A tech company with ties to a school district plans to test a tracking system by putting computer chips on grade-schoolers’ backpacks, an experiment the ACLU ripped Monday as invasive and unnecessary.The pilot program set to start next week in the Middletown school district would have about 80 children put tags containing radio frequency identification chips, or RFID chips, on their schoolbags. It would also equip two buses with global positioning systems, or GPS devices.

The school and parents will be able to track students on the bus, and the district hopes the program will improve busing efficiency, Superintendent Rosemarie Kraeger said. The devices are intended to record only when students enter and exit the bus, and the GPS would show where the bus was on it’s route.

Parents could opt out of the program, Kraeger said.

The pilot program, made by MAP Information Technology Corp., is to run for several months at the Aquidneck School, she said. The district, which serves about 2,500 students, is the company’s only client, said Deborah Rapp, the company’s director of marketing and communications.

I don’t even understand how this is useful. Are they having problems with kids not getting on buses or jumping out windows while in transit? I’d be wrapping the RFID in a Faraday cage or would let it meet the microwave for a bit. The GPSed buses makes sense I suppose but I’m not sure how it would help improve efficiency. Just pick up a map, draw it’s route and solve.…

Ah — dead, eerily-prescient, 20th century authors… they just can’t stop proving you right, can they? In a decidedly Orwellian turn, British authorities are considering a proposal to implant “machine-readable” RFID tags under the skin of some prison inmates as part of a plan to free up space in the country’s overcrowded prisons. Just like the nightmare world described in your favorite cautionary tales, the chips would enable authorities to track the location of implantees using satellite and radio-wave technology. The program would build off of the current ankle-tagging currently in place, and according to a official from the Ministry of Justice who finds the plan double-plus good, “All the options are on the table, and this is one we would like to pursue.” Of course, the controversial concept does have its detractors, Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, says that, “If the Home Office doesn’t understand why implanting a chip in someone is worse than an ankle bracelet, they don’t need a human-rights lawyer; they need a common-sense bypass.”

Do these guys understand that a traditional RFID will not be picked up by a satellite? Even an active RFID only has a 2km range from my understanding and would need to be triangulated. Are they going to be putting lots of receivers up around town? Perhaps next to their cameras or on cell towers. I wonder how many of the people they intend to implant are in jail for non-violent victimless “crimes?”

First the pets, then your creditcards and IDs, then the kids bookbags, then the criminals, then every new born and finally all those left. We are halfway there with some people voluntarily chipping themselves already.