OK, this idea of tagging and tracking children like animals in the wild is seriously scary stuff. According to a post on the ACLU’s blog:
On Tuesday, preschoolers in Richmond, California showed up for school and were handed jerseys embedded with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. RFID tags are tiny computer chips that are frequently used to track everything from cattle to commercial products moving through warehouses. Now the school district is apparently hoping to use these chips to replace manual attendance records, track the children’s movements at school and during field trips, and collect other data like whether the child has eaten or not.
Are parents really this paranoid, or is this the school’s solution to attendance problems? What’s next, cameras in the bathrooms to monitor frequency and type of their little darlings’ bowel movements? I can just see this in their Potty Log: “9/20/10, 8:34 a.m.: Timmy Richardson had a poo. Duration of poo: 3.5 minutes. Poo has been sent to lab for weight, texture, and color information. Timmy left bathroom at approximately 8:40 a.m., arriving back in classroom at 8:42 a.m. after a short visit to water fountain.” Don’t think they haven’t considered this level of detail! Some smothering, nutjob parent out there would probably LOVE to know this kind of stuff.
Also, apparently the school hasn’t read up on how insecure these RFID tags are. They’re notoriously insecure, this has been well-documented for several years now. You can find it on this Google thing everyone always talks about. And look! It puts the kids’ privacy at risk more than they probably even bothered to think about.
Without real security, RFID chips could actually make preschoolers more vulnerable to tracking, stalking, and kidnapping. Someone who wants to do children harm could potentially sit in a car across the street and scan the children’s jerseys without teachers, school officials, parents, or children ever knowing that any information has been read. And if this information can be read, it can be copied easily to a duplicate chip. A child could be taken off campus while the duplicate chip continues to tell RFID readers that the child is safely at school.
This means that little Timmy’s school schedule and daily routine could suddenly become public information for anyone who might find a use for it. Creepy.
The long-term effect is that this kind of thing trains kids to expect to be tracked and monitored. They’ll grow up being used to having Someone knowing everything they do and when they do it. And that sends shivers down my spine.