Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Fingerprinting And Kids? Perfectly Natural

Iain Dale was shocked a few months ago. Appalled, so he was, that fingerprinting of kids was occurring at state schools as a way of registering lunch payments.

Fingerprinting children is just plain wrong. Sorry, but it just is. No matter how many assurances that are given, you're still trusting the state to look after the most personal of information.
This is true.

However, it's not an isolated practice anymore, nor is it even small-scale. In October, we had a tour round the prospective secondary school of one of the little Ps (the girl). Our guide was a very bouncy year 8 kid who was subdued when showing us the science labs, but incredibly enthusiastic when explaining the lunch money machine.

Bouncy boy enthused, "It's really good! You just put your finger here and put your money in. It's well mega! But ...", he tailed off as his enthusiasm waned, "... you can use a card instead 'cos some people don't like using fingerprints", said he with an almost disappointed shrug.

A mum who was on the same tour appeared crestfallen and exasperated, "Why on earth would anyone not like that?", she gasped with a Helen Worth-style astonished look on her face as she glanced down at her kids whilst shaking her head in genuine disbelief.

After all, the recording of personal information is perfectly normal now, isn't it?

Child's play, even.

Have lots of fun experimenting with this Fingerprints kit! Keep your blast lab safe from intruders by learning how to search, lift and record fingerprints!
If you listen very carefully, you may just be able to hear Alex Deane's head pop.


Wrinkled Weasel said...

normal. mmm. It will be in 50 years time, and nobody will bat an eyelid. The problem is not the leeching of personal data or the official use of personal data, it is about how it affects the way we live.

Let us, for example, imagine that detectors are placed everywhere which detect cigarette smoke, and that one day you get a visit from the plod who fine you for smoking, let's say, in a bus shelter.

The problem here is not about the device, it is merely a piece of metal, plastic and wire. The problem is the current perception that our lives should be regulated to infinity.

The revolt should not be against technology, for you cannot do this. The revolt should be against the curtailment of the freedoms that technology enables the freedom takers to operate.

Anonymous said...

When they get really good with a fingerprint kit, they can lift a print from one place and plant it in another!

middlesbrough said...

I still have rows with our headteachers over this issue after i banned the installation of the technology in all new secondary schools in Hull. ( alas, I can't stop them putting the technology in existing schools) :-(

Carl Minns said...

mmm. Looks like i have found a user trying to pose as me ( I put the wrong user name in by accident d'oh!)

Anonymous said...

The real enemy is the sheeple like the Helen Worth character who are just so stupid they cannot see the pitfalls.

Dick Puddlecote said...

WW: There is definitely that. It seems to me, though, that all the methods of surveillance simply make the decision to curtail freedoms easier to make in the first place since there is an option available for enforcement, as you say. Enforceability is an aspect considered at legislative stage IIUC.

Anon @ 13:07: My thoughts entirely at the time. I think we'll be plumping for the card option. ;)

Nice one Carl. :)

Woman on a Raft said...

I had a run-in with this.

The school said they were introducing an electronic system, subtly suggesting they were looking at swipe cards. I've used those and it's a fair way of putting a small amount of money on a card to avoid cash handling at the check-outs. It is also very sensitive; those with free school meals can just be given ready-charged cards. So the most you might lose would be, say, £25.

When it arrived they simply issued a letter that children would be finger-printed the next day.

Oh no they won't, I replied, and announced that hence forth it would be sarnies from home. There were cheers all round as this achieved precisely what I had been refusing to provide, insisting that sitting down to school din-dins was part of the way of interacting with people.

Fool that I am, it was explained that they never ate the school dinner anyway, only a slice of pizza, because they did not have time to do with all the mucking around with bags and queues. I nearly fainted at the price I'd been paying for a slice of pizza, thinking I was getting a proper meal for it.

When I checked with the supplying company their own notes made it clear that fingerprinting was optional and it would support a swipe-card option, no problem.

It is shocking to me that people were willing to share their childrens' unique data with people unknown, that they wanted regular payments from my bank account and hence full details, but no contractual relationship existed between the payer and the provider.

I demanded written confirmation from the school that they had not shared family data with the company and received a mealy-mouthed reply because I suspect they had already handed over a complete dataset of names and addresses for reconcilliation with the finger prints.

Trooper Thompson said...

F***ing enraging. They are training the children to be slaves.

Neal Asher said...

This is just a step on the way. In 50 years time fingerprints will be old hat, since we'll all have ID implants.