Sunday, October 24, 2004

Orwell's "1984" In Tokyo

Japanese Students
One of our TipWonks has alerted us that The San Diego Union-Tribune has a story about a Tokyo school that places radio ID tags with students for their protection. What they are doing is putting R.F.I.D. (Radio Frequency Identification) transmitters in the kids' backpacks. Each time the child enters or exits his or her school, an electronic record is generated, and an email notification is sent to the child's parents. The aim is to protect children from kidnapping.

With some exceptions, Japan has a tradition of little violent crime. Lately, however, the Japanese have been shocked by several child abductions, and this is part of a strategy that has been developed to combat the problem.

The cost per tag is a relatively low $31.80 each, and two schools are participating in the pilot project.

We here at the Education Wonks think that this idea has some merit, as long as enrollment in the program is voluntary. Even though the chances of a stranger abducting any child in particular is low, the extra measure of safety that would be offered by such a system is well-worth its cost.