All over the United States, school districts have been implementing biometric identification technology for the purpose of allowing students to purchase lunch with no cash or card, and to track them getting on and off the school bus.
This technology has many worried that school districts are going to far with collecting personal information on students and are putting their privacy at risk.
In Illinois, the Geneva Unit District 304 has recently installed a biometric scanner in their cafeterias that will take students’ thumbprints for lunch purchases.
The biometric scanner, made by PushCoin Inc, will allow parents to closely monitor their children’s lunch accounts through email updates. Also, PushCoin’s CEO, Anna Lisznianski, contends the scanners can help school officials use lunch time more efficiently, reports EAG news.
Officials in several area school districts have said they plan on implementing similar technology in the coming months and years.
“I will tell you that many of the kids aren’t very good about keeping track of their ID cards,” District 95 board President Doug Goldberg told the Daily Herald. “And so moving to biometrics was felt to be sort of the next generation of that individual, unique ID. We’ll record their thumbprints, there will be thumbprint readers at all the cash registers, and they’ll simply come by and — bang — hit their thumbprint. It makes it faster and, also, there’s a lot less opportunity for any kind of misuse or fraud when they’re using biometrics.”
Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the ACLU-Chicago, says that lunch line thumb scanners and other biometric data collection in schools sends the wrong message to students about protecting their privacy.
“I think it undermines the notion of really thinking about the importance of your biometrics as a matter of privacy,” Yohnka said. “I think in this age, when so much is available and so much is accessible online about us and there is all this information that floats out there, to begin to include in this one’s biometrics, it really does raise some legitimate concerns.”
Local law enforcement officials, for example, could subpoena fingerprints from a vendor like PushCoin to track down student criminals, Yohnka said.
University of Washington psychology professor Laura Kastner shares the same privacy concerns.
“At some point, Big Brother is going to have a lot of information on us and where is that going to go?” Kastner told the Daily Herald. “And that’s just for parents to consider. But from a kid point of view, they have no idea what they’re giving up and, once again, the slippery slope in what’s called habituation.”
“We’re getting so used to giving up data about ourselves,” Kastner said.
Along with privacy risks, this technology could be aiding in the acceptance of the obvious war on cashthat is being waged globally.
With an entire generation of young people being acclimated to accept biometric identification technology, there is no telling no how far reaching this technology will go in the future and what it will collect.
Joseph Jankowski is a contributor for Planet Free Will.com. His works have been published by recognizable alternative news sites like GlobalResearch.ca, ActivistPost.com, Mintpressnews.com and Intellihub.com.
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