They just did this at my job. We have a finger scanner. I was opposing the new system; I lost. I would not allow my kids to do this though. In reality, our fingerprints are all over town anyway. My kids are not on file and I would like to keep things private with them for as long as possible. Ya, know?
Instead of paying for their lunches with crumpled dollar bills and loose change, students in some Maryland schools are having their palms scanned in a new check-out system — raising concerns from some parents that their children’s privacy is being violated.
Children from kindergarten to 12th grade place their hands above an infrared scanner. It identifies unique palm and vein patterns and converts the image into an encrypted numeric algorithm that records a sale.
Though the school system does not store those images, some parents have complained about the implications of having their children’s hands scanned. About 20 percent of parents have declined to participate in the program.
One parent said, “I didn’t appreciate how they handled it.” He said that the school scanned their hands before sending the opt-out form. “I’m concerned about it. I know it’s the way of the future, but it’s fingerprinting, it’s palm-printing.”
School officials defend the system, noting that the algorithm is the only piece of data stored; it is used to identify a child’s account. If students opt out of the service, they give their names to the cashier, who manually charges their accounts.
The school system’s goal is to decrease the time between transactions. Children have limited time to eat lunch and there are complaints about children not wanting to wait in a long line.
Khaliah Barnes, open-government counsel with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said that schools should have allowed parents to opt in to the service, rather than out.
“With students, this presents unique privacy threats,” Barnes said. “We’re talking about elementary school students, and that type of technology can make children less inclined to the rights of privacy. Imagine being tracked from age 8 to age 16, and then a university continues to use it, it becomes old hat and makes them less inclined to recognize privacy threats.”
Barnes compared the biometric palm scan to the full-body scans in airports, which became the primary tool for screening passengers in 2010. Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Barnes said, EPIC discovered that, though the body scanners do not record images of passengers, they do have storage capabilities.
Other point-of-sale systems in state schools use a card reader or a PIN to access a child’s account. Sarno said that the drawbacks of such systems — especially for elementary school students — are that the children tend to lose the card or forget the PIN. The palm-reading system also eliminates the possibility of other students lending out their cards or numbers to others.
In the future, parents should be able to pre-pay electronically on their students’ accounts, as well as monitor when and what meals their children are eating. Currently, they can only pre-pay for meals on a child’s account through a check.
I am not feeling it. I know it makes more business sense; the accounting will be much easier. I still don’t like this idea. This is really becoming the world, we used to watch on T.V.