Monthly Archives: April 2013

RFID and GPS “not a tracking device”

School busStudentConnect are providing RFID and GPS in school buses in the Gordon County School District, Georgia, USA to monitor students travel movements.

Apparently Andrej Jeremic, Director of Marketing and Business Development at East Coast Diversified the company that owns StudentConnect, stated that their system using RFID and GPS, is not a tracking device”  “…it is a notification system”. 

Yes Andrej, it is a notification system that notifies you of students tracks traveling on school buses (face palm!)

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Even his own website states in the document ‘StudentConnect Market Research’ it states “Parents can track all of their children’s activities

Oddly enough, this ‘StudentConnect Market Research‘ document is research that another employee Kayode Aladesuyi, East Coast Diversified’s Chairman and Chief Officer, claims is an “independent research study” showing that 96% of parents would support a safety program that requires students to wear an auto ID badge.

There does not appear to be cited within the document any independent research company that carried out the survey.  The survey deployed 13,573 surveys with only 958 returned – that’s only 7% of people asked bothered to reply – perhaps the replies were from people who were positive about the technology?

Sadly, apart from children’s privacy and civil liberties being eroded, there seems an air of shabbiness along with a distinct hint of desperateness to sell us this type of tracking by remote ubiquitous technology that involves a lack of integrity and transparency.

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RFID “ensures foolproof safety” for kids

RFID (CCTV and GPS tracking) ensures “foolproof safety” of children?  Really?
A claim made as Dubai launches it first phase of RFID tracking children on school buses with 3,200 buses transporting around 170,000 children “In the second phase, the entire fleet will be equipped with CCTV cameras and live communications system.” …with sound bite transmitting and GPS on the buses too – no expense spared for the kids in Dubai.

RFID vendors and government employees may claim that the technology is capable of a lot of things to sell it to us but that it “ensures foolproof safety” of children on a school bus is, in my humble opinion, going a step too far.

The one claim that can be made about RFID (and other technologies) use in this circumstance, is that using this technology to track children without doubt erodes those children’s civil liberties and privacy. 

“This system ensures foolproof safety of our children who are the future of our country and implementation of such an advanced programme reflects on the importance the government gives to the issue of children’s safety,”

While Al Qutami’s, the Minister for Education, intentions are admirable to keep children safe, surveilling them to this point is not a “foolproof” answer.