Question: When does technology get used in ways that violate people's basic humanity?
Answer: When it's implemented by people with inadequate understanding of the technology's human implications and who have the power to implement it by fiat -- for example, when it's implemented by certain Texas school officials.
The Naked Security blog has a fascinating entry this morning about a San Antonio high school that now requires students to wear an ID that includes a RFID tracking chip. They've suspended one student who refused to wear the tracking badge, but, fortunately, a judge has granted a temporary restraining order against the suspension.
The RFID badge program seems to have been partly rationalized by the school's desire to provide attendance data to increase funding. The story has more details. But whatever happened to the idea that people can keep track of one another? If teachers and administrators can't be trusted to notice who's come to school by noticing who's there -- i.e., by taking attendance and making eye contact-- then something essential has been lost.
That thing is human contact and relationship. Sophisticated technology is no substitute for knowing, noticing, and acknowledging one another.