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Chipping Pre-School Kids in the USA

September 3, 2010

ACLU is reporting that nursery schools kids in Richmond, California are being issued with jerseys embedded with RFID chips. GPS-enabled and/or RFID-chipped clothing has been available for a while now, and there have also been (pre-)schools in other countries that have issued tracking devices to kids, notably in Yokohama in Japan, but this appears to be the first time in the USA. RFID is a very simple, insecure technology, and this type of initiative gives a false sense of security and is about at once raising and appeasing social anxiety and parental paranoia about the incredibly rare instances of child kidnapping. ACLU note correctly that this is just likely to make stalking and kidnapping easier as harder, but really all this does is enable the school to know where the jersey is – like left on the back of a bus, swapped with a friend or thrown in a ditch. It’s more pointless security theater, but at a more intimate level than the kind we are used to at airports and public buildings.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. David permalink*
    September 21, 2010 5:52 pm

    As an addition to this, there was a story in The Guardian just after this, concerning a creche in Paris that was proposing to do much the same. I suspect that somewhere behind this is a company making RFID-tagged clothing with a very effective line in marketing, making a lot of money…

  2. December 4, 2010 12:26 am

    Yep, there’s more and more of this sort of information coming to light – definately a growing trend and force to be reckoned with. I’ve posted some PDF case studies on my blog, which may be of interest. There are three files, (all optimized for swift download) and from memory I think it’s the second file that details a big student RFID tagging programme in Texas. Really staggering stuff! Anyway, you should be able to navigate to the relevant story through this link: http://trackandshield.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/some-useful-case-studies-at-rfid-protect/

    Good luck

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