Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Surveillance (again)

This report, from 2005, on the rfid-tagging of school students in California (as if they were criminals) caused a minor storm, but showed us the shape of things to come. More recently, a school in Doncaster started piloting a scheme in which students have rfid-chips sewn into their school badge. The manufacturers say that tagging helps "accurate and speedy pupil registration, child security." Also it aids " school behaviourial and reporting systems covering rowdy pupils" – I wonder how we got so bad at registration, and why we opt for custodial measures rather than trying to understand disaffection. Not surprisingly, civil liberties groups are not amused. Let’s face it students will soon realise that the technology locates the badge not the individual. Swap uniforms, lock your badge in a secret location, interfere with the rfid signal – the possibilities are endless!

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