties. But they are one or the other.

Re:Students = Assets? (2, Interesting)

The tECHIDNA (677584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275329)

So students are now assets?

Well, when you consider the money students (and by extension, their parents) bring in to the univ through alumni funds, sports tickets, targeted advertising [mtvu.com] , the college loan bribery scandal [google.com] , and loan companies profiting [msn.com] off of said bribery scandal...

why yes, yes they are.
Might as well have the asset tags...er, student ID's have tracking capabilities so those carbon-based ATMs don't get away.

Make It Stylish... (2, Funny)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275011)

And college kids will bleat all the way through WiFi checkpoints.

The Center of Hotness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19275019)

Identify the RFID codes of all the really great-looking college girls, and superimpose these positions on a map of the campus. The goal is to identify and continuously occupy the point on campus where you are equidistant from all significant beauty on the grounds.

stupid (2, Insightful)

f1055man (951955) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275047)

This makes sense for hospitals and that's about it. Everywhere else it's a liability.

Re:stupid (1)

imamac (1083405) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275087)

Anyone seen the crash cart? No? Sombody go check the wi-fi network.

Re:stupid (2, Interesting)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275115)

"This makes sense for hospitals...."

and maybe even within a large prison

House Arrest? (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275335)

Something like this might be useful for monitoring criminals/sex offenders that are on parole, in lieu of GPS. But you're right. It's really only good for someone who has lost their normal level of privacy, either to infirmity or criminal reasons.

Re:stupid (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275437)

Actually it make is a good idea in lots of environments.
Think of an Oil Refinery. I will use a fire as an example since so many people don't get how this could be helpful.
A fire breaks out in part of the refinery. When the fire fighters get there they would know where everybody that got clear of the fire was instantly because there tags would be near safe and functions base stations. Anyone that might still be in danger you would have at least their last known location to start looking for them.

An other example is at NASA. Many years ago some employees at KSC died because they where in an area that was then flushed with Nitrogen during a test.
Or any large corporate campus. It could be handy to find someone instead of having to call them on the cell phone.
It could also be used as a form of local navigation on a large campus. Suppose you needed to go to Joe Browns office but you didn't know where Joe Browns office is. An RFID and WiFi enabled device could direct you to his office with a little effort..
When I have time I was going to try and do the same thing with BlueTooth so I could track where a Blue Tooth enabled phone was near my office by the single strength of the device.

And yes even for a College it makes sense. Imagine if your PDA could direct you to each of your classes on your first day?
Yes it could be abused for tracking proposes but it could be very useful.

Re:stupid (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275545)

A fire breaks out in part of the refinery.

      Where can I get some of this fire that doesn't damage WiFi equipment/cables/sensors/computers?

Re:stupid (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275629)

Well, given that the WiFi equipment that used in the example is in a part of the refinery that is not on fire, I would say you probably have all the tools in your home to make some of it yourself.

Re:stupid (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275699)

given that the WiFi equipment that used in the example is in a part of the refinery that is not on fire

      Do all fires respect the WiFi system to make sure it still maintains 100% functionality?

Yes. (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275803)

Yes. When the fire is no where near the WiFi equipment, all fire will allow WiFi to continue working. I would say 'make sure' is too strong of words. But I have yet to see a fire that is no where near WiFi equipment, interfere with said equipment.

Re:stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19275713)

Yeah, it does almost make sense in hospitals. Except hospitals tend to be full of doctors and nurses and the like, who actually worry about unnecessary expose to radiation. I know wifi is not much, but in the hospitals I've been in, they tend to be pretty careful about exposing patients to unnecessary radiation doses.

Cost (1)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275071)

Seriously, on students? What would be the cost of such a thing? Surely a school could spend money on far more productive endeavors. Sure, it could help in an emergency, but I would rather possibly die in a fire then have to lug around some big device all day. That being said, how big are these things? What would be the consequence of not carrying one around?

Now in expensive hospital machinery, I can understand.

Re:Cost (4, Informative)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275215)

That being said, how big are these things? What would be the consequence of not carrying one around?
The RFID chips themselves are small they can be implanted under your skin or woven into clothing, or into the student ID that you have to carry around everywhere. The battery power is probably the size of a battery; it's unclear from the FA what kind of battery is necessary, but I imagine it would be pretty small. "Lugging it around" would not be an issue, and I'm sure student fees could easily absorb the cost without much notice. The real question is what real value does this have other than providing a tool for stalkers or control freak administrators? Do we really want to encourage the equivalent of temporary restraining orders or dorm arrests as a disciplinary mechanism in colleges, for example?

Re:Cost (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275703)

I would love to see them "try" doing this at a law school.

Re:Cost (2, Informative)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275857)

RFID has no built in power. It's passive and power is radiated from the reader. So, yup, you could easily put it on a sticker (in fact I believe this is what most RFID enabled stores do).

Re:Cost (5, Insightful)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275413)

RFID being used to track people is just plain stupid.

There's an argument being made that it can help firefighters rescue people in fire-engulfed smoky buildings -- rubbish. Sure, there may be someone in the building needing rescue; but, what if the person is nothing more than an RFID ID card that's been dropped in the hustle to escape a fire? Now the fire-fighter is NEEDLESSLY endangering himself and others to rescue a piece of plastic and silicon.

Besides, power is cut to buildings that are on fire to mitigate further risk of electrical shorts that might have caused the fire in the first place and to prevent electrocution when those wacky fire-fighters start throwing water around. OK, forget the water. The power's been cut. Where exactly are these RFID towers again? Do they have power? Was the grid taken down to facilitate putting out the fire? Two towers still up so I have an idea where some RFID *tag* is *someplace* in level 2,3 or 4 somewhere in a 40,000sq ft building?

Great job, Angelo Lamme, from Motorola - Keep up the good work.

And, yes, I used to write software that used RFID technology.

There's also the idea of dropping said device into someone else's possession - I'm sorry, who are you tracking again? The suspect exited stage right while RFID card went left.

On the other hand, using RFID to track equipment is a very handy use for RFID. There are huge RFID readers that span entire docking bays than can read some kinds of tags and accurately report the contents of dozens of boxes' contents with ease.

Fortunately (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19275077)

Students don't have assets. They'll just end up tracking their parents. Which could actually be cool because you'll have time to put the bong away during surprise visits.

emergencies, right... (3, Insightful)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275083)

Angelo Lamme, from Motorola, said tracking students on a campus could help during a fire or an emergency.

Sure; during a fire or emergency sounds like a great time to be snooping around to see where particular students are. Fire alarms seem to be much more helpful than tracking techniques for real emergencies; surveillance technology is much more likely to be used during times of "business as usual," and generally not during times when most people are running around screaming for their lives.
BR>Meanwhile, I can see this sort of technology having great applications during "business as usual" times for creepy security guards who want to see what that hot blonde chick does after her chemistry class... Especially for the peeping tom or stalker types who want to make sure they're walking by the right dorm room window when she gets out of the shower.

1984 (1)

p4rri11iz3r (1084543) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275085)

How long before this such a device will be implanted into our brain, allowing the government to track our move. And it will all be in the name of "stopping the terrorists."

Re:1984 (1)

mroberts47 (1073802) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275271)

Alright, come on, I love Slashdot and all but I think people take the 1984 and George Orwell thing a bit too far. Please, this idea might be dumb but let's all just take a deep breath and calm down.

Re:1984 (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275523)

I love Slashdot and all but I think people take the 1984 and George Orwell thing a bit too far.

      Oh? And where exactly have YOU been for the past 7 years or so?

Re:1984 (1)

mroberts47 (1073802) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275563)

I'm not saying that generally it is not a valid point, but mentioning it every time a topic remotely smacks of 1984 and having it mentioned dozens of times under the same topic is taking it a bit far. We can all agree that governments are getting rather heavy handed, but a bit less screaming and a bit more dialog would probably be a better option.

Potentially sarcastic comment to follow (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275097)

What is the saying? "Give me safety or give me death!" Who needs freedom when you have someone in a position of authority telling you where you can and cannot go, what you can and cannot say, or what you can and cannot do. If it isn't broken, don't fix it. Do not assume there is a problem, i.e. safety of students, when there isn't.

Where is the money going to come from (1)

timias1 (1063832) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275161)

Well there goes the enviable job of hall monitor.

While this technology might have it's uses in some of our more unruly schools. Only the well funded schools will ever be able to afford it.

What school which has that many uncontrollable students is going to be able to afford it.

The money would be more likely spent hiring security guards, and teacher's aides.

The real data that this program will show you is (2, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275175)

that there are typically 5 people sitting in the same chair at Monday morning 8:00 a.m. Calculus classes....

Re:The real data that this program will show you i (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19275371)

wut

Apparently some pretty smart RFID tags. (2, Interesting)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275185)

So I am gathering that the "brains" on these tags can handle all the handshaking involved with an 802.11(b/g/n) link, including whatever parts of TCP/IP are needed to pass the signal strength data back to the servers? Sounds to me that this is a little bit more involved than just an RFID tag, more like a simple Wi-Fi enabled device that connnects and reports back signal strengths/timing etc. A bit more complex than a chip tied to a small antenna patch (and battery for transmit signal amplification).

Wrong end maybe? (1)

Dareth (47614) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275397)

Just a guess, since I didn't RTFA, but maybe the RFID scanner would be part of the WiFi hotspot.

Scanner detects tag, reports to server thru WiFi.

Re:Wrong end maybe? (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275495)

I suppose that's one possibility. That would make for a lot of scanners in one area puking data at an AP. The article wasn't all that technical, anyway, so it's a matter of speculation on how they would plan to make it work at this point. For all we know, some non-technical type strung together a couple of buzzword technologies to make up this idea without knowing anything about the technical aspects of it. If that were the case, I'm surprised that they didn't find a way to weave nanotechnology into it somehow.

Re:Wrong end maybe? Nano technology (1)

Dareth (47614) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275793)

Nano technology is the only way they will keep high school students "tagged".

Soon to opt out of technology will mean a real sacrifice, say your right arm from the elbow up.

Enforcement (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275223)

How would you make sure that every student has his tag on him at all times? For this to work, the tag can't be larger than a credit card. It'd presumably be integrated with the student ID. Even then, what's to prevent the student from carrying the card in a tin foil wallet? And what if the battery runs out?

Apart from the privacy problems, I'd say this is one impractical proposal, at least for tracking people.

For tracking equipment in a hospital, it might work. Even then, in most wards the nurses will know where they left the equipment, and in a hectic environment like the ER nobody's going to have the patience to go to a computer and look up Asset X's location.

Re:Enforcement (1)

SnowNinja (1051628) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275367)

I'm assuming if they are going to go as far as making the tags manditory, they'd take it a step farther and add checkpoints with security guards that would beep or blink when a tag walked through it. Easy enough to find who is and isn't wearing it. Plus it would cut down on streaking if areas could only be accessed with the tags :P

Re:Enforcement (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275469)

How would you make sure that every student has his tag on him at all times?

Say welcome to mandatory flu shots...

Re:Enforcement (1)

Code Master (164951) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275617)

Batteries in current RFIDs are 'self-charging' from the RF readers. In older ones that don't use the battery assist, the reader provides all the power to run when it is close. The newer ones charge the battery when you're close to a reader, and then help increase range when you're futher away.

Re:Enforcement (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275805)

How would you make sure that every student has his tag on him at all times?

Ever see one of those pet doors that only opens for YOUR pet, based on a collar-mounted radio beacon?

You simply won't be able to pass through a door without one, and you can replace the doors with those cage-things that rotate and only let you pass one way.

Big Brother, Oh Brother. (1)

Seantotheizzo (1011799) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275241)

Who's going to pay for this? What is the real cost/risk/benefit analysis?

Hmm... (2, Interesting)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275357)

If I was the evil overlord incharge of that school district with the money to implement this plan, I'd start first with each schools' library books and then to all the school books. (The school books are assigned to a student, whose parents are responsible for replacement if the books are lost/damaged so you get 5-7 RFID tags depending on how many school owned books are assigned to each student.) After that, I'd make it a little change in the school ID cards that are redone at the beginning of each school year. I could have all the ID cards with passive RFID chips without informing anyone until my evil parenting OS backend webserver was ready to handle all the parents and slashdotters that will be watching their dots move around.

For student privacy/safety, I'd not make it a "public" website. You'd have to have a Parent ID/login before you could look up where your kid has been all day and maybe associated dots/students around them. The teachers and maybe staff would have access, but the general public should only see lots of dots (without ID numbers) moving around just cause it looks neat.

After 2-3 generations of this "safely" happening, then I'd try to expand the program to all schools, or the entire state's new DLs.

Well, if I were an evil overlord with any power...

Cisco has been doing this for a while (2, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275387)

I went to a seminar a few years ago that had some head from Cisco speaking. He was showing off their latest wireless system (it was some cool stuff!) and one of the features it had was this RFID location system. He brought up an app that had a map of a floor of one of the buildings in their campus. He showed us, in live time, as one of the employees dot's left their office and walked to the bathroom. From half the country away he could see where everyone was. The location tag I believe was built into their access keys, so they were pretty much always on them.

Great technology for a hospital, prison, and maybe a handful of other specific situations. But a school? It was scary enough seeing it in action for an office building.

-Rick

Knowledge is power... (3, Interesting)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275417)

The government could implant an rfid device in every one of its citizens, beginning at birth, and then construct a tracking infrastructure and database system that would let them see the physical location of every person in real time and the historical location by consulting the database. Imagine what this would mean:

1) Crime would be ended since, after any crime, the police would only have to log onto the computer to see who was present at the moment the crime was comitted.

2) Population control would be easy since whenever a boy dot was in very close proximity, say less than 1 inche, to a girl dot, a little pink heart could start flashing on the screen and the government watchperson could administer a little remote-controlled voltage zap to the two parties to ruin the amore of the moment.

3) Transportation problems...a thing of the past...since you would need a permit to commute over road xyz which would specify your permitted travel times.

4) Money? Who would need it? Your id tag would just be automatically billed for whatever. If you didn't pay...you could just be confined to whereever and monitored for compliance. No need for prisons, either, for anyone but the most dangerous.

5) Adultery, stalking, speeding, trespassing, etc. are examples of a few of the many crimes that would be obsoleted due to their degree of difficulty and the ease with which transgressors would be identified.

Okay, maybe we are not quite ready for all of this yet, at least the democrats, but the republicans and Attorney General Gonzales would be down with it, no doubt. Also, what about North Korea, Venezueala, Cuba, China, or Saudi Arabia? They would be fine with this stuff, no doubt. And we all will be eventually, like it or not.

Re:Knowledge is power... (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275479)

No need for prisons, either, for anyone but the most dangerous.

You forgot to add - the most dangerous crime of all is not murder, it's removing or tampering with your ID.

Re:Knowledge is power... (1)

mroberts47 (1073802) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275731)

Actually, I must chime in that as a conservative who votes Republican I would most definitely NOT be down with this.

Better never come to the USA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19275423)

They can tag me like some kind of animal when I'm dead.

Ugh (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275425)

If these work anything like the scanners at the exits of the library, this'll probably cause our headphones to emit a ring tone, so loud it renders me still "picking at my ears" for hours afterwards. >_>

Why plug up the Wi-FI APs with this? (2, Insightful)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275429)

Instead, instal micro cell sites and track using their cell phones. They have a reason to take their cell phone with them (not just a useless tracking tag), you don't have the roll out cost of issuing these tags, and to make this work, you're going to have to put up a heckuva lot of new Wi-Fi APs to do any sort of triangulation, anyway. Why not use cell phone signals on maybe several dozen micro cell sites on campus instead? As a bonus, handled call volume increases and you can get the cell companies to help subsidize the cost...and manage the user database, too.

Then again, why in hell do we really need to monitor student movement so closely in the first place?

Million WiFi Packet March (1)

packetmon (977047) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275447)

How about a reverse fake ap [blackalchemy.to] MAC address generator/packet injector whereas instead of Fake AP's, fake MAC addresses were injected into the wifi routers...... Wait no... One million more students detected may make them call in the military...

Jobs = No Freedoms? (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275519)

Will we ever fight back? Or will we have absolutely no freedom if we are employed or are enrolled in private colleges? What if its a state school?

Re:Jobs = No Freedoms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19275659)

If you lived in the UK maybe you shouldnt of given up your guns... Seriously how do you expect to make sure your countries own dictator(s) stay in check? Why not require all citizens to have these chips implanted? Its for safety after all...

what's the real crisis -- safety, or obesity? (4, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275689)

I was born in 1966. A couple of big things were different then:

  1. The obesity epidemic hadn't started.
  2. The mass hysteria about kids' safety (child molesters, etc.) hadn't started.

Recently we got a mailing from our kids' principal about walking to and from school. It was survey about how many kids walked, but it came with a letter from the principal basically implying that any parent who let their kids walk was a bad parent, because it was so unsafe. This is the same principal who has instituted rules about which direction the kids can swing on the playground swings. The previous principal organized a bike rodeo for kids to improve their skills on bikes, and kids who worked on their skills, and demonstrated them at the bike rodeo, got the privilege of using the bike racks. My older kid passed, but then the new principal came in, and the whole idea suddenly went away. I do not know of any kid at this school who has ever gotten hurt walking or cycling to or from school. I do know of one kid who got hit by a car after school, because her parents were sitting, double-parked, in their air-conditioned SUV on the other side of the street, beckoning her to run across the street and get in.

When I was a kid, I started walking to the babysitter's house after school when I was in kindergarten. Nobody thought that was unusual. This was in an urban environment (Albany, CA). I learned to look both ways before crossing the street, and to cross on the green. No biggie.

Today, it seems like most affluent kids' existence consists of being shuttled back and forth in their mom's SUV from one air-conditioned building to another. And we wonder why the obesity epidemic is happening.

Psychologically, people like to have the illusion of control. For instance, studies have shown that drivers consistently overestimate their own ability to deal with an emergency. When it comes to kids, parents want to have the illusion of safety that comes from having their kid carry a cell phone all the time. Radio-tracking your kids is just the latest instance of this kind of mass hysteria.

Re:what's the real crisis -- safety, or obesity? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275765)

Today, it seems like most affluent kids' existence consists of being shuttled back and forth in their mom's SUV from one air-conditioned building to another. And we wonder why the obesity epidemic is happening.

The obesity epidemic coincides with the adoption of a carbohydrate-based food pyramid, and the subsequent rise in the consumption of processed and packaged foods, which have traditionally been stuffed full of sugar.

Youth/infant diabetes was virtually unheard of in this country before that, as well.

Re:what's the real crisis -- safety, or obesity? (1)

pr0xie (902743) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275823)

I totally agree with you. We all tend to fear the wrong things.

For example children are much more likely to be abducted by someone they know, and something like 30x more likely to be abused by someone they are related to than by someone outside their family.

School shootings (1)

athloi (1075845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275725)

Young Steve Gates had for a long time had enough. The corporate feudal state commandeered by larcenous sycophants crying crocodile tears for obsolete religions. The deserted wasteland of a city drenched in crime and hatred. The constant exhaust, litter everywhere, and his boring 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 7th period classes, each of which was designed to teach the low-intelligence worker of the future how to sit down and shut up.

Worst of all was that his fellow hallway sheep did not seem to mind or even notice. Bored in class, text your friends about clothes and hair. Society in the hands of vicious predators, smoke some dope or sniff paint. It was them he minded most of all, the people through whose inattention and selfishness the elites ruled. They were the ones who perpetuated this mess in which he had to live, miserable and alone.

Today, they were going to face that fact. Steve Gates was going to murder them all.

He was ready for the shame, the guilt, and the inevitable end with a pistol in his mouth popping his brains on the wall as the SWAT team made its final sweaty charge into the barricaded classroom three deep in slumped bodies. He knew it would hurt, and that every moment of it would be agony, for each bullet he put into a fool would be another nail in his coffin. After the first, it gets easy, he thought, checking the slide on his Glock.

Four minutes later the auditorium erupted in confusion as the first student to die met a hollowpoint to the face, her sinuses and brain and eyes meshing in an improbably contorted mess that reminded Steve of a tomato funnel cake, if such a thing existed. He kept the rhythm, pacing himself as if he were in an aerobics class in hell, the entire thing resembling a dance. Step into the room, step to the side, shoot a teacher, then drop anyone who rose, then shoot the cowering ones who bleated out prayers and begged. Steve laughed and reloaded. Next classroom. At the end of each hall, the emergency door he had epoxied together rattled with the thrusts of fists infantile in their ineffectiveness, and the squeals of people simultaneously excited by a change in their boring lives and terrified by impending death.

Principal Gerald H. Giuliani wasted no time. He bolted the door in the face of a student, and swept his staff over to see the computer they called, simply, "The Big Board." On it was a graphical display of all the students in the school, tracked by their RFID tags. They looked like dots in a game of Pac-Man... pickups in a game of Doom... bacteria under the microscope wielded by a cruel child. He had to do something.

"Thank God for those RFIDs," said Dana Wilson, the secretary. "We can see where all the kids are, and get them away from this insane maniac. He even said our classes were boring, so he's obviously lost his mind. You see, only crazy people don't like the progress we've made here in adapting our classes so that everyone can fit in... no one feels like the work is beyond them, and we all get gold stars at the end of each day."

Giuliani shot her a look. The nitwit probably thought this was more than a job, he mused, and reached for the microphone. "He's in Hallway C, so if we get them to the cafeteria, we can send the SWAT team in there," he said, keying the microphone. And keying, waiting for the "plik" that came over the speakers when he fired it up.

Sarah Howard backed away. Her locker, once a bright pink and green, was now spattered in the blood of her first ever honest-to-god boyfriend, Jim Dozer. It looked like super-strawberry yoghurt covering her books... but she knew it was the least used part of Jim's body, the brain. A heave throttled deep within her. He had been no prize, but he was her first sexual conquest and real boyfriend, so she knew she would always treasure that status that conferred upon her among others. But that was yesterday, and today was hell.

"Attention all students!" the thick voice split through the loudspeakers. Giuliani really sounded worked up, almost squeaky. "There's a madman loose in the school, killing everyone he can find. Deny him and get into the gym, where we'll send the SWAT team to find you." Sarah, along with her other howling compatriots, screamed their way down the hall like a school of fish under the shadow of a shark.

Steve Gates smiled his sickest Marilyn Manson impersonation as he threw down the smoking Glock, his ammunition exhausted, and dug in his gym bag to the screams of panicked students fleeing down distant hallways. He looked up and saw the cut wires of the speaker system, the alligator clips leading to his impromptu microphone made from some old headphones. On his laptop, he saw the bright blips of RFID tags going into the target zone. Then he looked at his M4 rifle, the magazines taped together for efficiency, and thought of the improvised Claymore mines he'd rigged in the gym.

Death would be painful, but this body count was going to go down in history in a big way. They were going to lament this carnage on the news for days if not decades. Klebold and Harris, the guy at Virginia Tech? Amateurs. Charles Whitman himself would bow before this massacre. Steve grinned. Not bad for a guy with a C average. Racking the slide on his rifle, he began the long walk down the bloodsmeared hall...

We already have this... (2, Informative)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#19275871)

...I go to the University of Warwick, and we have this already. There are RFID chips in our library cards which we have to use to go into the library, take out books, the learning grid (its a 24/7 mini-library and work area that they've packed full of buzz-words...) or sports center. They are also used to give variable access to departmental buildings when they are not "open", as it were. For example if you are a statistics student you can get into that departments building at 3 in the morning but you can't get into social sciences.

These are passive and so give me little reason to be worried (although I do have a sheet of metal in my wallet anyway, just in case). They also provide pretty much all the benefits of an active chip without as much of a feeling that they are doing some weird prying into your life.

Having said that this system didn't stop my friend from having £180 charged to him because someone stole his library card and took out 10 books on it... having active cards could just make that problem far worse -
Security: "It seems the fire was started by you, Scott"
Scott: "But I was at home on my own all night"
Security: "Tell it to the police, and in the mean time you've been kicked out - read the University ToS, we can kick you out whenever for whatever reason"
Scott: "Bugger..."

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