by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
A school district in Rhode Island has announced that it is implementing a pilot program to monitor student movements by means of radio frequency identification (RFID) chips implanted in their schoolbags.
How long until they will be implanted in the child him- or herself? Not long, I should think.
The Middletown School District, in partnership with MAP Information Technology Corp., has launched a pilot program to implant RFID chips into the schoolbags of 80 children at the Aquidneck School. Each chip would be programmed with a student identification number, and would be read by an external device installed in one of two school buses. The buses would also be fitted with global positioning system (GPS) devices.
Parents or school officials could log onto a school web site to see whether and when specific children had entered or exited which bus, and to look up the bus's current location as provided by the GPS device.
And in due course the chip implanted in the child's schoolbag or under his or her skin will also have a transponder, I am sure, that will make it possible to global position the location of the child as and when he or she has left the school bus even. Great – NOT!
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has criticized the plan as an invasion of children's privacy and a potential risk to their safety.
Because the pilot program is being provided to the school district at no cost, it did not require approval from the Rhode Island ethics commission.
M Smith (Veshengro), June 2008