Using iPhones to Track Students

By Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

schoolThe headline to this story from a Japenese newspaper is “Aoyama Gakuin U. To Hand Out Free iPhones to Students.” I guess whether you see it that way or as “using iPhones to track students” is kind of a glass half empty or half full kind of thing. But it’s not as if they’re Santa Claus, giving away free phones as a philanthropic gesture. They’re “phasing out traditional methods of taking attendance” in favor of using the GPS tracking on iPhones to determine whether students are in school or not. Maybe they should just skip the phones altogether and start embedding in students’ hands those little RFID chips that are put into pets.

I am suddenly reminded of Cory Doctorow’s YA near-future novel Little Brother (which you can read for free), which describes a lot of fun ways that an American high school uses technology to control its students. These include gait recognition cameras, RFID tags in library books (“It was another of those legal loopholes: the courts wouldn’t let the schools track us with arphids, but they could track library books, and use the school records to tell them who was likely to be carrying which library book.”), and of course, the philanthropic gesture of providing every student with a laptop – which only runs Windows Vista4Schools, an operating system filled with spyware and keyloggers that send data to the school.

So maybe I’m being a glass half empty by finding the iPhone thing to be pretty creepy, but it’s all about baby steps. Because if you’re concerned that the government is spying on you, it’s nothing compared to what schools can get away with.

[Image Source: Flickr]

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10 Responses to Using iPhones to Track Students

  1. I think if I knew the reason why I was receiving the free iPhone I'd have to politely decline. A step too far me thinks.

  2. I think if I knew the reason why I was receiving the free iPhone I’d have to politely decline. A step too far me thinks.

  3. My school gave out a mandatory, experimental phone for free to each student (they had a lot of money left over from funding that year, it didn't help at all). There were rumors that they were used to track students attendance.

    Curious, I traced the phones outbound signal and found out it was contacting the school's IP address.

    Now usually our school's attendance policy was strict, but I knew how to get around it. If I didn't feel like going one day, I would simply forge a note and excuse myself.

    Of course I found this to be a god send because now, with a little tweaking of the device, I could fool the attendance system into thinking I was always there. Surprisingly, no one suspected what was going on.

  4. My school gave out a mandatory, experimental phone for free to each student (they had a lot of money left over from funding that year, it didn’t help at all). There were rumors that they were used to track students attendance.
    Curious, I traced the phones outbound signal and found out it was contacting the school’s IP address.
    Now usually our school’s attendance policy was strict, but I knew how to get around it. If I didn’t feel like going one day, I would simply forge a note and excuse myself.
    Of course I found this to be a god send because now, with a little tweaking of the device, I could fool the attendance system into thinking I was always there. Surprisingly, no one suspected what was going on.

  5. Well, I feel better — not. I thought the only country that pulled this kind of stuff was the U.S. Singapore is famous for controlling behavior of its citizens. Any idea what, if anything like this, that they're doing in their schools?

  6. Well, I feel better — not. I thought the only country that pulled this kind of stuff was the U.S. Singapore is famous for controlling behavior of its citizens. Any idea what, if anything like this, that they’re doing in their schools?

  7. I think Japan starts these things, and then it moves to the US. Japan usually is the ones that make the neat gadgets that do these things. Give it time, i'm sure the US will be doing it.

  8. I think Japan starts these things, and then it moves to the US. Japan usually is the ones that make the neat gadgets that do these things. Give it time, i’m sure the US will be doing it.

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