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Advantages and Disadvantages of RFID Tags on Students

Advantages and Disadvantages of RFID Tags on Students

To tag school children with RFID chips is uncommon, but not new.  Schools have been implementing RFID tags for what appears to be years.  A school district in Texas implants the devices on student identification cards to keep an out on their movements on campus, and to track them when they are on the move to and from school.  In Richmond, California, a federally funded preschool began embedding RFID chips in students’ clothing in 2010. Also right outside of Sacramento, California, an elementary school started the process, but stopped in 2005 due to a parental uproar.  This is only a few.

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The tagging of school children with RFID chips seems to be bases solely on financial gain.  Schools that are state funded get their funds based on children’s attendance.  The RFID chips help those schools know what the status of their day is.  As opposed to waiting for a manual head count.  Also, manual head counts do not allot for those other students that are at school, but not in class; however, this is capable with the RFID chips.

RFID chips seem to be all advantage for the schools.  For the children there are advantages and disadvantages.  The advantages would be the student doesn’t necessarily have to be in their seat to do the manual “Here” role call.  Also, the RFID chips only work when a student is on campus.  The biggest disadvantage is health implications.  RFID systems emit electromagnetic radiation.  This leads to lingering questions about whether human health may be affected in environments where the reading devices are used.  This concern and the dehumanizing effects of continuance surveillance may place additional stress on students, parents, and teachers.

Advantages and Disadvantages of RFID Tags on Pajamas

I believe these advantages and disadvantages are in line with those with students.  The main advantage would be the parent would know where the child is when they are in their pajamas.  This could help with the bigger issues of sleepwalking or forbid someone removed your child from the house in their pajamas or they left on their own.  It could help with smaller issues of wanting to make sure your child is in their room, but not wanting to necessarily go and check.

The downside would be if the RFID is imbedded in the child’s pajamas all they have to do is take off their pajamas and it is obsolete.  Outside of that, there is still the health concern.  If the child is sleeping with the radiation that is omitted it makes it that much worse.

RFID Tags is Not A Violation of Privacy Rights

I disagree that tagging students with RFID tags is a violation of privacy rights. The RFID chip was on the school ID. The purpose of the RFID chip in the student’s ID card is to help with attendance taking. Yes, it has the student’s name, grade and picture. There are no health records, social security number, or other very sensitive information on the RFID chip. An example of another school district that is also piloting this is Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas. According to Northside ISD, it is trying a different way of dealing with the attendance problem. So, the 2 schools that did the pilot program was Jay High School and Jones Middle School due to the fact of low attendance. Also, because the readers are only set up within the schools, they can’t track students outside the buildings. Spring Independent School District is also is currently doing the RFID chips in the student’s ID badges and attendance has have seen significant increases in revenue by using this technology over the last five or six years.

RFID Tags on Pajamas Are Not a violation of Privacy Right

I agree with tagging children’s pajamas with RFID tags. For one, it would not be the same kind of RFID tag that is on clothing that is in the store. The chip would be small and not visible for the child to see. Second, with the RFID chip, it would also prevent child abductions. Parents can decide what information would go on the RFID chip for their child. The RFID chip would be helpful to law enforcement and Amber Alert system as well.

Relationship Between RFID and Privacy Rights

As described in our textbook, RFID is a unique smart label comparable to a barcode or an electronic product number that can scan through a device or reader to relay information of that item.  The components consist of a tag that holds the data, the reader that reads the tag and sends the data to the systems and the computer network that retrieves and recognizes the tag and pulls the information related to the smart label (Baltzan, 2015).  The relationship between privacy rights and RFID is the information that can potentially expose consumer privacy and security risks of personal information that can easily be accessible if not used properly.  RFID is one of the most common used tracking technologies mainly for the use of products or items. However, over a decade ago a California elementary school implemented RFID program to enhance a more efficient way to keep track of attendance and provide better security. This program issued students individual IDs or tags that had their personal information allowing the system to capture data and movements of that student. Although this program may have been a great idea, many parents were fuming of their children being monitored without their consent.  It was a major concern for security and privacy reasons (Brown, 2007).

The Way Schools Can Use RFID Tags 

A way schools could use RFID tags without violating privacy rights is to encrypt the information that is being transmitted.  Limiting the information by not having sensitive data that can be retrieved.  Protecting their privacy by limiting access of the level of staff members who have authority to track and monitor the students.  This can prevent less data being transmitted and having to go through layers of security to access private information.  By strictly limiting access to the Principle, counselors and executive staff members, it reduces the possibilities of any acts of violation of privacy.



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