Radio Frequency Identification

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the use of an object (called an RFID tag) applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio fequencies.

RFID is utilized for open-road tolling, making payments using mobile phones,

The US government utilizes RFID for traffic management, and companies use the technology to keep track of expensive equipment, essentially initiating a surveillance program for inventory.  RFID’s future is currently not known due to privacy regulations that may keep many of the applications from moving forward.

A Westport, CT company–SecureRF–is currently examining applications to use RFID chips to keep track of children via student ID cards using radio frequencies much similar to GPS (although very different technologies).

The opt-in only project allows administrators to quickly ascertain which students are in class and those who are absent but on school grounds. Since schools have proved inadequate for keeping students safe, school officials would be able to notify parents if their son or daughter were absent.

Although objections from parents may keep the program from moving beyond the test stage, theoretically parents, and the child’s school might be able to ensure child-safety by tracking students from “door step to school yard.”

Currently, the experimental program is limited to volunteers comfortable with the idea of tracking.

Other than child safety, an RFID program would enable schools to effectively and efficiently improve emergency evacuations and monitor expensive school equipment, such as laptop computers. However, if the chip’s embedded in student identification, students who forgetfully–or willfully–leave their cards at home would render the program ineffective for many students. RFID may, however, may keep grade school children safe.

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