Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Raising good citizens sheep

Get them used to surveillance at a young age. From the article:

As debate over government surveillance rages in adult society, the US Department of Justice is quietly enticing school districts to implement controversial technologies that monitor and track students. Critics fear these efforts will normalize electronic surveillance at an early age, conditioning young people to accept privacy violations while creating a market for companies that develop and sell surveillance systems.

A few of the nation’s schools are already running pilot programs to monitor students’ movements using radio frequency identification (RFID). The highly controversial programs, implemented in the name of student protection, see pupils wearing tags around their necks and submitting themselves to electronic scanning as they enter and leave school property. Now, a new federal grant could lure more districts into using these or similar technologies.

...In one of the more controversial areas of the grant solicitation, the NIJ states that "non-cooperative" identification and tracking is preferred over a "cooperative" system. A non-cooperative identification system captures and tracks personal or biometric data automatically, without a person knowing that they have been screened by a surveillance system.


While school administrators justify the use of RFID and other high-tech systems to protect children and facilities, some question whether more security in schools is even necessary.

Frank Zimring, a University of California at Berkley law professor and author of several books on youth violence, says that whether adolescents are rich or poor, school is the safest place they can be.

Indeed, crime in school has been falling since the early 1990s.

..."If you try to create too much security in a school setting, you’re going to make it a branch of the law enforcement enterprise instead of a branch of the educational enterprise," said Zimring.

...Accenture, a global consulting and technology company that specializes in RFID, was the top business services contributor during the 2004 election cycle, with its owners and employees giving approximately $778,589 to federal candidates, 69 percent of which went to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And Deloitte & Touche, a global accounting and consulting company that helps companies implement RFID technologies, gave more than $2.2 million to candidates in the 2004 cycle, 71 percent to Republicans.

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