Pre-school students at California's Contra Costa County have reportedly been issued with shirts tagged with individual RFID chips, so that their location can be monitored at all times.
It's not surprising that Silicon Valley has been one of the first areas to try this out. No-one is more paranoid about child danger than the US and the high-tech approach will make sure that no-one goes missing, or at the least will let the authorities know when or where it happened.
But however powerful the "think of the children" argument is there are wider issues at stake. The EFF is rather concerned about the situation.
"If readings are taken often enough, you could create an extraordinarily detailed portrait of a child's school day -- one that's easy to imagine being misused, particularly as the chips substitute for direct adult monitoring and judgement," it blogged.
"If RFID records show a child moving around a lot, could she be tagged as hyper-active? If he doesn't move around a lot, could he get a reputation for laziness? How long will this data and the conclusions rightly or wrongly drawn from it be stored in these children's school records?"
Sleuth is split on this one. While RFID tags on pets seem like an admirable solution there's something that feels wrong about putting them on people. It's unlikely that the tagged shirts would stop an attack, but they might provide some help. We shall see how this fares with parents.
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