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Students In UK Tracked With RFID Chips

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the sees-you-when-you're-sleeping dept.

Privacy 214

An anonymous reader writes "Ten kids in a pilot program in the Hungerhill School in Edenthorpe, England will participate in a program that puts RFID chips in students' uniforms to keep track of their whereabouts. A group called 'Leave Them Kids Alone' is opposing the program. Bruce Schneier blogs: '...Now it's easy to cut class; just ask someone to carry your shirt around the building while you're elsewhere.'"

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oops... (4, Funny)

thekm (622569) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262669)

lost my shirt trying to make the first post...

Re:oops... (2, Funny)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262961)

Damn mods can't even RTFS (Summary) any more. I for one welcome our new shirtless-will-one-day-choose-my-retirement-home overlords.

Re:oops... (1)

thekm (622569) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263393)

I knew that I'd never get a 5 from that first post, but I certainly thought that "offtopic" was a bit harsh... The whole "can't be in school because I have to get first post on /. so I really do need to lose my shirt". Maybe it's just a little avant garde for those that really want to be first posters themselves.

Re:oops... (1)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263889)

Overrated perhaps, but my guess would be the mods didn't get the joke

Actually thinking about it, putting some sort of RFID tracking into ID cards or better yet a mobile phone might be an idea. We had a fire drill about an hour ago which I promptly ignored. If the doors were set to monitor my users as they went in and out of the building, that would have been detected. I could even have some sort of "disable-local-logins" script set up to lock their accounts from localised access when they're not in the building. Sure the implications for a school student is far greater, as they are prone to forget things or screw around with them (I was always the latter), but perhaps this isn't such a bad idea.

That said if anyone tries this one on me I'll be finding a different job or perhaps sabotaging the system...

Well (3, Interesting)

moogied (1175879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262681)

I think this is a very responsible use of "human monitoring". Its voluntary, its in there CLOTHES, and its only useful at school. Something like this I can understand. Now I did not RTFA, but I hope this is only used at exits/entrances to the school grounds. Just as a way of telling if they are there or not. Could be very useful in fire drills, bomb threaths, and lock downs. To tell who is at the school still, or left.

reverse psychology (5, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262715)

I think this is a very responsible use of "human monitoring". Its voluntary, its in there CLOTHES, and its only useful at school.

Yeah, but when you start requiring specific clothes, all you're going to do is entice the teenagers to get naked. You don't want to have naked teenagers on your hands, do you? I know I would. I mean, wouldn't. Right.

Re:reverse psychology (1)

GenP (686381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263971)

Might want to cut down on the Sex Panther. Looks like it's starting to affect your brainulation.

Re:reverse psychology (-1, Troll)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21264023)

Considering these people are underaged I certainly hope you wouldn't. Or are you someone who gets off on underage naked kids?

Re:Well (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262739)

Still though, whats the use of individual tracking seriously besides some "big brother" plot? Sure it would be useful but as with all technology some innovative hacker (I use this term with respect) will find a way to break it and make it useless for the intended purpose. Sure there is always human error, but human error is no match for human genius when they have motivation to go attack "the man"

Re:Well (1)

clsours (1089711) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262837)

Wait wait, this is a school. We WANT big brother in our schools. This basically tracks students as they pass through doorways. So the teacher will not have to call roll, write it down every class period, and waste 5 minutes. You will see how much time a student actually spends in a classroom. This system wont provide any more information about a student than an observant teacher could provide, but it allows the teacher to do more ... teaching. An amazing concept, teachers teaching.

Re:Well (2, Insightful)

The_Sledge (1049070) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262927)

"Yes, roll call stated all my 25 students are attending my class today. Oh, I can only see 23 heads, maybe I miscounted. Time to clean those glasses."

I can see an outbreak of truancy and students tags being traded somehow.

Bad idea, to be honest, if the task is for roll call or tracking movements as it would take the human element out of a simple task which would be better off being kept manual.

On a related issue with personal RFID tagging, I just took delivery of a new "e-Passport" where the middle pages are labeled "do not stamp or mark" as they contain the RFID tags for travel. I can understand the need for an RFID in a travel document, but it's utterly a waste when we consider Towelhead Tom from Kerfuckistan doesn't need RFID because his country doesn't have RFID-enabled passports.

I can see where this is heading.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262977)

What kind of retarded teacher honestly takes roll call for 5 minutes like that every day?

Anyone who cares about effeciancy assigns seats.

The teacher just has to look and see which ones are empty and of those which should not be empty. Hopefully with half a clue to notice anyone who shouldn't be there. Even going down a list does not take more than 1 minute unless they are completely brain dead.

Relying on technology to replace awareness of ones own students is a great idea... While we're at it we might as well just replace teachers alltogeather with the F1 key on our $100 notebooks.

Electronic tracking is great if you happen to be a cow or an endangered elephant.

Re:Well (2, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263073)

Electronic tracking is great if you happen to be a cow or an endangered elephant.

Hey! Americans don't want that crap either!

Re:Well (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262803)

Useless idea.
Kids would give their clothes to others to carry for them.
Block the RFID if they wanted to go off the grid.
Honestly, how long does it take for the regular teacher to run down the names of their students to see if they're there.

If there was a fire, do you want to teachers to manually check each kid got out alive or just rely on a tag in a piece of clothing. A trapped kid's RFID signal may not reach sensors, a kid in gym class would have different clothes on, etc.

Re:Well (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262817)

If there was a fire and not every kid was beeped out the gate, wouldn't you like to be able to know where the kid was inside the building with just a quick scan of all school building sensors?

Re:Well (2, Insightful)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262831)

The kid or the kid's jacket? Would you want to send firefighters in to rescue the jacket?

Re:Well (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262847)

For lack of better idea where the kid would be, wouldn't you?

Re:Well (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262889)

Kids would give their clothes to others to carry for them.

"Gee, these two students have been sticking together all day... and they don't even have all the same classes! Send someone to take a peek."

Honestly, how long does it take for the regular teacher to run down the names of their students to see if they're there.

That'll tell you where they AREN'T. The whole point is to know where they ARE, or at least were. Granted they could take the bugged article of clothing off, but if it's a shirt, pants, shoes or something it would be hard to do and not stand out as obviously not wearing the appropriate uniform.

If there was a fire, do you want to teachers to manually check each kid got out alive or just rely on a tag in a piece of clothing.

Obviously a physical head count is a requirement, but an RFID locater could help in the event the head count comes up short... even if there's a chance the kid ditched the tag somewhere, there's at least an equal chance it's still on him. If the building is on fire and not everyone is accounted for, wouldn't having a general idea where they might be in the building count as a plus?
=Smidge=

Re:Well (4, Insightful)

lahvak (69490) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263747)

"Gee, these two students have been sticking together all day... and they don't even have all the same classes! Send someone to take a peek."

If the students are that stupid, they deserve to be caught. But it greatly illustrates why a system like this is really bad idea. The last thing we want is for the school administrators and teachers to know which kids hang together all day:

"Hey, you! Yes, you! I see you have been hanging a lot with that troublemaker Smith lately! I am warning you, you better stay away from him, or you are gotta get it!"

That'll tell you where they AREN'T. The whole point is to know where they ARE,...

No it isn't. Really pretty much all the teacher needs to know is that the kid is not in the class. So what is the kid is taking a smoke break in the bathroom? Or if he or she ran to the locker to get a homework they forgot? Or he decided to hang out with his girlfriend in that hidden spot in the school attic instead of going to the class? They are not in the class, when they show up, just ask them why were they missing. You don't need any stupid RFID chip for that. Of course, if a small kid comes to class late, with red cheeks, obviously has been crying, you notice and know something is up, and you act accordingly. I am afraid that with technology such as these chips, teachers will just say "we know where everybody is, we don't really need to pay attention to how they act, how they look like etc."

The kids are supposed to learn how to be responsible, make their own decisions, and generally become members of the society. They cannot learn that while knowing they are under a constant surveillance with no way to escape.

If the building is on fire and not everyone is accounted for, wouldn't having a general idea where they might be in the building count as a plus?

That's pretty much the only legitimate use of the technology. I am quite worried about serious surveillance technologies being introduced "just in the case there is some emergency".

Re:Well (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21264151)

"Gee, these two students have been sticking together all day... and they don't even have all the same classes! Send someone to take a peek."

I was under the impression that RFID (especially passive RFID, did not RTFA, but embedding in clothing implies passive), is only feasibly read in close proximities (3 or 4 ft is pushing it as far as I know). This wouldn't allow tracking, just whether or not they may have passed through some barrier, or swiped the tag somewhere. One could argue that using many powerful readers would allow position tracking, but then you get interference from all the tags, neglecting the expense (maybe a non issue for a private school).

Just my $0.02

Re:Well (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262913)

Most teachers I had didn't even do a roll call. They just scanned down the list and checked for missing people, anybody they didn't see they would call out their name. It probably took them about 30 seconds.

Re:Well (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263773)

Useless idea.
Kids would give their clothes to others to carry for them.
Block the RFID if they wanted to go off the grid.
Honestly, how long does it take for the regular teacher to run down the names of their students to see if they're there.

If there was a fire, do you want to teachers to manually check each kid got out alive or just rely on a tag in a piece of clothing. A trapped kid's RFID signal may not reach sensors, a kid in gym class would have different clothes on, etc.


You're right. Since it is not a perfect system and can be defeated, let's not have it. Of course, using that logic, I suggest you turn off your computer right away. It can be hacked you know. I can't believe we even invented these things. All you have to do is turn them off and they are worthless! Now, speaking of devices that can track you, about your cell phone...

If there was a fire, do you want to teachers to manually check each kid got out alive or just rely on a tag in a piece of clothing. A trapped kid's RFID signal may not reach sensors, a kid in gym class would have different clothes on, etc.

And a trapped kid's RFID signal MIGHT reach sensors. It sure stands a hell of a lot better chance than a kid with no RFID sensors on him!

Re:Well (2, Interesting)

Iftekhar25 (802052) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262809)

I was involved with a start-up company in Singapore trying to sell RFID solutions to schools for tracking children.

The school we were pitching to were interested at first, but didn't make the jump once they discovered it was "experimental." In hindsight, it was a good thing, because the start-up I was working for lacked the expertise to pull it off.

But I agree with the parent; it's responsible so long as it's used within the school premises. Children aren't the same as adults, and otherwise draconian practices are part and parcel of raising kids.

This isn't a privacy issue, but on the contrary, an example of the application of technology to save many man-hours of tedious attendance-taking and embarrassingly mis-pronounced names.

Re:Well (1)

lahvak (69490) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263583)

This isn't a privacy issue, but on the contrary, an example of the application of technology to save many man-hours of tedious attendance-taking and embarrassingly mis-pronounced names.

That's bullshit! If a teacher cannot take one look at the class and see who is missing, then you either have too large classes, of the teacher is totally incompetent, and I would not want to have him or her in charge of my kids!

Re:Well (1)

Iftekhar25 (802052) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263719)

If a teacher cannot take one look at the class and see who is missing, then you either have too large classes, of the teacher is totally incompetent, and I would not want to have him or her in charge of my kids!

In an ideal world, teachers won't be incompetent, or have too many students in a class.

In an ideal world, teachers won't have too many classes assigned to them, so they won't get confused as to which class they're teaching, and who's in which class.

In an ideal world, a teacher gives a damn, and takes down the names of their students, or makes an effort to know their students.

Unfortunately, however...

The point you raise is true. But for practicality's sake, for schools with problematic children, or public schools where kids don't go to become the next Einstein, but just to learn the basics in the hopes that they don't turn out too bad later on... or for a school where the parents send their kids so they can have some peace at home... this isn't a bad solution.

Re:Well (1)

lahvak (69490) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263841)

In an ideal world, the teachers will not abuse the system to drive the difficult smart ass kid that always makes smart ass comments and embarrasses teachers into a complete isolation.

In an ideal world, the school principal will not abuse the system to find out which of the kids could possibly have had an access to the information that he has been stealing money from the district, which has lately been brought to the attention of a local newspaper.

In an ideal world, a stupid gym teacher will not abuse the system and tell a bunch of his favourite jocks where exactly is that irritating nerdy kid that cannot even climb a rope currently hiding.

I don't believe that placing bunch of kids under a constant surveillance from which they cannot escape while they are in the school building will help them not to turn out too bad later on. I think it is a bad solution no matter what.

Re:Well (1)

Iftekhar25 (802052) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263959)

Cute. :)

All the abuses you've listed above are very easily doable by someone without an RFID system, and easily preventable by good policies, enforcement, and accountability.

I don't believe that placing bunch of kids under a constant surveillance from which they cannot escape while they are in the school building will help them not to turn out too bad later on.

I never said that either. :) I believe you owe someone a straw man.

The system gives more power, which needs more control, regulation and established good practices. It's not different to any other technological improvement. The old ways are still the best ways, and I still don't disagree with the core of your point, but you're being needlessly idealistic.

I believe this discussion is taking a turn for the mindlessly polemic, so this will be my last post on the matter. We shall have to agree to disagree.

Re:Well (5, Insightful)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262855)

Here is a radical concept. Stop treating children like animals and start treating them like human beings. Letting kids go off the "leash" is necessary for them to become responsible people. How can they learn to be trustworthy if they are never trusted in the first place?

Not only that but you are essentially teaching children that there is nothing wrong with being tracked wherever you go - and that can only mean that they grow up to be people who will consent to draconian surveillance schemes because they are used to them.

Re:Well (5, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262933)

Not only that but you are essentially teaching children that there is nothing wrong with being tracked wherever you go - and that can only mean that they grow up to be people who will consent to draconian surveillance schemes because they are used to them.

Isn't that exactly what we want - a generation who think there is nothing wrong with being monitored? A generation so used to the idea of being watched, that they will start demanding it when it is absent?

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21263067)

The average school administrator is so focused on "discipline" that he/she doesn't even see the children as people, regardless. Simply knowing where they all are isn't going to change much about this, and also, how easy will it be to jam the system? If you can get a cell phone jamming device, you can get an RFID jamming device too. At least one kid will try it. On another note, schools don't want children to grow up to be responsible, they want them to grow up to be conformist.

Re:Well (1)

lahvak (69490) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263429)

At least one kid will try it.

Yeah, I can't wait for the slashdot articles about a kid being suspended from school for a month for using a jamming device.

Re:Well (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263909)

Not only that but you are essentially teaching children that there is nothing wrong with being tracked wherever you go - and that can only mean that they grow up to be people who will consent to draconian surveillance schemes because they are used to them.

I think that's the idea. (Though perhaps not the PARENT'S idea)

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21264119)

Exactly! Some time ago I mentioned this as well: if you want people to consider this kind of stuff normal, you've got to train them young.

TPTB are patient enough to wait a generation or two.. and then you don't have people around anymore who have ever known that it's not normal to be living in a digital cage. Thinking about it.. we might even be further down this path then most people will ever realize in their daily lives.

One of my friends had an interesting idea a few days ago:

Let those people who want to live safe and secure in their own 'sheep cage'. It's somewhat safer than outside the cage, but you cannot go out. You're marked, tagged, tracked, etc.

The other people who do not feel this extensive need for security that is provided via a tagging mechanism get to live in their own part of the world. Less secure, but free and not bothered by the stupid "I've got nothing to hide" line of thinking of other people.

I must say I actually liked it.

Idiocracy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262907)

Did you ever see that movie? It's great!! One of the funniest parts is where the guy goes to doctors office. The doctor freaks out becuase the guy has no registration tatoo? The doctor cries out "UNSCANNABLE!". Probably we'll be the last generation of humans who'll formally be called this. Our children will probably welcome a tracking chip or tatoo. I think it has sinister implications to be abused to differentiate between economic, ethnic, social, and breeding characteristics(bogus shit by the way).

This isn't a way to solve safety issues in society. It's more of a marketing aspect sold to the masses to provide a false sense of security like a car alarm. I'M NOT BITING ON THIS BOLOGNA STICK! This is a gateway to getting fucked on all holes! You're life's over once they implant the chip, tatoo your rear, or stick it up your nose like Arnold Swarzennegger in that Sci-Fi movie with the psychic midget in that guys gut in the alien temple! Come on? You know THAT movie??

Re:Idiocracy! (1)

glittalogik (837604) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263149)

This is a gateway to getting fucked on all holes!
"Uh... This goes in your mouth. This one goes in your ear. And this one goes in your butt. (Joe puts wires in, machine beeps) Shit. Hang on a second. This one... Uh... This one... this one goes in your mouth..."

Re:Well (1)

cloricus (691063) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263223)

Is it just me or wouldn't this allow bad people to track children as well?

Re:Well (1)

doupatex (660577) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263743)

Yeah, and it will have a very positive effect : kids will quickly learn how to sidestep RFID tracking. When it comes to circumventing laws, teenagers are very effective and imaginative.

And when they become responsible, adult citizens, it will be nearly impossible to track them down with this kind of tricks. Something like a vaccine against a particular strain of Bigbrotheris :-)

Re:Well (1)

smardrengr (1184939) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263899)

You make a good point. There is just so much fear-mongering about tracking people, or tracking vehicles, or tracking information. Someone reads 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 and suddenly feels sure that every new technology will be used for only evil purposes. Wrong! Every new technology will be used for benign AND evil purposes. OK, that's almost a joke. But really. There are just so many instances of lives saved, or at least protected, as a direct result of tracking technology. Wikipedia has a good summary of the tech at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPS_tracking [wikipedia.org] and these guys have a couple interesting news stories on how the gps tracking is reducing crime, recovering vehicles and saving dogs! No kidding. http://www.gpspolice.com/videos/ [gpspolice.com] Point is, obviously personal tracking will be misused, but it will help people and save lives.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21264091)

I think this is a very responsible use of "human monitoring".
The problem is a RFID tag does care if it's generating a signal from a school for a fire drill or some pervert using it like a high tech "game tag", it still generates it's signal.


Could be very useful in fire drills, bomb threaths, and lock downs.
Man, might as well dress the kids in orange jumpsuits. =)

oh lawd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262683)

This is a bad idea, waste of money, etc etc etc

also first post

government logic (4, Insightful)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262701)

Ten kids in a pilot program in the Hungerhill School in Edenthorpe, England will participate in a program that puts RFID chips in students' uniforms to keep track of their whereabouts.

Clearly, this measure is needed, as the government doesn't yet have enough cameras to track everyone individually.

Re:government logic (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262893)

Talking of which, that reminds me, the other week I saw mobile CCTV police vans. I don't know if these are a new thing or not. I would've taken a photo of it, but I feared getting arrested for doing so...

Re:government logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21264063)

mobile cctv vans are not new.
At least one place they are used is at football matches.

UDel's "ThoughtReform" a better fit for YRO (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21263155)


Many universities try to indoctrinate students, but the all-time champion in this category is surely the University of Delaware. With no guile at all the university has laid out a brutally specific program for "treatment" of incorrect attitudes of the 7,000 students in its residence halls. The program is close enough to North Korean brainwashing that students and professors have been making "made in North Korea" jokes about the plan. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has called for the program to be dismantled.

Residential assistants charged with imposing the "treatments" have undergone intensive training from the university. The training makes clear that white people are to be considered racists - at least those who have not yet undergone training and confessed their racism. The RAs have been taught that a "racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture, or sexuality."

FIRE reports that the university's views "are forced on students through a comprehensive manipulation of the residence hall environment, from mandatory training sessions to 'sustainability' door decorations." Residents are pressured to promise at least a 20 percent reduction in their ecological footprint and to promise to work for a "oppressed" group. Students are required to attend training sessions, floor meetings and one-on-one sessions where RAs ask personal questions such as "When did you discover your sexual identity?". Students are pressured or required to accept an array of the university's approved views. In one training session, students had to announce their opinions on gay marriage. Those who did not approve of gay marriage were isolated and heavily pressured to change their opinion.

The indoctrination program pushes students to accept the university's ideas on politics, race, sex, sociology, moral philosophy and environmentalism. The training is run by Kathleen Kerr, director of residential life, who reportedly considers it a "cutting-edge" program that can be exported to other universities around the country. Residential assistants usually provide services to residents and have light duties, such as settling squabbles among students. Kerr and her program are more ambitious. She has been quoted as saying that the job of RAs is to educate the whole human being with a "curricular approach to residential education." In this curricular approach, students are required to report their thoughts and opinions. One professor says: "You have to confess what you believe to the RA." The RAs write reports to their superiors on student progress in cooperating with the "treatment."

The basic question about the program is how did they think they could ever get away with this? Most campus indoctrination is more subtle, with some wiggle room for fudging and deniability. This program implies a frightening level of righteousness and lack of awareness. But the RAs have begun to back away a step or two. After telling the students the program is mandatory, the RAs sent an email saying the sessions are actually voluntary.

----------------
In one-on-one sessions with RAs (Resident Assistants), University of Delaware students were questioned: "When did you discover your sexual identity?" In dorm meetings, they were pressured to pledge their allegiance to university-approved views on race, sexuality and environmentalism. When FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) spotlighted the indoctrination, a university official defended the "free exchange of ideas." A few days later, the program was canceled.

How can academics talk about "critical thinking" while turning residence halls into reeducation camps? Well, they meant well. Everyone agrees they meant well. If only academics were capable of thinking critically about their own assumptions.

Thanks to FIRE's links to ResLife (Residential Life) materials, we know the goal was to teach dorm dwellers "competencies" for "citizenship," such as: "Students will recognize that systemic oppression exists in our society," "Students will recognize the benefits of dismantling systems of oppression," and "Students will be able to utilize their knowledge of sustainability to change their daily habits and consumer mentality."

"Learning" was defined as "specific attitudinal or behavioral changes." The program was called a "treatment."

Students who agreed with ResLife's views on "diversity, homosexual rights (and more subtly, politics)" were hired as RAs, writes Dan Lenker, a former RA, on SayAnything. Then RAs were trained in how to pressure students to accept the program's "unarguable dogma," such as the fact that "racist" applies to all whites in the U.S. "regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality." Over time, "ridiculous and poorly designed" programs became "more belligerent" in pushing students to accept the approved beliefs, Lenker writes. While older students realized they could skip dorm meetings, "gullible" freshman believed RAs who said they had to participate.

This year, ResLife hired Shakti Butler, executive director of World Trust Educational Services, to train RAs. Her specialty, according to her web site, is "constructive conversations on oppression through the lens of race." She claims her work "speaks to the interconnectedness of racism, classism, sexism and homophobia."

The program "has gotten out of hand," writes "Bill," who says he's been an RA for two years, on Chronicle of Higher Education. Asked to defend the training to the press, he refused. "When I declined, I was taken aside and told that my future as an RA was in jeopardy as was my future as a student."

The university's first response to FIRE came from Michael Gilbert, the vice president of student life, who claimed the program wasn't mandatory and was all about "the free exchange of ideas."

Not so, responds "Marie," who says she works in the student affairs office, in the Chronicle: "... until this week the program was mandatory and they have temporarily suspended the mandatory nature of it, but once the attention goes away especially with Parents Weekend arriving they want to look good. Boy can they lie."

A chilling description was provided by freshman Brooke Aldrich in a Wilmington News-Journal story: "Students were asked if they approved of such things as affirmative action or gay marriage. If they did, they would join students on one side of the room. If they didn't, they would join students on the other side of the room. They were not permitted to explain their reasons or to answer 'I don't know,' she said."

Re:government logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21263335)

But is this measure enough [theonion.com] ?

Obligatory (0, Offtopic)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262709)

*You, Yes You, Stand Still Laddie!*

When we grew up and went to school, there were certain teachers who would hurt the children anyway they could
by pouring their derision upon anything we did
exposing any weakness however carefully hidden by the kids.

But in the town it was well known
When they got home at night their fat and psychopathic wives
Would thrash them within inches of their lives!

We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teacher! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
All in all you're just another brick in the wall.

(A bunch of kids singing) We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teacher! Leave us kids alone!
All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
All in all you're just another brick in the wall.

"Wrong, Guess again!
Wrong, Guess again!
If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding.
How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?
You! Yes, you behind the bike sheds, stand still laddie!"

Daily Mail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262713)

Am I the only one who thinks that the "Leave Them Kids Alone" website would be more convincing if it didn't use the Daily Mail?

Re:Daily Mail (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262917)

Me too. I do find it rather odd when they seem to be at the forefront of defending civil liberties. I'm not sure what to think when that happens.

Defenition of "molest" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262727)

molest - to bother.

Yes, the dean has molested me before. You niggers listen now, I'm gon'a tell you how, too keep from gettin' tortured when the clan is on the prowl; lock your doors at night, and keep your hands held tight, or else us students will figure you're all just gay niggers lookin' to touch our rights.

eh gawd...
Chop his hands off, Sheriff!

No big deal (2, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262731)

1) Kids still need to have a physical presence. If they are not in attendance, but their shirt seems to be walking around the school, then it is clear that they have deliberately tried to circumvent the requirement to be in school during school hours.

2) RFID is only an identifier, not a tracker. For someone to actively track a kid, they'd still have to follow the tried and true method of skulking and bush-hiding and slow van driving.

I made the comment earlier that SecurityFocus and Bruce Schneier were causing more damage than good due to chicken-little-ism and this kind of reactionary idiocy. The "security experts" are fighting against Big Brother, but that's not where the security problems lie. Big Brother, at any time, can subpoena all your stuff and any security measures you've taken are for naught. It's the people who don't have the legal power to require you to open up that you need to be secure from. RFID does not make you any less secure because it doesn't increase your "securable surface area". It requires the same proximity that sight does, and if you're that close to danger already, then your risk quotient is too high to be affected by RFID.

Big deal (2, Insightful)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262905)

There's a huge difference between the government being able to subpoena your records and records of your movement (e.g. cellphone provider logs) and the government being able to have "always-on" monitoring of you at all times "just in case." Automated tracking via software elevates government snooping to whole new levels that would never be possible with simple "sight." It's not really fair to compare the two.

Your other points are somewhat valid, but if you can't see that, I don't think you're qualified to make any judgments on Schneier or other security experts.

Re:Big deal (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263113)

After reading your other posts in this thread, I'm not quite sure whether to take your criticism as a compliment or ignore you altogether.

Re:No big deal (2, Funny)

lahvak (69490) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263517)

Kids still need to have a physical presence. If they are not in attendance, but their shirt seems to be walking around the school, then it is clear that they have deliberately tried to circumvent the requirement to be in school during school hours.

No, it's clear that some bullies stole their shirt and tossed it around the school building all day, just to get them in trouble.

Seriously, I am glad they didn't have this when I went to school. I mean, will somebody think about the kids who are tardy? No more sneaking into a classroom after the bell rings, with your friends creating a disturbance in the opposite corner of the classroom so the teacher won't notice? No more climbing into the school building through the kitchen window after the main entrance was locked at five till eight? Holly crap, I would actually have to come to school on time!

Re:No big deal (1)

fredklein (532096) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263633)

If they are not in attendance, but their shirt seems to be walking around the school,

And how will you know that?

If you can keep track of the students bodies, you don't need the RFID in their clothes. OTOH, if you cannot keep track of them, then you will not find out their RFID is present, but they are not.

RFID is only an identifier, not a tracker.

If there are enough sensors everywhere, it can be used to track. One at each doorway in school, now you know which room the kid is in. One in each quarter of the room, and you know if he's at the front/back, left/right in the room. 100 in a grid on the ceiling, and you know within a few feet.

As for tracking outside the school, that's just a matter of time. The schoolbus will have one at the door, so you'll know he got on/off the bus. In cities (where school kids use public transit), ALL public busses could have a sensor at the door.
Bus stops, lamp posts, etc could all have sensors. 'For the safety of the children.'

Then it's trivial to start tracking other RFIDs, not just the school kid's.

Silly brits! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262743)

"Hungerhill" School in "Edenthorpe"? No wonder we rebelled against the Crown.

Re:Silly brits! (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262991)

Yeah, traitors. I always wondered why it was called, "The Patriot" - should have been called, "The Traitor".

Scott Adams (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262753)

I'm going to have to ask Scott Adams too stop predicting the future. I thought the locater tags were supposed to be a joke.

Why not cut out the foreplay... (1, Flamebait)

jaxtherat (1165473) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262761)

And go straight to electronic tagging? Better yet, lock them up in school like battery hens... I'm sure a frighteningly large percentage of parents would approve, what with focus groups scaring the bejeesus out of parents on a daily basis with alarmist bullshit.

Re:Why not cut out the foreplay... (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263187)

And go straight to electronic tagging?

That's funny. I thought RFID was electronic tagging.

I know, I know. You meant in the person's body, not their clothing. We can defeat this program with some carefully placed rumors of kidnappers wrapping kids in tinfoil [typepad.com] before running off with them.

This was already being done in the US (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262777)

There's a school in Kansas City, MO (can't remember the name of it) that did something very much like this after the Columbine High School shootings. They have (or had) armed guards posted at the entrances to the school and they forced all students, faculty, and visitors to wear "ID badges" on cords around their necks that were credit card-sized thick plastic cards, each containing something tracked from the (very expensive-seeming) "command center" thing near the administrative offices. Anyone found without a badge was supposed to be taken and arrested. This was in addition to extensive x-ray/metal detector scanners installed at the entrances.

Re:This was already being done in the US (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263431)

My high school actually got that system the year before Colombine (there were gang problems), but the year after I graduated. They didn't actually arrest people like they said they would, they just made them pay a $1 fine, write their name on a piece of paper and pin it to their shirt. My younger brother ended up paying close to $20 before he realized that he just needed to walk around with a piece of paper on his shirt to avoid having to pay the fine. Never remembered to bring his id. Still cant believe it took him that long to figure it out.

How can you have any pudding... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262785)

...if you don't eat your meet?

(Oh it's insightful, alright. If you don't get it then you're just shallow.)

Well, we had him on grand theft (3, Funny)

istartedi (132515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262793)

But the record plainly shows he spent all day up inside the ceiling tiles. Off to search for the real perpetrator, cheery-o!

That fresh from the dryer feeling. (3, Informative)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262801)

Clothes fresh from the dryer feel wonderfully warm and cozy, but who has the time to wait for the dryer to warm up all the way?

A quick, easy solution is to pop your clothes in the Microwave for a few seconds, and Presto!, warm and fuzzy!

Just don't try it with metal zippers or buttons, nylon might melt, you might start a fire...

Re:That fresh from the dryer feeling. (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262953)

Have you ever tried tossing an RFID tag into the microwave? I've done that with a couple I've gotten in books. Antennas designed to receive microwaves produce an impressive spark show...

these will only be effective if they are implanted (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262805)

it will also work great for regular folks as well, especially in the US where we have an illegal immigration problem... no chip, no paycheck!

oh wait... where have I heard about that before?

Re:these will only be effective if they are implan (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263057)

I'M A DELIVERY BOY!!!!

Subdermal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262827)

"Now it's easy to cut class; just ask someone to carry your shirt around the building while you're elsewhere.'"

That's easy to fix, just go to subdermal implants.

Re:Subdermal (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262857)

Some kids [thesun.co.uk] may produce intereference that blocks outbound RF. Better to use tags hung through pierced ears.

RFID in a shirt? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262851)

Think again! Those chips are going to be sewn in right down there in the kids' underpants.

Incidentally, if any gnomes are reading this:

??? = RFID

Cancer (1)

Nicolay77 (258497) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262871)

I remember a study that linked implanted chips with cancer.

Surely, in this case they are only in the clothes, but still too close to the body.

And what about all the X/raying people in airports and other places?

Will you trade your health for (a little) security?

Cool post! (0, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262883)

I can't believe I get modded down at all for any post when there are people like the poster above who fights the windmills of Big Brother with half-baked pseudoscience.

Re:Cancer (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263175)

Yes they are in clothes. And yes they do emit RF (duh). But we're exposed to RF everyday whether we like it or not. All of those radio and broadcast television waves are pulsing through your body even as you read this.

If the tags are being used for something like a check-in check-out system for kids in schools, more than likely, the tag will be passive and only emit a wave when exposed to a reader 1 meter away. (Reader in a doorway)

If these were used as an active tracking system with an active tag, then I might be worried about the unknown of long-term exposure. I haven't found any data yet on the effects of prolonged exposure to active RFID tags. But in all reality it would require an internal power source. That isn't too conducive to going through the wash. So I wouldn't worry.

ok, seriously (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262875)

didn't they just find that those are directly related to cancer? are they seriously putting carcinogenic devices in students uniforms? which one is it this time? "think of the children"? or "it's for their safety"?

Danger! Danger, Will Robinson! (1)

Prius (1170883) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262881)

Aren't these the chips that give you cancer? Should we be worried about that at all?

But in the end (2, Funny)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262941)

England Prevails.

Danger? (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262965)

What I still don't understand is why people insist on personal identifying technology. Is the world really more dangerous now than in the past? Or is it merely perceived that way? And why am I asking a question that there's already an obvious answer to?

5 minutes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262979)

That's about how long it will take some inventive kid with a pair of nail scissors to remove said RFID tag. Once removed give it to a friend (maybe draw straws to see who's the unlucky attendee on any given day) and skive off to your hearts content without the teacher suspecting a thing. Everyone wins!

"cut class"? (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263011)

The word is, "Skive [english2american.com] ".

Regionalisms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21263877)

When I lived in the western US, we called it "Sloughing" (I think that's how it's spelled, though it's pronounced sluffing). Once I moved out east (Pennsylvania) they had no idea what the term meant, and I learned to just call it "skipping class."

two words (3, Insightful)

drDugan (219551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263031)

Child abuse.

These two words describe a situation where an abuse is perpetrated on a child.

These people are children, and probably do not have the full context to understand just how bad life can get when they are older, and realize that most of the owrld is out for themselves and there are no parents or teachers around to protect them.

As for calling it abuse: using tech like this to track other people has not yet become abuse - but I feel strongly that is exactly where this trend will go. It will migrate from voluntary to beneficial to compulsory and eventually, to involuntary. Already in the US and in bars in Latin America do we hear about people putting them in their skin. In the name of safety, in the name of peace, in the name of efficiency, in the name of prosperity and growth and everything good, people will eventually be forced to accept the tracking chip that tracks them cradle to grave. And when we are there, we will look back at these voluntary, ignorant, precious children and realize that it was an abuse to start the process.

Somehow in this techstrubation system I see research like this that has completely lost touch with what is good about living simply, without gadgets or crutches or machines that inevitably make things better for a minority of people in power, but worse for a majority of not-in-power people.

Do you really want the obvious "solution"? (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263071)

There seems to be a lot of thrashing about on the issues of privacy, identity theft, and security, etc...

The obvious answer is to submit everyone to an incontrovertible form of ID, so that you know that anyone presenting themselves as someone is that somebody...

Soon (hand-wavingly-vague here), there will be the technological means to do that.

Do you really want that?

Right now you can always say "it wastn't me" and hopefully get a majority jury to agree with you. Do you want a future where there is no leeway?

Re:Do you really want the obvious "solution"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21263637)

Clarke's First Law of Criminology:

A sufficiently canny villain with a good grasp of technology is indistinguishable from someone with an "incontrovertible" form of ID.

This just in (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263081)

Sensors have been added to warn school officials if the students' pants are being worn too low.

oblig simpsons (1)

evwah (954864) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263085)

Skinner: "I wish more students had agreed to these electronic tracking implants... we only had one volunteer!"

*cut to Martin sitting happily in class*

What he said. (4, Funny)

Jethro (14165) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263095)

I would sign up for such a program SPECIFICALLY to mess with it.

I tagged this "toplesscoeds" (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263109)

No, ladies. Skipping class is easy! All you have to do is take off your shirts.

Not all children are equal (1)

jihadist (1088389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263283)

Stop making smart children do dumb things because dumb children always do dumb things. Let nature sort it out. Yes, dumb children will die, but you don't want or need more dumb adults, do you?

Paths and Good Intentions (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263291)

There are many good reasons for this and many equally good against. Sidestepping the whole issue all I have to say is that it sends a chill down my spine for a very simple reason: Its a step towards totalitarianism. Each little step may be small but theres a lot of future ahead to make up for that.

A really good idea! (1)

ppanon (16583) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263345)

<sarcasm&irony>
Sociopaths who want to go on killing sprees in schools shouldn't have to search in each classroom to find people to kill! We should have RFIDs attached to all the students so that the psychos can carry a detector along with lots of guns and can skip the empty classrooms to concentrate on those with the most kids. They can also make sure they don't miss anyone hiding in a closet. Heck, even regular bullies could benefit and use it to find out which entrance Johnny Victim is trying to use, thus making sure he doesn't sneak through with his lunch money intact.

These are presumably passive RFIDs so that they can last a long time without needing batteries changed, right? That way child predators can passively scan the school to find out the carrier frequency used and then put matching activator/detector devices in alleys or wooded parks so that they can know from afar when a child is walking home late at night and they can snatch it with less fear of being observed in the act or while lying in wait.

Gotta love how modern technology empowers people.
</sarcasm&irony>

School security (1)

andersh (229403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21264043)

"..and that the system can be set up to limit access to doors for certain people at certain times, including shutting the main doors of a school to pupils during classtime."

I think that must be one of the best arguments for this kind of thing. Or at least for the United States of America where this kind of thing happens! FYI killing sprees in schools is not an issue in Europe.

As for the school bullies, you really think they won't find Johnny Victim without it? And child predators hardly need the RFID to identify school children. Just to point out the obvious, school age children don't walk home at night in their school uniforms. They change as quickly as they can because they want to wear more fashionable clothes and because they don't want to wear down their expensive uniforms.

Hitler-Jugend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21263503)

Heil Hitler.

Bloody swots! (1)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263543)

'nuff said.

Chain gangs (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263619)

Why don't they just chain the children up? That is much simpler and far more effective. http://www.unesco.org/courier/2001_06/uk/droits.htm [unesco.org] http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/yearoftheslave.html [whatreallyhappened.com] http://www.uri.edu/artsci/wms/hughes/children_in_chains.pdf [uri.edu]

uniform (1)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263669)

So, by embedding it into the school uniform they make it part of the dress code... Whose idea is it that students should wear uniforms in the first place? I can't see any logic in this idea in a free society, although I can see that it is useful in a McDonaldised society for making children feel that behaving like robots is normal.

How To Retain Your Privacy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21263785)

For those of us in the know RFID poses many ethical conundrums... Basically it's a device that tracks you no matter where you go (including out of school).
No right minded adult would allow their children to be tracked by anyone with an RFID scanner (paedophiles included) by quite a reasonable distance too.

Thankfully there is a quick and easy way to take back control of your privacy... and that is with the use of a microwave... Yes, that is right... Microwave your clothes for 10 seconds or so and the RFID chips will explode, rendering all their hard spent cash on placing them there useless.
*NOTE: This will likely leave a small burn mark in your clothes, but hey, at least your untraceable now*

HEY! TEACHER! Leave them kids alone! (1)

Bushido Hacks (788211) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263795)

Yes, this post is redundant. But it's better than being another brick in the wall [youtube.com] .

RFID in schools but not in prisons? (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263839)

Isn't it amazing that convicted criminals have more freedom inside their prison walls than the innocent children have within their school walls?

Two words (1)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21264045)

"Mischief managed."
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