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Technology Review
Japanese Schools Use Computer Chips to Keep Tabs on Children

TOKYO (AP) - Cutting class just got harder but schools are safer thanks to computer chips that help track students, Japanese officials say.

Some schools here this month began trial runs in which students carry chips that have tiny antennae and can be traced by radio, with some of the kids attaching the tags to their backpacks.

The chips send signals to receivers at school gates. A computer in the system shows when a student enters or leaves.

School officials say rising concerns about student safety prompted the idea.

But student safety is still MUCH better than the rest of the world. Elementary school first graders still take public transportation to school by themselves. I think tagging is a bit over the top.
"And the kids love it - they think it's cool," he added.
Yeah. Right...

And when are they going to start tagging everyone else...

via Smart Mobs


Since the chips are attached to backpacks, I imagine it would be pretty easy for kids to mess with the system by trading backpacks on a regular basis, or maybe removing the tags and attaching them to stray dogs.
Pretty easy for abductors as well.

to late joichi, people are already being tagged all over the world, for crime, for payments in clubs and for collecting waste and i'm not even talking about the fact that you can be traced by using a mobile phone!

>> "And the kids love it - they think it's cool," he added.

> Yeah. Right...

Sure! Now they have something their parents and teachers can rely on to BELIEVE that they are safe at school. I have left high-school 20 years ago, but already a few ways of beating the system crossed my mind, and I'm sure the kids will invent a few...

This is just the precursor to worse later. Constant video surveillance, and now constant tracking of school children acclimatizes entire generations to the idea that there is no privacy.

The kids who have grown up with video cameras in every hall, random and complete backpack and searches, and RFIDs on everyone will become adults who are accustomed to it.

Pretty convenient - everyone gives their chips to one kid in rotation who has to go to class.

I look forward to moving back to Japan some day and finding that they've decided to put an RFID in every gaikokujintouroku card... :)

Journalists (and we the public) have to be a little more critical about evaluating technology stories. It isn't really explained to us exactly why this was actually done.

I personally find it hard to believe that there is a concrete concern with child safety in Japan that can be resolved using this technology. I may be wrong, but I don't think there is. I just can't believe that there's the level of abduction, class-cutting, theft, use of weapons or violent defiance of authority in Japanese schools that would merit this sort of technology investment.

This project looks technology-driven rather than need-driven.

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