Tag Archives: security

Back-to-school Shopping includes Bulletproof Backpacks

By now most students have returned to school and many have new school supplies. You know the drill – it’s time to stock up on supplies such as pencils, laptops, notebooks, folders, and bulletproof backpacks. Wait – what? Bulletproof backpacks? Is that even a thing?

Unfortunately, yes, bulletproof backpacks have become a school accessory that helps to counter fears of school shootings. It’s not just parents who worry about mass shootings, students worry as well. According to Pew Research, nearly 60% of U.S. teenagers between 13 and 17 said they were “very” or “somewhat” worried that a shooting could happen on their campus. And when we have a fear, we also have a need to counteract that fear however we can. Thus, bulletproof backpacks whose sales have risen more than 200% after the latest school shooting.

These backpacks are not even a rarely-sold novelty, nor are they cheap. According to some companies that manufacture the $180 – $205 backpacks (along with inserts and other gear), many retailers have sold out over the year. The packs are of course sold at some specialty stores, but it may surprise you to find out that even Office Depot and OfficeMax have sold the product.

What are you using to carry school supplies?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students as to what would be on back-to-school shopping lists.
  2. Show a video to explain the products: https://youtu.be/C5gsk-3hiIE
  3. Show product examples:
    1. https://premierbodyarmor.com/collections/school-safety?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI75n8mpSh5AIVj8DACh06bQBMEAAYAiAAEgLKNPD_BwE
    2. https://www.bulletblocker.com/bullet-proof-backpack-shield.html
  4. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  5. For this product, what is the target market?
  6. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for bulletproof backpacks. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.

Source: Smith, D. (8 August 2019). Bulletproof backpacks? Deadly shootings have parents adding to back-to-school list. Sacramento Bee.

 

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Is Privacy a thing of the Past?

Privacy. It is such a critical topic, yet it is also one that many consumers feel helpless about fixing. Who knows what we buy? What we want? Where we go? Well, as it turns out there a great number of companies, and government agencies, tracking us. And it is not limited to our purchasing behavior. There are a number of companies that can and do track the daily activities of employees also.

Everyone says they want privacy, but many people are unwilling or don’t know how to protect their online privacy. The issue is one that reaches beyond the individual and extends to the larger society. It encompasses devices including home security, smart phones, wearable devices, facial recognition, home speakers, smart TVs, automobiles, maps, social media, and more! And the crazy thing is that we often give permission to be tracked without realizing the implications to our privacy.

This is an issue that extends beyond consumer behavior and can also encompass how companies track employee behavior, beginning when we wake up and check our work email at home, and continuing monitoring activities throughout the day to track physical and online movement. Granted, some of the tracking is useful to protect against espionage and theft, but does it go too far?

Who’s watching who do what?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the issue of privacy in the Internet age. What are students’ concerns?
  2. There are several very compelling interactive graphics and videos that help illustrate this topic. Show these in class and have students take notes on each.
    1. It’s time to panic about privacy: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/04/10/opinion/internet-data-privacy.html?emc=edit_ct_20190411&nl=technology&nlid=6570397720190411&te=1
    2. Meet ‘Chet.’ His employer knows what time he work up today: https://www.wsj.com/graphics/company-tracking-employees/?mod=djemfoe
    3. Microchips for employees video: https://youtu.be/eX1KNlI40V8
  3. Discussion: Is privacy important? What can be done to protect individuals?
  4. Consider assigning students to research this topic. A number of interesting reports can be found at various sources.

Source: Bentley, E. and Krouse, S. (19 July 2019). Meet ‘Chet.’ His employer knows what time he woke up today. Wall Street Journal; Manjoo, J. (11 April 2019). It’s time to panic about privacy. New York Times.

 

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Microchips Under My Skin

Have you ever misplaced a key card that is needed to enter work? Or maybe can’t find your rail pass? Or as an employer, can you truly track access and secure a facility in this age of technology? But, what are you willing to trade for that security and access?

Some companies and people are now taking the step of embedding access into bodies through technology. They insert a microchip under the skin; with an embedded chip, there is no risk of losing access passes, or of being robbed of an important access pass.

It might sound a little like fiction (think, ‘James Bond’), but it is now a reality for thousands of people in Sweden. The microchips are designed by the Swedish company Biohax to make life easier and more secure. Those in favor of the microchips say they are safe, but others raise concerns about privacy, health, and hacking.

The chips are the size of a grain of rice and cost an estimated $180 per chip. Using a syringe, the chips are placed into the skin between the thumb and forefinger and have the capability of transmitters. For example, the chip can enable users to open doors, start cars, contain critical medical data, transfer personal data, and more. In Sweden, the largest train company has started allowing commuters to replace tickets with the chips. There is also talk that the chips could be used to make payments in stores and restaurants.

What do you think? Want a chip under your skin?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the buying process for organizations. Who would influence the decision-making?
  2. Show the Biohax site: https://www.biohax.tech/
  3. Show video of the product: https://youtu.be/eX1KNlI40V8
  4. What are the characteristics of the target market for this product?
  5. For Biohax microchips, have students work on the actions taken in each of the five steps.
    1. Problem recognition?
    2. Information search?
    3. Evaluative criteria?
    4. Purchase decision?
    5. Post-purchase behavior?
  6. What are key considerations in each step?
  7. Debrief the exercise.

Source: Savage, M. (22 October 2018). Thousands of Swedes are inserting microchips under their skin. All Things Considered – National Public Radio

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