Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Death of Liberty By a Thousand Fingerprints

There's nothing like having a society that justifies everything "for the children". In this case, it's an overeager food service manager wanting to make sure students have enough time to eat. The solution? An expensive biometric system with which kids pay for lunch, naturally:,8599,1665119,00.html

Apparently schools have used this system in other ways in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

Best/worst line in the article:
"Now Tom McCraley, the 760-student school district's superintendent, says that before considering finger scanning, 'I'd want to make sure parents had a full understanding about it.'"

It's the same old line, time and again: If people just understood [fill in the privacy invasion], then suddenly they'd be OK with it. What's so hard about the idea that parents don't want their children tracked, scanned, monitored, and controlled by other people? Before Tom McCraley or any other superintendents take up their posts on the taxpayer doll, I'd want to make sure they have a full understanding about privacy rights and parental choice.

Personally, I think this is a great case study in how one error leads to another. For example:

"Allen says the system has helped add at least 10 minutes to lunch periods that in some schools last just 20 minutes. "

My first thought about this article was: what's so hard about giving the students 10 extra minutes for lunch?

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