Chinese schools are using chips in uniforms to monitor students
GPS and ID chips combine with a facial recognition system to track kids (but only during school hours)
If you liked skipping classes or sneaking out of school, this would be your worst nightmare.
Chinese schools are adopting “intelligent school uniforms” to keep closer watch on their students, according to the state-run Global Times. The uniforms, made by a local tech firm named Guanyu, have two chips embedded in the shoulders with identification and GPS.
The uniform chips can supposedly alert teachers and parents through an app if students leave the campus during school hours -- and then locate them. One of the schools using the uniforms claimed to Global Times that they won’t track students outside of school hours.
The uniforms are also connected to a facial recognition system installed at campus gates, which records a 20 second-video of a student every time they pass through the campus gate -- just in case someone thought they’d get away with it by giving their shirt to a friend. It also means that parents can see the exact time their children enter or leave school, and even watch a video of them doing it via an app.
Guanyu Technology boasted to the Global Times that the uniforms can be washed up to 500 times. They told us that the uniform on the right in the above picture costs 158 yuan (US$22.80), and that most schools would ask parents to buy them.
(Incidentally, one of Guanyu’s other products? QR Code Tombstone, which lets you see a dead person’s life story by scanning a QR code.)
But the system has drawn wide skepticism from Chinese media and the public. “Isn’t this supposed to be used in prisons?” one Weibo user asks.
Chinese schools are widely adding technology into campus as part of the government’s push for smart campuses. Schools have tried to let students scan QR codes before taking a shower and some have installed facial recognition cameras in classrooms to analyze students’ facial expressions and see it they’re dozing off, triggering wide privacy concerns.
Responding to criticism, the company published a statement on Weibo saying that the uniforms are developed mainly for the safety of students and to help teachers and parents. It also added that the company “knows about respecting and protecting human rights”.
But netizens doesn’t think so. “Are they raising kids or dogs?” another popular comment says.