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10/25/2007
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U.K. Kids Get RFID Chips In School Uniforms

Trevor Darnborough, whose company, Darnbro, filed for a patent on securing RFID tags to clothing, hopes other schools will be interested.

Ten schoolchildren in the United Kingdom are being tracked by RFID chips in their school uniforms as part of a pilot program.

If the program proves successful as a way to hasten registration, simplify data entry for the school's behavioral reporting system, and ensure attendance, Trevor Darnborough, whose company, Darnbro, filed for a patent on securing RFID tags to clothing, hopes other schools will be interested, according to the Doncaster Free Press.

The chipped children are enrolled at Hungerhill School in Edenthorpe, England, a secondary school for ages 11 to 16.

David Clouter, a parent and founder of Leave Them Kids Alone, a children's advocacy group, condemned the plan. "With pupils being fingerprinted and now this it seems we are treating children in a way that we have traditionally treated criminals," he told the Doncaster Free Press.

"The system is not intrusive to the pupil in the slightest," Hungerhill teacher Graham Wakeling told the Doncaster Free Press. He also said that all the patents of the children in the trial supported the tracking effort.

Video surveillance is already commonplace in the United Kingdom, and a growing number of schoolchildren are fingerprinted for administrative and security reasons. Since 2001, nearly 6,000 pupils have been fingerprinted in the United Kingdom, the Daily Mail reported earlier this month, with 20 new schools embracing the practice every week.

In a blog post about the report, security expert Bruce Schneier quipped, "So now it's easy to cut class; just ask someone to carry your shirt around the building while you're elsewhere."

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