Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Unbelievable Ways Schools Are Now Monitoring Children -- Even What They're Eating

From AlterNet:

Schools across the country are adopting a variety of different tools to monitor students both in school and outside school. Among these tools are RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags embedded in school ID cards, GPS tracking software in computers, and even CCTV video camera systems. According to school authorities, these tools are being adopted not to simply increase security, but to prevent truancy, cut down on theft and even improve students' eating habits.


San Antonio is taking its cue from the Houston, TX, school district. It began using RFID chips to monitor students on 13 campuses in 2004. Houston’s Spring Independent School District gave 28,000 students RFID badges to record when they get on and off school buses. The police and school administrators provided the badges to ostensibly prevent truancy and child abductions. In 2010, the school reported, “RFID readers situated throughout each campus are used to identify where students are located in the building, which can be used to verify the student’s attendance for ADA funding and course credit purposes.” Student tracking has reportedly brought them hundreds of thousands of extra dollars.

More here.

This is disturbing on multiple levels and for multiple reasons.  It is a gross violation of privacy.  At its root, it's financially driven, but plays into fear mongering about "security" issues, serving to make Americans even more irrational than they already are on the subject.  It is highly prone to abuse by school officials and the businesses involved in setting this shit up.  It's just plain creepy and sinister.  And it's widespread, all over the country, and coming to a school district near you, if it's not already there.

But what's truly disturbing about this, to me, is that it will condition young Americans to accept the surveillance state as a normal part of life.  That is, in the same way that public school culture conditions children to trust the experts, to leave major decisions about society to people in positions of power, to obey authority simply because it is authority, you know, the most well-learned lessons students experience because they go through the drill every day for thirteen years, hyper-surveillance in schools will make American culture more accepting of Big Brother watching us every minute of every day.

This can't end well.