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    Archive for the ‘RFID’ Category

    Update: More on Electronic Tracking of Students in Texas

    Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

    We’ve discussed before the use of technology to track students. In March, it was reported that a northeastern Brazilian city had issued RFID-enabled school uniforms to track grade-school students. A couple of years ago, there was a report on a pilot program for the RFID-enabled  “BostONEcard,” which will be used to take attendance for Boston public school students and “to make it easier for some public school students to use city services by providing them with one card they can use to ride the MBTA, withdraw books from city libraries, play sports, attend after-school programs at community centers, and access meal programs at their schools.” Also, the San Francisco Chronicle had an editorial about the use of an RFID system to track children’s attendance in a head start program. There also were reports of colleges using wireless ID technology, as well.

    Now, the San Antonio Express-News reports on the use and expansion of RFID tracking technology to keep tabs on students in the Spring and Santa Fe school districts in Texas:

    Radio frequency identification — the same technology used to monitor cattle — is tracking students in the Spring and Santa Fe school districts. Read more »

    Financial Times: Europe set for ‘smart tag’ privacy code

    Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

    The Financial Times reports on a new privacy proposal in Europe designed to protect consumers who buy products with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology tags attached. (RFID systems transmit data wirelessly from a chip or tag to a reader.) It has been proven time and again that unsecured RFID tags can be scanned and the data gathered with cheap, off-the-shelf technology. Some states have laws that would protect such data. For example, Washington state has a law to prevent “skimming” (unauthorized gathering of data from RFID tags).

    Now, the Financial Times reports:

    European regulators and industry organisations have agreed to establish a voluntary code to protect consumers’ privacy when they buy or use products carrying ‘smart tags’. Read more »

    Happy Data Privacy Day 2011!

    Friday, January 28th, 2011

    January 28 is Data Privacy Day. Take the time to think about how privacy is important in your life and how you can protect your rights from being infringed upon. Please also take the time to donate to any number of organizations out there trying to protect your privacy rights.

    Visit the official site to find events near your area. Here are a few highlights in the United States and internationally:

    New York
    On Friday, January 28, 2011, the Institute for Information Law & Policy at New York Law School is planning “Whose Data Is It Anyway?” a Data Privacy Day Event which will feature Professors James Grimmelman, Dan Hunter, and Andrew Lupu, who will engage with students in an intellectual game modeled off of the British television show “Whose Line is it Anyway.” The game portion of the event will be followed by a Q&A. Time and Location: 2:30 – 5pm, Events Center W201, New York Law School. Read more »

    Boston Globe: New student card: Big benefit or Big Brother?

    Thursday, October 28th, 2010

    The Boston Globe reports on a pilot program for the RFID-enabled  “BostONEcard,” which will be used to take attendance for public school students and “to make it easier for some public school students to use city services by providing them with one card they can use to ride the MBTA, withdraw books from city libraries, play sports, attend after-school programs at community centers, and access meal programs at their schools.” (Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology transmits data wirelessly from a chip or tag to a reader.)

    This is the latest program that uses technology to track students. Earlier this year, Northern Arizona University announced plans to use wireless ID card reader technology to track student attendance. A few weeks ago, the Houston Chronicle reported that two school districts in Texas (the Spring and Santa Fe school districts) are using RFID badges to track kids. In September, the San Francisco Chronicle had an editorial about the use of an RFID system to track children’s attendance in a head start program.

    The Boston Globe reports:

    This program is starting at the Josiah Quincy Upper School in Chinatown, where all 530 students in grades 6 through 12 are being provided a card, which has multiple barcodes, a radio frequency device to use on the T, and their photos. The city will evaluate the program at the end of the academic year and consider expanding it next year to all Boston Public School students in middle school and high school. Read more »

    Houston Chronicle: Tracking devices used in school badges

    Monday, October 18th, 2010

    Earlier this year, Northern Arizona University announced plans to use wireless ID card reader technology — the description sounds like radio frequency identification (RFID) technology — to track student attendance in classes, and I discussed my objections.

    Those were college students. Now, the Houston Chronicle reports that two school districts in Texas (the Spring and Santa Fe school districts) are using RFID badges to track kids.

    Identification badges for some students in both school districts now include tracking devices that allow campus administrators to keep tabs on students’ whereabouts on campus. School leaders say the devices improve security and increase attendance rates. [...]

    But some parents and privacy advocates question whether the technology could have unintended consequences. The tags remind them of George Orwell’s Big Brother, and they worry that hackers could figure a way to track students after they leave school. Identity theft and stalking could become serious concerns, some said. [...] Read more »

    Op-Ed at San Francisco Chronicle: Misguided use of microchip technology

    Friday, September 17th, 2010

    The San Francisco Chronicle has an editorial about the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to track children’s attendance in a head start program. (RFID systems transmit data wirelessly from a chip or tag to a reader.)

    Officials with Contra Costa County’s Head Start program were frustrated. In order to meet federal requirements, they had to take attendance every hour. These and other administrative tasks were taking up a lot of teachers’ time – between one and three hours a day per teacher – and using up a lot of the program’s limited funds. [...]

    But we can’t support what those officials did next, which was to implement a microchip tracking program for those very young children.

    The child-tracking initiative is called Child Location, Observation and Utilization Data System (CLOUDS). This summer, the first part of the system was installed at the George Miller III Center in Richmond, which provides free or reduced-cost child care under the federal Head Start program. About 200 students between the ages of 3 and 5 were assigned basketball jerseys that were embedded with the electronic locator chips. The idea is that the tracking devices are a quick way to take attendance. They also send signals to administrators whenever a child strays out of his or her assigned area. [...]

    But Contra Costa officials also should have done their homework on the history of these devices in California – and about the very real privacy and safety concerns that they’ve created. Read more »