Northside Independent School District plans to track students next year on two of its campuses using technology implanted in their student identification cards in a trial that could eventually include all 112 of its schools and all of its nearly 100,000 students.
District officials said the Radio Frequency Identification System (RFID) tags would improve safety by allowing them to locate students — and count them more accurately at the beginning of the school day to help offset cuts in state funding, which is partly based on attendance. Continue reading…
A few questions I’d like to bring up with this news story:
What’s to prevent one student from holding on to multiple ID cards? From the school’s perspective, that’s basic data integrity 101.That’s not the main concern here in view of privacy and safety issues, but is it still worth using the technology for this purpose in light of its shortcomings?
What happens when a tech-savvy student or even campus intruder decides to use a an active RFID reader to monitor the activities of all RFID chips in range?
A spokesman for the school district is quoted:
“Parents expect that we always know where their children are, and this technology will help us do that.”
Ask yourself: Is this a true statement down the level of where a student is on campus? And if so, is that a fair expectation from parents? Is it beneficial to both the healthy upbringing of the students and the sometimes overprotective habits of parents when given this option?
“Only authorized administrative officials will have access to the information.”
So who is going to set up the technology and fix it when it’s broken? Who is going to help the officials read the data, store the data on backup servers, and correct anomalies?
We need to look carefully at news stories like this one and consider what the trade-offs will be, where the technology is taking us, and what we may lose in the process.
Hayley Tsukayama in The Washington Post:
“In a nutshell, Google is taking information from almost all of your Google services — including Gmail, Picasa, YouTube and search — and integrating the data so that they can learn more about you. Google Books, Google Wallet and Google Chrome will retain their own additional policies, partly for legal reasons, but Google could still integrate data from these services.” Continue reading: Google announces privacy changes across products; users can’t opt out
Michael Liedtke, technology writer for AP puts it this way:
The Washington Post put together a short list of frequently asked questions about Google’s new policy, including:
What kind of information are they collecting and integrating?
Can I opt-out?
So what do I do if I don’t like the policy?
What if I have account but am not signed in?
Why is Google doing this?
What about my iPhone / Android / Blackberry / Windows 8 phone?
“There is no way a user can comprehend the implication of Google collecting across platforms for information about your health, political opinions and financial concerns.” -Jerry Chester, via The Washington Post