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7 April 2012

Ethics #1: RFID-tagged Children

First Ethics post is up!
In these special posts we will discuss morality and ethics in certain tech development. This is where we get all personal and want you to partake in a debate about the pros and cons of the posted tech.

According to the Associated Press, 20.000 pupils across 213 schools in Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil, will be given a school uniform with an RFID-location-chip. The chip sends a text message to their parents, when the child is in the vicinity of the school at the start of the day. If the child fail to get to school at an appropiate time, the parents are again texted about this.
Secretary of Vitoria da Conquista, Coriolano Moraes, explained that the initiative aims to prevent children from skipping class.  “We noticed that many parents would bring their children to school but would not see if they actually entered the building, because they always left in a hurry to get to work on time. They would always be surprised when told of the number of times their children skipped class.”
The city have so far invested US$ 670,000 to design, test and fabricate these school uniforms.

Education is indeed important, but if the children wants to skip class in order to do other things, should we monitor and manage the students as a consequence or should we instead try and make education more attractive to those children, who tends to skip class?

This might actually be a good way to ensure that children attend their classes and that their parents know what they are up to during school hours. The potential to adapt this into other sectors might as well prove successful - to keep track of employees for example.

Privacy issues. Is it a good idea to replace the normal raising of your kid, by influencing them to do the right thing, with monitoring systems? How long will it take before we are all chip-coded. Isn't it enough that we are being monitored online?

Tell us what you think of this in the comment section.


  1. related with RFID, you can download this article here