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Japan: Schoolkids to be tagged with RFID chips

Japanese authorities decide tracking is best way to protect kids

The rights and wrongs of RFID-chipping human beings have been debated since the tracking tags reached the technological mainstream. Now, school authorities in the Japanese city of Osaka have decided the benefits outweigh the disadvantages and will now be chipping children in one primary school.

This reminds me of the lyrics to the Suicidal Tendencies song Institutionalized, "Wait, what do you mean, what are you talking about, we decided!? My best interest?! How can you know what's my best interest is? How can you say what my best interest is?"

I know people are going to scream "tin foil hat" at me again, but I really don't like the idea of tagging people and the idea of national ids. It really is a slippery slope which will always look rather innocent at the beginning but will lead to a stifling of freedoms and an ability to profile and control people. I believe this is true especially in Japan, there are not enough people who argue against the "oh it's going to just be so convenient" side of the argument.

Interestingly, the "oh so convenient" national ID card that I was protesting has only had a 0.2% uptake by the population in Japan so I guess if you give people a choice, they'd rather not waste their time, money and privacy.


There are daily abductions of schoolkids in Japan. Each day one or more schoolgirl is being abducted and abused, then released. Last week one girl twice called the police on an emergency channel and didn't get a response. She was killed. I hate to tag kids like they're cattle, but I would hate it more if something happened to my daughter here in Japan. There's a shitload of fucking pervs running around here. There's way too much schoolgirl sexual abuse, and who knows how much is not reported to the police? I would do anything to prevent something like that to happen to my daughter. The best solution is if the police would finally stop playing cleaning ladies and actually go out there and work on prevention, and the Japanese society would try to figure out why there's so much sexual frustration under its male population and fix it, I don't think chip tagging elementary and primary schoolkids is that bad an idea.

"will always look rather innocent at the beginning"
Only to the short-sighted who need to be awakened... ;)

Perhaps if instead of implanting chips, they put the chip on a big leather collar with spikes and put those on the kids. See how fast that picks up.

Ado: while you make an excellent point and I totally agree with you, I do think implanting a chip is "too far".

Barring taking action on such things, as you say, as bad policing, cultural sources of of these abductions etc, instead of chipping the kids, explain to them the situation and give em a wristband or watch with chip in it...

Once you break the skin, there is no going back... :(



Boris, they're not "implanting" a chip. They're tagging. The chips will be put onto kids' schoolbags, name tags or clothing. A big difference.

Ado: Ok. More acceptable. A shame it comes to this though...

Totally agree, Boris. The problem is far more structural and people are just trying to patch it instead of digging deeper and trying harder to determine the underlying causes of the violence and abuse that is happening to schoolkids.

One more illustrative example. A few months ago, a young schoolgirl (maybe 9) walked home with her friend. Her mother sees her down in the street coming to the house. Then she never gets into the house. Turns out a guy in the same apartment complex abducted her. Abused her and killed her.

Tags may have helped her as it would localize the poor kid far quicker.

But again, the society seems to be rotten and I wish goverment did much more about that, but it's run by old tards who limit themselves to sexist and moronic comments, then go sit on their spot in the Diet and nod off.

What they really need to do is give the police in Japan a serious kick in the ass. I don't know how they compare on a global scale to other police but Japanese police (specifically Tokyo) are among the most disgraceful I have seen. Mind you they don't invade homes and shoot innocent people in their sleep (ahem...US police) but they just sit on their behinds sleeping in the kobans. They manner in which some have responded to reports of crime is unbelievable.

Also, this country really needs to harsh up on these perverts who prey on children. Not only jail terms but perhaps something more serious. Japan as a whole has far too many repressed people who do not develop normally on an emotional level and quite often leads to this pedophilic behaviour. Girls also need to take a more aggressive stance against this. Girls cannot act passively and allow themselves to be kidnapped by these abductors. They need to be taught from a very young age that once they are taken out of sight it is over for them. What a sick world we live in.

Many complicated problems are out there. social, cultural issues, local community security or educational measures for preventing abductions and parents' choice ...

One of flaws this news coverage has is its ambiguity. What was decided by educational authority of Osaka city? It is very unclear.

They could recommend parents to use tracking tag for protecting their children if necessary. This is just one information service for parents' self-help. In this case, parents can choose what to do. It depends on their own decision. But if this policy had been adopted as one compulsory requirement for all school children, it could be one serious issue to be debated. I want to know what is exactly happening. I think the news source - maybe cnet news should be responsible to clarify this. If this is not clear yet, all other talks are out of point. 8-)

How is having their artifacts (bags, clothing, etc.) tagged keeping them from being abducted or raped? Does the evil doer have a net-enable chip reader they are gonna scan them with?

Makes the body easier to ID posthumously though.

You can locate the child based on the chip. If they get abducted, you'll be quick to locate where they are.

These kinds of kiddie-aps all rest on the underlying idea that children cannot be trusted or invested with any responsibility or rights. And make money by reinforcing parents(overwhelmingly misdirected) fears about the constant dangers their children face. I take your point Adriaan, but the sad sick truth is that when it comes to sexual and violent abuse children the world over are more at risk in their own homes than out on the streets. Tagging is never going to be more than a security blanket for those people who can afford to have faith in it. And if it is introduced society wide – do you really want your children to grow up constantly under surveillance? The psychological issues are horrific, let alone the Human Rights implications.

The in-school internet censorship in the UK is another example of this.
Every other week there’s a new product aimed at ‘protecting’ children from technologies which they’re actually more proficient with than the adults who are installing this s**t. Let’s be honest, what these technologies are really protecting are the schools from litigation.

Josie, I have no doubt that tagging with chips is not the best solution and it's even worse that we'd even have to come to consider shit like that. But unless someone offers a better solution, it's at most a reasonable alternative. I'm sure children may be more at risk at their own home, but that argument doesn't work for many parents. Certainly not in my case. If in some event my kid got missing and she's a very young girl that doesn't know her way around yet, being able to quickly pinpoint her, I think is a big help.
It is not an issue of trust or responsibility. If my kid got missing and there's no reason why she would be unreachable (i.e. by mobile) and given that she hasn't reached age 12 (at which you can assume some amount of rebellion and independence), then I'd rather be safe and verify she's ok.

If you got a better solution to protect kids, you should sound it out.

I don't know the details of the scheme, but it isn't exactly clear that this scheme would really work. I mean, you could use it to track attendance at classes, and you could use it to determine roughly who was in the building in an emergency, but it won't help you track kids down, and it probably won't greatly deter a determined abductor who has already gained access to the school. The whole system is utterly useless for tracking kids once they've left the school precincts. Also, the operation of the scheme would probably require changes to the building configuration to make it work (for example, high fences to stop kids jumping over walls on their way home).

It isn't clear what exactly the technology is supposed to achieve. The article says nothing about preventing child abductions.

This sounds like technology for the sake of a headline. As I say, I don't know the situation, but sometimes you hear about new, barely-tested technology being introduced as a substitute for managing the problem properly. This looks like such a situation, because it isn't even clear what they expect the system to achieve.

I'd put my faith in community based programmes (check out for a good example) and talking to my kid and practising what to do's before a computer chip which any determined pedo would target and remove first off.

I think it's a solution, don't get me wrong. But I think it's a solution to externalised parental anxiety and institutional responsibility first off.

In terms of this specific technology, I'm in complete agreement with Antonin and Hwi.

I don't want to fight about it, I just don't see it as a credible response to child abuse (the vast majority of which is nothing to do with 'stranger-danger').

The most apropos quote I can think of comes from the legendary Deckard, from Hampton Fancher's screenplay of "Bladerunner":

"Replicants are like any other machine - they're either a benefit or a hazard. If they're a benefit, it's not my problem."

I saw a report on NHK a while ago about the popularity of GPS (actually using CDMA cell towers instead of gps satellites) devices that security system companies here sell for kids to carry around so that their parents can track them (via their mobile phones). This seems like a more effective way to track kids rather than an RFID that can only confirm whether or not the kid is at school or another designated place.

The big problem with any of these systems is that it only works works well if the parents care about their kid and take steps to protect them.

Some more info about one of the systems:



I just want RFID on library books so I don't have to wait in a line as long as Disneyland's Space Mountain line to checkout a few movies. Many libraries have put in self-serve checkout machines by 3M only to watch people struggle with their awkwardness. I say down with barcodes and go RFID at the library! Who cares if someone "knows" I'm checking out Ferris Bueller's Day Off for the 3rd time....guess what? They already know!

Hey - here's something I can't possibly object to - chipping lawyers! They obviously are very careless with their legal staff down Mexico way.

it's starting the sing of the beast the anti christ.revolation in the bible the 666 the mark will be on your right hand or on your forehead think people we are not going to stop this.these chips will have our ssn# drivers license# credit card# bank accounts. we are not going to need cash to buy goods. with out this chip we wont be able to work or buy food.the new goverments are going to track all of us just like the bible say's.we are heading to a cashless society

I’m not saying anything about the last post other than WHAT KIND OF NEW THREAT DOES A CASHLESS CAPITALIST ECCONOMY IMPLY?

Have you guys seen this – this is actually worrying:
Immigrant tagging, tracking & voice recognition enabled by new Asylum Act

The chip is a solution in search of a problem. Mind telling me how a chip will stop a child hijacking? I'm sure a predator is going to say, OH WOW that kid has a CHIP and I better not STEAL HIM and RAPE HIM!

all they have to do is ask the KID if he is stolen, cmon.

There is a billion dollars to be made and they are trying to find a reason for it.

it will be put in effect and soon yo wont buy or sell without it.

that , is total control.

and those that dont want the chip will be killed.

talk about Nazi's

money is more important than a few dissentions.

if you give up your freedom this easy, you don't deserve it./

My relatives had a tattoo placed and a yellow star put on them just a few years BEFORE they were used. Seeing the tattoo on one of my uncles that survived, I vowed I will never be tattoed and numbered like they were. i will die first. There is a reason for this, and I know it is not school kids or sales gimmicks or wallmart rulership etc. it is nothing more than total control of the people. (later) now it is cute and kool, until everyone has it, then the power in charge will tell you what to wear where to speak and where to go. And the religious minorities will again be murdered in their beds, I mean comon, this has happened several times already, France, dark ages, china, india, Nazi germany, I mean this is what people DO, kill the minority that causes trouble.

no way will I take any mark. ever.
Sigh O nara.


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The main problem with RFID is remote hacking Read More

The alarm clock rings, and we hit the snooze button yet again... CNETAsia Japan: Schoolkids to be tagged with RFID chips Japanese authorities decide tracking is best way to protect kids The rights and wrongs of RFID-chipping human beings have... Read More

CNETAsia reports education authorities in Osaka, Japan will tag some young students with RFID chips. The tags will be read by readers installed in school gates and other key locations to track the kids' movements. advertisement The chips will be put on... Read More

RoboMacedo. from Alan Aspuru-Guzik
July 15, 2004 2:27 PM

My good friend Ivao sent me this link. Macedo, the guy that I recently quoted as a proponent of the death penalty in Mexico (a terrible mistake!) has an implanted microchip so our government can know his location in case he is kidnapped. Well, t... Read More

just before i ran away at the beginning of the week, this story broke, and it's gotten some serious legs [slashdot] since then. it seems that most of the news is about the japanese school kids [the register] that are... Read More

The alarm clock rings, and we hit the snooze button yet again... CNETAsia Japan: Schoolkids to be tagged with RFID chips Japanese authorities decide tracking is best way to protect kids The rights and wrongs of RFID-chipping human beings have... Read More

CNETAsia reports education authorities in Osaka, Japan decided to tag some young students with RFID chips. The tags will be read by readers installed in school gates and other key locations to track the kids' movements. The chips will be put onto kids'... Read More

CNETAsia reports education authorities in Osaka, Japan, decided to tag some young students with RFID chips. The tags will be read by readers installed in school gates and other key locations to track the kids' movements. The chips will be put onto kids... Read More