Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Would you get "chipped"?

While we in the US (mostly) debate the advantages and disadvantages of using RFID chips on people, a debate which essentially boils down to security vs. privacy, other countries and individuals are embracing them.

In Osaka, Japan the school system is going to attach RFID chips to the kid's bags and clothes in order to track them. In Mexico the Attorney General and other government officials are having RFID chips implanted in their arms in order to allow them to be tracked if they are abducted.

Mexico's attorney general said on Monday he had a microchip inserted under the skin of one of his arms to give him access to a new crime database and also enable him to be traced if he is ever abducted.

Meanwhile, in Boca Raton, Florida, the school system has decided to use hand scanners to ID students. The new Don Estridge High Tech Middle School will have hand scanners in "all 61 classrooms, the cafeteria, main office and media center." Apparently there are also several schools in Palm Beach County, FL also have video surveillance cameras in the classrooms. Dam, sounds like the Pentagon or something. Hand scanners are also used at 18 schools in Akron, Ohio, the Johnson & Wales University campus in Denver, and Diebold (the voting machine makers) has installed hand scanners at West Virginia University residence hall, among others.

As could be guessed, at this early stage in the use of handscanners, they are being donated by a company that probably expects sales to schools in the future. Get 'em hooked pusherman, those teachers won't even know how to take attendance manually sooner or later. Apparently at least two kids "are telling everyone about it. They think it's so high-tech, so FBI, so cool."

I don't think these stories relate in a particularly profound way, but they certainly point to changing attitudes worldwide when it comes to allowing what many people would consider an invasion of their (or their children's) privacy.

Thanks to Tom Thinks for pointing this out.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chipper as a Chickadee How many times have you heard of people getting chipped in Lem stories, Orwellian predictions and mainstream TV Freak-U-mentaries featuring brand new technology that allows you to work your microwave all the way from your couch- so long as you inject the controls into your medulla. And now this.
Consider, though, how useful this might be to track soldiers who have gone MIA (as in Might be Identifiable pieces in Another place) when they are pulverized by the other delightful fruits of our technological evolution.

7/14/2004 10:06 PM  

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