Tag Archives | Tracking Devices

Gates Foundation Testing Biosensors To Monitor Students’ Moods

biosensors

Because kids have no right to hide their thoughts from adults, the Chicago Tribune reports:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has poured more than $4 billion into efforts to transform public education in the U.S., is pushing to develop an “engagement pedometer.” Biometric devices wrapped around the wrists of students would identify which classroom moments excite and interest them — and which fall flat.

The foundation has given $1.4 million in grants to several university researchers to begin testing the devices in middle-school classrooms this fall.

The biometric bracelets, produced by Affectiva Inc, send a small current across the skin and then measure subtle changes in electrical charges as the sympathetic nervous system responds to stimuli. The wireless devices have been used in pilot tests to gauge consumers’ emotional response to advertising.

Gates officials hope the devices, known as Q Sensors, can become a common classroom tool, enabling teachers to see, in real time, which kids are tuned in and which are zoned out.

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How Stores Are Spying On You

Wear a mask, pay cash, and break out your old brick cell phone. Consumer Reports tells all:

High-resolution video cameras monitor all areas in and outside the  store. With facial-recognition software, your mug shot can be captured and digitally filed. Ditto for your car’s license plate. Stores don’t provide sufficient disclosure, so you can’t opt out to protect your privacy.

Gaze trackers are hidden in tiny holes in the shelving and detect which brands you’re looking at and how long for each. There are even mannequins whose eyes are cameras that detect age, sex, ethnicity, and facial expression.

Your mobile phone is an excellent device for tracking your shopping route. Retailer tracking systems can identify individual shoppers by monitoring your phone’s International Mobile Subscriber Identity number (constantly transmitted from all cell phones to their service providers) or Media Access Control address (transmitted when the device’s Wi-Fi is enabled, which is the default setting on most devices).

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Disneyland To Use Digital Tracking Bracelets On Visitors

Who says the Panopticon has to be gloomy? Children will be thrilled to find that Mickey Mouse already knows everything about them. ANIMAL New York writes:

In an effort to give its theme park patrons a more customized, interactive experience, Disney is adopting the tactics of law enforcement agencies everywhere: giving out wristbands embedded with tracking devices and information about the people wearing them.

Uses for the wristbands, dubbed “MyMagic+,” range from the pedestrian–like tracking purchases and attractions visited, presumably to serve up targeted advertisements–to the surreal. If a child wearing a MyMagic+ band approaches a Cinderella mascot, for example, Cinderella could be automatically informed of the child’s information, so she can greet him or her by name. Fortunately, the devices are strictly optional for now.

“We want to take experiences that are more passive and make them as interactive as possible,” said Bruce Vaughn, Disney Imagineering’s chief creative executive. “Moving from, ‘Cool, look at that talking bird,’ to ‘Wow, amazing, that bird is talking directly to me.”

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Americans Are The Most Spied On People In World History

 Washington’s Blog on life in an era of firsts:

The US surveillance regime has more data on the average American than the Stasi ever did on East Germans. The American government is collecting and storing virtually every phone call, purchases, email, text message, internet searches, social media communications, health information, employment history, travel and student records, and virtually all other information of every American. Some also claim that the government is also using facial recognition software and surveillance cameras to track where everyone is going.

Moreover, cell towers track where your phone is at any moment, and the major cell carriers, including Verizon and AT&T, responded to at least 1.3 million law enforcement requests for cell phone locations and other data in 2011. And – given that your smartphone routinely sends your location information back to Apple or Google – it would be child’s play for the government to track your location that way.

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Texas Schools Punishing Students Who Refuse To Wear Microchip Tracking Devices

Via Russia Today, being remotely tracked may become part and parcel of being a teenager:

A school district in Texas came under fire earlier this year when it announced that it would require students to wear microchip-embedded ID cards at all times. Now, students who refuse to be monitored say they are feeling the repercussions.

Students who refuse to walk the school halls with the card in their pocket or around their neck claim they are being tormented by instructors, barred from participating in certain school functions, [and] turned away from common areas like cafeterias and libraries.

Andrea Hernandez, a sophomore at John Jay, said educators have ignored her pleas to respect her privacy and told her she cannot participate in school elections if she refuses to comply with the tracking program.

After Hernandez refused to wear an RFID chip, WND reported that Deputy Superintendent Ray Galindo issued a statement to the girl’s parents: “We are simply asking your daughter to wear an ID badge as every other student and adult on the Jay campus is asked to do.” If she is allowed to forego the tracking now, the repercussions will be harsher than just revoking voting rights for homecoming contests once the school makes location-monitoring mandatory, he argued.

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Money Will Movitate The Digital Tracking Of Schoolchildren

There’s money to be made in the cattle-style tracking of kids with RFID-chip IDs, and so the practice may become widespread, Wired writes:

Two schools at the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio began issuing the RFID-chip-laden student-body cards when classes began last Monday. Like most state-financed schools, their budgets are tied to average daily attendance. If a student is not in his seat during morning roll call, the district doesn’t receive daily funding for that pupil. But with the RFID tracking, students not at their desk but tracked on campus are counted as being in school that day, and the district receives its daily allotment for that student.

There appears to be dozens of companies who…offer their RFID wares to monitor students in what is still a tiny but growing market. Among the biggest companies in the market: AT&T.

About two dozen health and privacy advocates who signed an August position paper blasting the use of RFID chips in schools.

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Facebook App To Offer Discounts To People Who Agree To Be Constantly Tracked With Facial Recognition Technology

Would you agree to this in return for a half-price smoothie? Created by advertising agency Redpepper, a program called "Facedeals" is already being tested in Tennessee, with plans to expand nationally in the near future. The way it works is, internet-connected cameras mounted in front of businesses capture the faces of comers and goers. Individuals who have agreed to participate in Facedeals are identified and tracked using facial recognition software when a camera spots them, and as a reward periodically receive personalized deals and coupons via their smartphones:
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Supreme Court Troubled By Warrantless GPS Tracking

The SupremesI guess the justices of the highest court in the land (a.k.a. the Supremes) realized that the U.S. government has the power to watch any of them without any legal action … Mark Sherman reports in the AP:

The Supreme Court invoked visions of an all-seeing Big Brother and satellites watching us from above. Then things got personal Tuesday when the justices were told police could slap GPS devices on their cars and track their movements, without asking a judge for advance approval.

The occasion for all the talk about intrusive police actions was a hearing in a case about whether the police must get a search warrant before using GPS technology to track criminal suspects. The outcome could have implications for other high-tech surveillance methods as well.

The justices expressed deep reservations about warrantless GPS tracking. But there also was no clear view about how or whether to regulate police use of the devices.

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Germany Makes Facebook “Like” Button Illegal

facebook-like-thumbs-up“Websites in Schleswig-Holstein must remove their Facebook Like button by the end of September 2011 or they will face a fine of up to €50,000 ($72,000).”

Northern Germany has announced that the Like button, with its ability to track a user’s movement across the internet, violates German and European privacy law. But without tracking plugins, how will corporations and advertisers record our activities and interests, so that they can better serve and satisfy? Via ZDNet:

Commissioner Thilo Weichert, of the Independent Center for Privacy Protection, said the social network’s “Like button” plugin illegally puts together a profile of their Web habits.

The ULD said if you visit Facebook.com or use a Facebook plugin such as the Like button, you should expect to be tracked by the company for two years: Facebook allegedly builds a broad profile for individuals not on the service as well as a more personalized profile for its members.

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