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School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Frequencies

Bump and Update: Balloon Juice explains why tracking kids is so wrong.

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2/11/05

If a school ever did this to my kid, I'd be livid. So why aren't more of the parents at Brittan elementary school, north of Sacramento, making a fuss? Tracking kids through radio frequncies and making them wear badges is a practice that should be nipped in the bud....before it spreads.

The only grade school in this rural town is requiring students to wear radio frequency identification badges that can track their every move. Some parents are outraged, fearing it will take away their children's privacy.

The badges introduced at Brittan Elementary School on Jan. 18 rely on the same radio frequency and scanner technology that companies use to track livestock and product inventory. Similar devices have recently been used to monitor youngsters in some parts of Japan.

Anyone remember the history behind REM's "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" It was about the guy who was identified as mugging Dan Rather.

In 1997, based on a tip from a psychiatrist, Rather's attacker was identified as William Tager. According to the psychiatrist, Tager, who was currently serving time for killing an NBC stagehand, blamed news media for beaming signals into his head, and thought if he could just find out the correct frequency, he could block those signals that were constantly assailing him. Hence the enigmatic inquiry.

Here's how these badges work:

Each student is required to wear identification cards around their necks with their picture, name and grade and a wireless transmitter that beams their ID number to a teacher's handheld computer when the child passes under an antenna posted above a classroom door.

....[Principal Ernie Graham] says that it is within his power to set rules that promote a positive school environment: If he thinks ID badges will improve things, he says, then badges there will be.

Hope this guy gets canned quick. With parents like this, it may not happen:

Not everyone in this close-knit farming town northwest of Sacramento is against the system. Some said they welcomed the IDs as a security measure. "This is not Mayberry. This is Sutter, California. Bad things can happen here," said Tim Crabtree, an area parent.

What's next? Will we all have to install Amber alerts in our kitchens and living rooms? Yes, bad things happen. No, you cannot take my or my child's civil liberties away because of them.

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    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#1)
    by bad Jim on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 12:27:44 AM EST
    Even before September 11, lots of people demonstrated surprising amounts of fear, most notably concerning their children. My own childhood in the 50's and 60's was unsupervised to a degree that would alarm most contemporary parents. For that matter, a great many people are afraid of a wilderness, which is generally a pretty safe place for a human.

    First, it's RFID's in currency. Now this. The next step, of course, is chip implantation. It's bad ebough when there are people in this country fed on eschatology and fearing/feverishly praying for "End Times". (A major component of these beliefs being the US government shall become tyrannical, and one of the symptoms of this tyranny will be to tag each citizen with a means of identifying them and ensuring compliance with it's laws, i.e. the "Mark of the Beast".) It's worse when there are people in all levels of government who seem blissfully, ignorantly bent on validating those widespread and volatile beliefs by these kinds of practices. 9/11 rattled the cages of the unstable; this will send them into a frenzy.

    Some more about this school's activities: Electronic Privacy Information Center brief on Brittan School

    Despite how interesting the origins of the song may be, I think we can all agree Monster was not REM's best album.

    I'm sure this must have sounded like a "great idea" to the idiot(s) who thought it up, but I'm amazed that no one in a position of responsibility at that school stepped in to say "stop". Kind of like the Pontiac Aztec.

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#6)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 06:35:25 AM EST
    Good point bad jim. As I've said often, this is the worst era of American history to be a kid. Even growing up in the 80's was a lot different. I was crossing the street solo at age 6 or 7, walking to school solo at 8. This is almost unheard of today, and I find that sad. People shelter their kids these days to a fault. The privacy implications of policies like this against kids will one day come to haunt adults as well.

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#7)
    by lonestar on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 07:04:15 AM EST
    justpaul: The "idiot" was Brittan Elementary School Principal Earnie Graham, who also serves as the superintendent of the single-school district. Being the HMFIC, there probably wasn't anyone in a position of responsibility willing to stand up to him. Thankfully, some parents are. And about the Pontiac Aztek, I agree.

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#8)
    by pigwiggle on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 07:08:37 AM EST
    “If a school ever did this to my kid, I'd be livid.” It sounds like a good idea to me. Too bad public schooling removes the choice for most. “What's next? Will we all have to install Amber alerts in our kitchens and living rooms?” Well, I guess I’ll say it again. When you invite government into the most private and personal parts of your life what do you expect? Don’t want an Amber alert in your kitchen or living room? Lets hope someone doesn’t find a reason, in the interest of promoting the common welfare, to regulate your kitchen or living room.

    et al - Given that the badges are worn with the permission of the parents, what is the big deal? BTW - I assume this is RFID. There is no "scope" that lets anyone track the kids from room to room. What it can do is set off an alarm if the kid enters/leaves certain areas. Looks like a very harmless safety device to me. And bad Jim... I agree. But this isn't then, and the ratio of bad people doing bad things has either climbed, or we have become better at reporting it. Either way, parents have a right to be concerned.

    lonestar, I would like to think that some of the teachers m ight have stood up and said "no", but you're probably right.

    You still do not understand do you? the system is becoming a third world idea of right and wrong this system will become hispanic in all things and all ideals, it is called Conquest in Culture, and yes if someone did that to your kids you would be mad as hell, but the parents did not react like you because the kinds and the parents do not see this world like you do. In other words be happy we all made it this way.

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 07:58:19 AM EST
    But this isn't then, and the ratio of bad people doing bad things has either climbed, or we have become better at reporting it
    Good question. I lean more towards the latter...better (or perhaps overblown) reporting. There have always been pedophiles, kidnappers, and killers. However, they weren't always the lead story of the nightly news, headline stories in the papers, and plastered all over the internet. The paranoia of parents today, I feel, is unfounded. Laci Peterson, Ramsey...our morbid fascination with tragedy perplexes me. I'd bet a kid has a better chance of being struck by lightning than being abducted. Let them breathe, let them play, let them learn a little about life through good ol' trial and error.

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#13)
    by desertswine on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 08:00:24 AM EST
    Even before September 11, lots of people demonstrated surprising amounts of fear, most notably concerning their children.
    Nicely put bad jim. There isn't anything we're not afraid of anymore, and it's this fear that keeps us running (mostly in the wrong directions).

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#14)
    by DonS on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 08:00:44 AM EST
    "Given that the badges are worn with the permission of the parents, what is the big deal? " PPJ, is there any invasion of privacy you will not find acceptable in the name of, what, "security"? Most parents don't pay enough attention to what is going on with their kids already. Why would this be any different? Encroachments into privacy started in a "voluntary" way, well, you may be able to imagine; slippery slope; foot in the door. Choose your metaphor. Why not come on over and join the side of defending one's privacy.Used to be that was a conservative virtue, as well as a civil libertarian one.

    I think this is like the invisible fence device for dogs that goes off when they try to leave the premises, or even getting your hand stamped at Chuck E Cheese Pizza to match with your kids. That doesn't bother me. I'm more worried about the slippery slope than I am about this.

    It's not so bad, I think. The badges require a reader, and even then the kids have to be in very close proximity to it. Also, how is this any different than what most companies do with tracking its employees via ID badges? I see the potential for a 1984 scenario, but if this is only used to track attendence, what's the big deal? Once again, it's not like it can be used outside of a very close proximity to the readers above the classroom doors...

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#17)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 08:48:20 AM EST
    If it's not a big deal, then do away with it. I agree that the slippery slope is the most troubling aspect (can implanted computer chips be far behind?), but not the only aspect to dislike. I have a problem with indoctrinating children at a young age that it's ok for authority figures to electronically track them. When they grow up, they will have no concept of true freedom. Regarding attendance, what's wrong with the the teacher saying "John Smith" and John Smith saying "Present"? It's worked well for hundreds of years. The most technologically advanced option is not always the best option.

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#18)
    by kipling on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 09:01:48 AM EST
    Similar devices have recently been used to monitor youngsters in some parts of Japan.
    Yes, but not at the behest of a school. This was private (parental) choice).

    The road to fascism begins one step at a time.

    I don't see what the problem is, here, honestly. Schools ought to know the location of students while they are under their care. Using RF transmitters to assist this doesn't seem particularly intrusive. Particularly if it is done with parental permission -- there simply is no expectation of privacy that is being violated, since children in school have no legitimate privacy right to conceal their location from the people whose care they are under. Now, if it was mandatory, and applied outside of the time they were under the care of the school, that would be intrusive and inappropriate. I certainly don't see what "civil liberties" TL imagines the school is taking away with this.

    Ern at 09:10 AM
    The badges require a reader, and even then the kids have to be in very close proximity to it.
    Yes. Just like the bar coded can of peas that the checker scans at the supermarket.
    Also, how is this any different than what most companies do with tracking its employees via ID badges?
    I have had Employee ID's, including one with clearance to work on an Air Force Base. Not once ever has the security guard scanned me as I enter and exit the building to track my whereabouts. Below is the company's website blurb:
    InCom Corporation is the exclusive developer and manufacturer of the InClass™ attendance taking, reporting and security system. The Company's founders have extensive teaching, educational technology and network administration experience. The Company has developed the first complete RFID based system for taking, recording and reporting attendance in schools. We look forward to working with schools across the country to install the InClass™ system and liberate staff and teacher time in the process
    Have teachers complained that they don't have time to take attendance? If they're not selling it for security purposes but for tracking attendance, it sounds like from comments above that the slippery slope has already started with reactionary, fear-mongering comments such as PPJ's:
    this isn't then, and the ratio of bad people doing bad things has either climbed, or we have become better at reporting it. Either way, parents have a right to be concerned
    Oh. And the answer is not either more bad things are happening to kids OR better reporting. It's a shift from the top stories being judged by their relevance to the audience to the top news being the most violent and titillating stories. I don't have time to go dig up the vast amount of proof supporting this. Just believe it or do the research yourself. As the mother of a five-year-old, my heart wishes at times that I could implant just a little chip under his skin that could be activated to GPS track him in case of abduction, etc. If a school system wants to have ID badges, fine. But I would rather they know personally who he is and if he is there or not - especially his teachers. Several aspects of this trouble me deeply. The first is that kids cannot vote and therefore have no say in this matter. The second is that parents have no say. A letter from the School Department's Legal Counsel states to a parent who objects:
    Your complaint will be considered by the District Board of Trustees in a special closed [my emph]session...You are invited to attend [and] bring an attorney if you wish. We ask at the bare minimum that you allow your student to continue participating in the test at least until then. If not, please understand that failure to follow the school's rules governing the test could lead to your child being disciplined.
    It's one thing for me to (want to)track my own kid - another for someone in a position of governmental authority to decide they're going to be tracked with or without my permission and punished for non-compliance. Last, who does this company report attendence, etc. to. The parents? the police? Social Services? Homeland security? Does the Patriot Act allow the government access to my child's RFID info? 2004 is making "1984" look like a Jane Austen novel.

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#22)
    by desertswine on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 09:17:25 AM EST
    Transponders beneath the skin is the next logical step. They're already being used to track cattle and zoo animals.

    cmdicely writes:
    Now, if it was mandatory
    Read my comment above. It is. Any response?

    Perhaps they want to track the children for the rare occurence of one of them being abducted. If it is however a badge that is visible then the abductor could easily remove it. I think there is a perception of danger to our children. This danger is very slight. I'm not sure about tracking people, but if you aren't doing anything wrong you shouldn't be worried. This is probably a bad precedent in that they will try to track more people in the future...

    And then the prison with invisible fences and explosive collars...

    The problem is not so much what is happening now, per se, but what will happen later when children treated like chattel in this way grow up. Imagine a future where you are old and enfeebled by age or illness...and having to face the product of this kind of humiliating 'education' in the value of rights (namely, they have none, because they've been taught those rights can overturned at a bureaucrat's whim). Imagine that your continued survival depends upon the goodwill of someone you callously allowed to be so humiliated. Someone whom you taught rights were fictions. Now he has the power over you. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. - Proverbs 22:6 Train them up in fascism, and don't be surprised at what you will receive in turn...

    PPJ (aka Jim) says: "Given that the badges are worn with the permission of the parents, what is the big deal?" Read the article. This was not done with permission and is being continued over parental objections.
    The system was imposed, without parental input, by the school as a way to simplify attendance-taking and potentially reduce vandalism and improve student safety. Principal Earnie Graham hopes to eventually add bar codes to the existing ID's so that students can use them to pay for cafeteria meals and check out library books. [...] Graham, who also serves as the superintendent of the single-school district, told the parents that their children could be disciplined for boycotting the badges - and that he doesn't understand what all their angst is about.
    Mfox makes this same point but it's worth repeating: this is not a voluntary program and it's not "just" attendance, they plan to expand it.

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#28)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 10:24:59 AM EST
    And then the prison with invisible fences and explosive collars...
    Mr. Magenta, is that you? Nothing better at 2:00 AM than a bad Rutger Hauer movie!

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#29)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 10:30:09 AM EST
    Great post nemo.

    LoL For all my progressive views, I love Rutger Hauer movies! kdog, did I misunderstand your reference to Mr. Magenta? Isn't that from The Usual Suspects? Thank you Nemo and John McKay for reiterating and elaborating on a very important point. PPJ....we're waiting : )

    Jim, Could you spare a moment of your time to define for me what characteristics you consider to be indicative of being a "social liberal". I have often heard you use this phrase to describe your politics, but your comments on this thread (and others) lead me to conclude that my understanding of the term "social liberal" (as used by you) needs clarification. Thanks Ian

    Ian, it's simple. Have you ever heard of a term called doublespeak??

    DonS - Children have no expectation of privacy. This is just a simple safety device and you folks are into the "aint it awful" mode. John J McKay - No, the badges are being worn with the parents permission. They can remove their children anytime they desire. kdog - How many children do you have? et al - Why not just fire the principal and recall the Supt.?

    There is a great post on a similar case over at Bruce Schneier(security guru)'s blog. Basically, a useless system, because anyone wanting to kidnap a child would simply do it someplace other than school. Be sure to read the whole thing, but his conclusion at the end is important for understanding wacky security measures:
    In Beyond Fear, I talk about the notion of agenda. The five-step process is a subjective one, and should be evaluated from the point of view of the person making the trade-off decision. If you imagine that the school officials are making the trade-off, then the system suddenly makes sense. If a kidnapping occurs on school property, the subsequent investigation could easily hurt school officials. They could even lose their jobs. If you view this security countermeasure as one protecting them just as much as it protects children, it suddenly makes more sense. The trade-off might not be worth it in general, but it’s worth it to them.


    And then the prison with invisible fences and explosive collars... I thought this was a reference to The Running Man - a bad Gropenfuhrer movie. Posted by PPJ (aka Jim) at February 11, 2005 12:22 PM No, the badges are being worn with the parents permission. They can remove their children anytime they desire. Remove them to where? Isn't this a public, and not a private, school? What if they can't afford to move their children to another school? Maybe they should move to another area of the state then? This link shows no other elementary or middle schools in the district. (No high schools, either - what's up with that?)

    PPJ wrote: Children have no expectation of privacy. That's a load of crap. Where in the Constitution are you finding this supposed "under 18" exception to the Fourth Amendment? This is just a simple safety device and you folks are into the "aint it awful" mode. That's another load of crap. This does absolutely nothing for kids' "safety." It's sole purpose is tracking a child's every move throughout the school. No, the badges are being worn with the parents permission. They can remove their children anytime they desire. PPJ, please RTFP (read the friggin' post)! That is not true and won't become true just because you keep saying so. There is no "scope" that lets anyone track the kids from room to room. Again, PPJ, please RTFP! Each student is required to wear identification cards around their necks with their picture, name and grade and a wireless transmitter that beams their ID number to a teacher's handheld computer when the child passes under an antenna posted above a classroom door. Graham also asked to have a chip reader installed in locker room bathrooms to reduce vandalism, although that reader is not functional yet. How clear does it have to be? That said, I don't have a problem with a school requiring its students to carry ID or to use their ID as a school library card. I can even see requiring them to keep the ID visible in certain cases (e.g., if the school has had problems with non-students hanging around the campus). But I do have a problem with this. I hope the ACLU and the parents sue.

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#38)
    by pigwiggle on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 12:25:07 PM EST
    mfox- “It's one thing for me to (want to)track my own kid - another for someone in a position of governmental authority to decide they're going to be tracked with or without my permission and punished for non-compliance.” But you have a choice, send your kid to private school. What, don’t want to pay for school twice; once through taxes and second directly? Reused in Reservoir Dogs .?

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#39)
    by pigwiggle on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 12:29:47 PM EST
    “Children have no expectation of privacy.” Children are essentially insane until the age of 15 –20. They usually can’t provide for themselves let alone make enough rational decisions to live through an entire week unsupervised. Just as we cannot expect to hold children culpable for criminal acts we cannot be expected to give them all the rights of a full person.

    Posted by Ern at February 11, 2005 09:10 AM "...proximity to the readers above the classroom doors..." the frequencies of the badges could be passed to a reader with a wider range; by whose authority? and for what purposes? i don't think it’s financially feasible to uproot every time a bureaucrat does something stupid. and this is just one guy, we have truly turned into sheeple.

    pigwiggle at February 11, 2005 01:29 PM Just as we cannot expect to hold children culpable for criminal acts we cannot be expected to give them all the rights of a full person. i'll lob you one... i could be wrong, but that sounds contradictory to some of your other positions concerning youth, the LA incident is it that doublespeak thing.

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#42)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 12:58:22 PM EST
    Just as we cannot expect to hold children culpable for criminal acts we cannot be expected to give them all the rights of a full person
    Society should make up its collective friggin' mind on this issue. Some 15-17 yr. olds accused of crimes are charged as adults, but they can't buy a beer or cigs, or vote...18 yr. olds can buy smokes and vote, but still no beer. Is a little consistency too much to ask? It seems their status (adult or child) changes on a whim when it suits adult society's pet peeve of the week. Not cool.

    The movie was "Wedlock", Rutger Hauer and Mimi Rogers.

    cmdicely writes: Now, if it was mandatory Read my comment above. It is. Any response?
    I'll respond with what I originally said that you changed the meaning of by clipping midsentence (with emphasis to the key part you clipped): Now, if it was mandatory, and applied outside of the time they were under the care of the school, that would be intrusive and inappropriate. Unless it is both mandatory and applied outside of the time the students are in the care of the school, I see no legitimate basis for a complaint that there is a violation of civil liberties; this is not, I should emphasize, the same as saying it is necessarily good policy, or that parents shouldn't object to it on policy grounds. But there is absolutely no right or liberty for children to conceal their location from school officials when they are in the care of those officials, so there is absolutely no right or liberty being infringed here.

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#45)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 01:24:06 PM EST
    I was right, the Hauer flick! Do I get a cigar? ytterby, you get the obscure reference of the week award. P.S...I see you also watch Cinemax at 2:00 am.

    But I do have a problem with this. I hope the ACLU and the parents sue.
    On what legal basis? What statute, Constitutional provision, or common law protection is being violated here?

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#47)
    by pigwiggle on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 01:29:04 PM EST
    “i could be wrong, but that sounds contradictory to some of your other positions concerning youth, the LA incident is it that doublespeak thing.” It is a judge and jury’s responsibility to decide criminal culpability, not the police. Assuming the officer really did act in self-defense, as was the premise of my postings on the subject, speaking of criminal culpability makes little sense. Would we talk about criminal culpability if the child had died by jumped off a cliff, overdosing on drugs, or had instead driven into a building?

    From an earlier story from New Jersey: "We're fortunate to live in a small, safe town. But in this day and age, you can't take safety for granted," said Arzt, a substitute teacher taking part in the study. That and many more in my Privacy category.

    pigwiggle at February 11, 2005 02:29 PM i have you confused with someone else, that makes me wrong. bet you thought i could'nt say that.

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#50)
    by Che's Lounge on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 02:36:43 PM EST
    When I was a kid sometimes we would build forts out in the woods or some empty parcel of land. One in particular was great. Comnpletely concealed in the woods and a secret only shared between me and my two closest friends who helped build it. We would hang out there, hidden away from chores and bratty sisters. What would that do to a kid's head to know that they are under constant surveillance every day of their life? Is that what we want to become?

    There seem to be two negative arguments being mixed here: 1) This policy is a bad policy that has the potential for undesirable results in terms of socialization of children. I'm not sure I agree with that, but a reasonable case can probably be made. 2) This policy is an unlawful (unconstitutional?) intrusion on civil liberties. I can see no real argument offered or available for this.

    Mathwiz - That was 159.887679% personal belief. Why should a 12 year child, whose education is not complete, whose value system is not formed be given 100% privacy? They neither need it or deserve it. Don't we owe our children protection? Che - I was too busy walking to school by myself before sunrise, and home after dark, barefoot in the snow, and it was uphill both ways...to "play." But these are not worn outside school, so what does either of our comments have to do with it?

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#53)
    by pigwiggle on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 03:43:33 PM EST
    It would be more fun watching all you big-government types twist over these inevitabilities if it wasn’t costing me so much. Keep sowing those fields…

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#54)
    by Che's Lounge on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 05:31:22 PM EST
    Jim, I'm looking at the logical extensions.

    Great post - great comments! "Oldman" on BOPnews.com wrote a piece about similar technology and what it means last fall. The discussion in comments accompanying the piece was fascinating: http://www.bopnews.com/archives/002457.html

    We all need to wake up and see this for what it is! VeriCorp is already marketing [heavily] in Florida to implant RFID chips in children, the product name is "VeriKid". They are marketing to have children implanted - in case they get abducted - which is a very, very small chance, contrary to what we see on the news. [Someone made a brilliant comment about how the incidents have not actually gone up, it's the change in what stories these "news" organizations *choose* to run, which is of course whatever will help their ratings: violence, abduction, sex crimes, terrorism]... VeriCorp is also heavily marketing in FL [it was on local news earlier this week] that they ALREADY HAVE GPS ENABLED CHIPS. This version will keep a list of all of your possessions, so in case you get ripped off, somehow they can help you recover your posessions [??]. Someone mentioned this being sort of like the 'invisible fence'? Gotcha Child Tracking System And ADS [maker of VeriChips] as I mentioned already have GPS enabled chips... they are alternatively touted to be able to hold ALL your medical information, credit history/account info [cashless], and now a list of your property... I agree - this is a slippery slope and gravity is starting to win... The US Dept of Housing started a prgram in '04 that MANDATORILY implanted homeless in SF, LA, DC & Bethlehem PA. They have *already* installed these 'reader' devices in these cities... under the auspice of "..so we can bring them food and warm clothing." Give me a break! What a load of government double-speak for "we want to implant the most vulnerable and voiceless in society to see if it works first, then we'll find a way to get everyone else chipped"... gee, guess who is next? Could it be the children???? FEAR is the weapon of choice and the government and media are laying it on thick, people! Don't believe their hype! I for one, will *not* let my child be chipped or myself. I will supervise and be a good parent. There are *always* risks in life - that is just part of life, and guess what? No legislation or bit of technology is going to eliminate those risks!!! The real question is what are we going to do about it? Will we all lay down and acquiesce for the sake of convenience and ease, because it doesn't affect us? Will we all pretend it's 'no big deal' because it's just one tiny step at a time, incrementally taking away our rights and liberties in exchange for 'security' and 'safety'??

    Chechito, On this subject I am 100% with you. During my childhood, me & my buddies loved to get lost in the woods, catch crawfish at the brook, etc. without having BIG NANNY looking over my shoulder. This constant monitoring of our children for the sake of "security", will only breed a generation of self-doubting automatons.

    Look, I wasn't trying to ruffle any feathers with my previous comment, but some of you have really great imaginations. I'm as anti-draconian-laws-and-stupid-government-policy as the next guy, but all I saw was that it's very quick way, using technology, saying if your kid is in the classroom s/he is supposed to be in. Let's be realistic; these kids aren't being tracked everywhere-everywhere, their banking information or something isn't being put out to steal, and it's not like they can't take the badges off or pass them off to friends to hold anyway. Some admin. probably got tired of hearing some dumbass kid go "president" after his name was called. =P I agree that a much simpler and fool-proof way is the old-fashioned way, but if we did everything the old-fashioned way, we'd all be riding horse-drawn carriages to work everyday. Even my university used a sort of scannable ID for things like computer usage and food plan debits. As for those of us who have scannable IDs and are not being scanned...um, that's your company's misfailing. My company has secrets that it doesn't need leaked (not sure about the Airforce, mfox), so it likes to make sure we're not somewhere we're not cleared for. But still, no scanner to get into the john, or in my car, so once I'm outside of the office, only paranoia would make me be concerned about being tracked.

    if we think this RFID crap is going to stop here, we are hopelessly naive. This is just one of the first steps...along with the black boxes in our cars

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#60)
    by wishful on Sat Feb 12, 2005 at 07:03:28 PM EST
    This concept and its progeny are degrading. I am opposed to our government practicing degradation on our children (or our adults, but that is not the issue here).

    When urine drug testing was first developed, it was used against the grunts in the 'Nam, to make sure those who might be addicted to hard drugs didn't bring their addictions back to 'The World'. (The reason for this was largely a political move on the part of Tricky Dick to seem 'tough on drugs'.) At the time, the only persons affected by this were the soldiers. Now this testing has branched out into a major business that has inserted its' tentacles into all facets of American life. (Again, mainly for political reasons having bloody little to do with actual public health concerns, or the more common tests would be including alcohol and nicotine metabolites. But as we've seen with the Weyco company controversy, it's getting to that point.) Technology placed in the hands of governing bodies of any sort inevitably gets used against the vast majority of those not originally affected by the need for it. History shows this time and again, and those who pooh-pooh civil liberties concerns usually are crying the blues later when it turns around and bites them where they sit. Many tobacco smokers cheered when drug testing came out; take that, you nasty druggies! Now their own vice may become a target of the morality police. So...the kids get hit with this today, and some here will shrug and smile smugly, thinking themselves safe. But you can count on it that some derivation of this will someday affect you tomorrow.

    Re: School Tracks Kids Via Badges and Radio Freque (none / 0) (#63)
    by kdog on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 09:43:08 AM EST
    Bottom line, we shouldn't treat impressionable children like a can of peas moving down the conveyor at the supermarket. John Smith....BEEP!....Katie Jones....BEEP!....Suzie Smalls....BEEP! Is this really what you want your kids' education to be like?