School Test Busted for Breaking Laws

Guess what? The Sutter School RFID trial has been brought to a halt. This outcome was predictable given that this particular deployment broke two laws of identity.
Thanks to Greg Lucas at for bringing us the latest on this story. His article begins as follows:

This display of the radio-frequency identification badge ...

Sutter , Sutter County — Bowing to objections from some angry parents, the Brittan School District's board has decided to temporarily halt its practice of making students wear identification badges with tiny transmitters that tell teachers when pupils are in class.

InCom, a company in Sutter, had been testing a system designed to ease teachers’ attendance-taking by using radio signals beamed from identification badges worn by seventh- and eighth-graders.

The company said Tuesday at a school board meeting that it was ending the test, though the system had been turned off since a board meeting on Feb. 8 at which several parents, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, said the badges violated their children's privacy rights.

“I'm disappointed we didn't have an opportunity to go through with this test,” said board member Russ Takata. “Anything to make a classroom or teacher more efficient needs to be looked at.”

InCom said it deleted the data collected from its testing, which began in January. (Read more here.)

I'm not really convinced InCom really looks at markets as conversations… yet. For example, RFID Journal reports Jim Alhers, InCom's VP of Operations as saying:

“InCom is being flooded with e-mail messages and calls from schools administrators across the country that are interested in testing the product, but InCom has no new trials scheduled at this time.”

“Most of the schools that are contacting us with requests for pilots have already issued picture IDs to students, so that part of the program won't be a problem… InCom will recommend to any school it works with in the future that parents be made aware of the use of RFID before the pilot begins.”

“Making people aware” is better than just putting the tags around the kids’ necks. But it would be better to fully understand the Law of Control. And it would be really great if they turned their attention to the opportunities that would open up by embracing unidirectional identitifiers for an application like this one, where public identities are not suitable (fourth law).

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Kim Cameron

Work on identity.