Chipping Children

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From the Times this morning:

Children are being tracked by micro-chips embedded in their uniforms in a trial at a secondary school.

The devices are used to monitor pupils’ movements and register their arrival in class on the teacher’s computer. Supply teachers can also be alerted if a student is likely to misbehave.

The chip connects with teachers’ computers to show a photograph of the pupil, data about academic performance and whether he or she is in the correct classroom.

It chimes unpleasantly with a similar story a couple of months ago:

A school uniform maker said yesterday it was “seriously considering” adding tracking devices to its clothes after a survey found many parents would be interested in knowing where their offspring were.

Trutex would not say whether it was studying a spy in the waistband or a bug in the blazer but admitted teenagers were less keen than younger children on the “big brother” idea.

Initially we had dismissed this as a silly-season filler, but a phone call to Trutex’s PR company confirmed that Trutex were ‘actively exploring’ making this nightmare a reality.

We’re not surprised that older pupils weren’t so keen. Presumably they are rather more aware of how easy it is to turn a pupil into a prisoner.

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41 Responses to Chipping Children

  1. Crudely Wrott says:

    We ar en yer cloz
    Lerkin on yu

  2. Amnistar says:

    I find the idea both bad and good. As someone that has been a teacher, I would love for an easy way to see where students that are skipping classes are located, after all, they are legally required to attend class, and failure to do so if breaking the law, but then at the same time, it would be a very creepy first step towards everyone getting a chip embedded in them with information and such…

  3. archrights says:

    @Amnistar: There isn’t a criminal offence of failing to attend lessons – or even of truancy! the only possible offence is committed by parents under s444 of the 96 Education Act of failure to ensure a child’s regular attendance.

    I think a hard look at the education system to see why so many children are so turned-off is long overdue, and infinitely more helpful than this kind of coercion. You can lead a horse to water etc. and while keeping a child’s bum on a seat may meet attendance targets, it has little to do with educating them.

  4. piromas says:

    Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!

  5. Mr. Gunn says:

    this is great, it means that you can now skip class easier

  6. nuttystuff says:

    wait so if they track the children, the parents would have to carry some kind of device with them all day as well, isn’t that a little too…. I don’t know, stalker-ish?

  7. slowdecline says:

    Orwell’s 1984 comes to mind when I read stories like these very frightening to read.

  8. hope says:

    What a good way of keeping track of jackets
    will they force them to wear them in the summer?

    or will children just swop them for a laugh!

  9. alaskanbeader says:

    Chirping children is creepy, I agree. But as an educator, or an employer, what if the tracking only extended to basically the limits of the school’s jurisdiction, — essentially that the signal was only strong enough to track the student on the “campus proper.”
    While the concept of tracking humans in general disturbs the daylights out of me, once they decide to do it, — I propose the populace of those that care be ready with some thought out “limits.”

  10. robertroels says:

    We as humans have lived since the beginning of time without the benefit of tracking devices, and have survived very trying and violent periods in history.

    To promote this and eventually make them mandatory is an affront to the Constitution of the United States and an insult to humanity and liberty.

    Provide protection for the children if needed. Big brother go home.

  11. Waldo says:

    All right, kids, everyone swap uniforms. That’ll confuse ‘em!

  12. Kyle Gordon says:

    @robertroels: Welcome to the UK. Enjoy your stay…

  13. [...] Link (Thanks, Glyn!) [...]

  14. jackarew says:

    Maybe if my school did this, I could go to the bathroom and flush my clothes down the toilet, then I could run Away in my undies. Heh, heh. Tricky!

  15. Pookie says:

    Well, i had to give a bit of thought to the chipping idea first. On the one hand it sounds good to be able to track young children. However, at what point do we consider them old enough to be unchipped? Do we just keep them under guard until they die? Do we just have everyone chipped permanently so we can track them wherever and whenever we want? Another possibly good idea that could be overdone by governments?

  16. [...] on October 21st, 2007 Britain’s long slow march towards paternalistic totalitarianism continues: Children are being tracked by micro-chips embedded in their uniforms in a trial at a secondary [...]

  17. archrights says:

    @Pookie: even if we leave things like children’s DP rights or their Art 8 rights to privacy to one side for a moment, there are several other problems. It sounds so plausible that you can track your child if s/he is abducted by a stranger, but the reality is that a child is several hundred times more likely to be killed or injured in a road accident. This kind of device risks lulling people into a false sense of security; if a child is too young to be out without being tracked, then s/he is probably too young to cope with the very real dangers and shouldn’t be out without competent supervision.

    It’s also worth knowing that there is no regulation of those operating the tracking systems beyond a voluntary code of practice. If people are really worried about predators, it seems illogical to make a child’s whereabouts known to complete strangers who may not even have undergone the most basic checks.

  18. thescoundrel says:

    If the teacher/parents/company can track the kid, bet your last farthing that a knowledgeable criminal can do the same thing. And after they snatch the kid they would not hesitate a minute to search and destroy the chip even if it damaged the merchandise.

  19. [...] Archrights: first it was the co-option of teachers into fingerprinting every British child, whether they or [...]

  20. [...] the Arch Blog, this little piece of statist [...]

  21. Pookie says:

    @archrights: Of course you are right about that. It never ceases to amaze me how young the kids are that are allowed to run the streets unsupervised here in the states. And yes although most people think criminal elements are very stupid that is hardly the case. It is just the really stupid ones that get caught all the time. :-(

  22. [...] Action on Rights for Children reports that, a leading British school uniform maker, Trutex, is “actively exploring” adding chips to their product to allow parents information on their offspring’s location. [...]

  23. Julian Wearne says:

    “robertroels Says:
    October 21st, 2007 at 3:38 am

    We as humans have lived since the beginning of time without the benefit of tracking devices, and have survived very trying and violent periods in history.

    To promote this and eventually make them mandatory is an affront to the Constitution of the United States and an insult to humanity and liberty.

    Provide protection for the children if needed. Big brother go home.”

    Ahh, buddy. This isn’t happening in the States.

  24. [...] Chipping Children « The ARCH Blog Children are being tracked by micro-chips embedded in their uniforms in a trial at a secondary school. The devices are used to monitor pupils’ movements and register their arrival in class on the teacher’s computer. Supply teachers can also be alerted (tags: children control notonmywatch id) [...]

  25. [...] We’ve just put up our report on two other forms of child-tracking, both of them closely related to chipping children. [...]

  26. [...] cyberware, english post, rpg, style, tech by cyberpunk2020 on December 10th, 2007 The ARCH Blog informs us about a projekt in a british secondary school where pupils have chips in their uniform [...]

  27. Andy says:

    Oh, and did not know about it. Thanks for the information …

  28. [...] The devices are used to monitor pupils’ movements and register their arrival in class on the teacher’s computer. Supply teachers can also be alerted if a student is likely to misbehave.”//archrights2007 [...]

  29. [...] ARCH Blog informs us about a projekt in a british secondary school where pupils have RFID chips in their [...]

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  31. Rodgel Ernest Ysean O. Ogena II says:

    i find the idea as quite useful especially for the parents but i also think of it as somewhat awkward. One of those who commented on this blog was right. we had live for years without this tracking device embedded on the children’s uniform. Also with children knowing they are monitored, we are taking their right to be a child as they would be cautious to everything they do and that would eventually limit their activities that normal children do; being happy and misbehave sometimes,that’s our nature.

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