Schools in Guizhou are requiring students to wear uniforms fitted with tracking devices.
The so-called “intelligent uniforms”, in use in at least ten schools in the province, are fitted with chips in each shoulder, allowing the school to monitor the times of the students’ arrival and departure. Data is immediately sent to both teachers and parents. Facial recognition technology at the doors sets off an alarm if the students attempt to swap uniforms to buck the system.
Lin Zongwu, principal of No. 11 School of Renhuai in Guizhou Province, told Global Times that attendance had significantly improved since the introduction of the uniforms. However, concerns have been raised about privacy and human rights, particularly as the technology can track students outside school.
“We choose not to check the accurate location of students after school, but when the student is missing and skipping classes, the uniforms help locate them,” Lin said.
This development comes in the context of increasing concerns about surveillance in China, and the possible linking of facial recognition technology with social credit scoring. It also raises questions about how far we should go to keep our children safe, and at what point protectiveness becomes harmful in itself.