A growing number of Chinese schools are using uniforms with computer chips to keep tabs on their students, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports. Not only do these uniforms allow parents and school officials to track students using GPS, facial recognition systems at school entrances ensure crafty students aren’t cheating the system.
Leaving the grounds during school hours triggers an audible alarm in the clothing. An app allows parents to see entry and departure times along with video footage.
Guizhou Guanyu Technology, the manufacturer of these uniforms, claims the two chips hidden in the shoulders can even detect whether a student has fallen asleep in class. It also limits money used by the student on school grounds in a feature advertised as helping parents control spending habits.
The company noted the uniforms were created following China’s “state policy of actively constructing smart campuses and smart education management for the development of education”.
International news outlets picked up on the story following a report from the state run Global Times, which praised the uniforms as helping school administrators and parents “better monitor students’ attendance and whereabouts.”
According to the Global Times, the ‘smart uniform’ program started in 2016 and has been rolled out in ‘more than 10 schools’ in China’s Guizhou Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The article notes over 800 students in one school alone are currently using the technology. Principal Lin Zongwu said the uniforms would not be used to track students outside of school hours unless there was an emergency.
“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.”
With state media now pushing the improved attendance levels at schools involved in the ‘smart uniform’ project, we could be on the verge of seeing the tracking uniforms used on a much larger scale.
This is just the latest story coming out of China that points to a growing surveillance state. An Inquisitr report from 2017 detailed China’s plans to deploy a ‘Social Credit System’ that uses a point system based on wealth, employment, spending habits, and more to assign citizens a number.
China also employs facial recognition technology in a variety of public and private spaces, even going so far as to automatically fine people for crimes. As you’d expect, there have been some problems with implementation. As the Inquisitr notes, a prominent businessman was shamed for jaywalking after facial recognition accidentally tracked his photo on a bus advertisement.
It isn’t just the government using this new technology to track citizens. Earlier in 2018, Inquisitr reported on the use of ‘brain surveillance,’ where workers and military wear a special hat that allows higher-ups to record brainwaves and determine metrics like tiredness or emotional states like anger or unhappiness.