Monday, February 28, 2005

"I'm an orange"

Something I have been wanting to comment on for a while is an article I read a few weeks ago. It deals with RFID tags being used on students. If you do not know what RFID is. This is a kind of technology that sends out a signal with information about usually products. It's like a barcode that sends out a signal a few meters. It is used to track goods these days.

According to the article I read one school in the US has now made it mandatory for students to wear big badges displaying who they are, with an RFID device included that tracks the students movements throughout the entire school. The device can also be read by anybody who happens to have a scanner (which can be bought illegally as well these days).

I don't even want to go into the privacy and security issues here. That privacy is being violated in the most horrible way should be clear. And that people become less secure if they are sending out personal information about themselves to anybody who has a reader, well you don't need to be a rocket scientist to get that one. Al through apparently being a manager of a School means you don't.

What I am wondering about is this nonsense that schools are more busy with major social issues, politics' and other activities totally not targeted at either education, nor at preparing people for the world. First and foremost I think a school should be teaching children things. If the school is unsafe I understand a school taking measures to create a save environment. But the school in question here had no problems with security or violence at all. And a school should also think how far it should go ensuring "safety".

What kind of a signal does a school send out to impressionable youths by treating them before hand as if they where criminals? By sending out a signal "we expect the worst from you" and "we don't trust you, none of you!". It also creates an "student vs. teacher" environment if you ask me. Trust and respect are important parts in a human beings life. This goes against this every possible way. It also takes away individuality I think. Because you are now being punished for the crimes of others. What others? Not even those in your own school, no the crime of being part of a certain school going age-group.

Are these the things we want to teach childeren?

Original article
Protest letter (PDF) send by EPIC, ACLU-NC and FOIA


At 11:15 pm, Blogger kelly said...

If you think this is bad, you should read about the new passports and citizen ID cards the U. S. wants to making mandatory. They have all kins of personal data and are not allowed to be encrypted.


At 7:37 pm, Blogger Aldo Quispel said...

Now that you mention it. I did indeed hear something about that. I think I read something about it on /.

The thing that wasn't clear to me is, is it just a digital passport or does this also include tracking information and all?

All the security paranoia is not good however. Things have been going from bad to worse imho.

At 5:44 pm, Blogger Kathryn said...

The cynical would say that this is just a way of desensitizing kids to the new surveillance regime so they'll be less like to fight big brother. I tend to think it's a combination of lazyness and fear mongering which in itself is dangerous enough.

I also vaguely remember several /. articles on RFID's potential misuse. I suppose I could search but I am too lazy right now. I did pull up a list of Bruce Schneier's blog posts on the subject, which are enlightening, and can be found here.

P.S. I've posted the full text of the article you were wondering about on my blog.

At 9:09 pm, Blogger Aldo Quispel said...

Thanx Kathryn, I will check it out soon (dead tired atm unfortunatly).


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