School authorities in the Japanese city of Osaka are to begin tagging the pupils of one of their primary schools with RFIDs. Radio Frequency Identification tags are tiny transceivers capable to broadcasting their location and other data to nearby receivers. The tags have generated controversy in recent years as supermarkets and clothes retailers have begun embedding them in their products.
Once just a jacket accessory for retrieving the posh out of snow drifts after skiing accidents, RFID technology can now track goods around a store – and in the case of clothing, can inform Gap’s data mining operation that you’re wearing previous purchases the second you walk in the store.
Keeping privacy considerations in mind, the Japanese have evidently decided that the negative side of tagging is now outweighed by the increased security of their children.
The Wakayama primary school will install RFID readers on gates and around the school, and will be able to track the movements of children around the building. It is expected that the scheme will be employed in other schools later, and you can bet that the eyes of the world’s school boards will be watching this very closely.
We reported a similar child-tracking story a few weeks ago with Lego’s introduction of RFID child tracking at their Billund theme park.