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Fingerprint scanning at elementary school for lunch. Not informed or given a chance to opt out.

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posted on Sep, 12 2016 @ 10:14 AM
a reply to: Shamrock6

Getting a lawyer involved is not my intention, and would more than likely cost me more than the trouble its worth. I would be satisfied if they changed their policy to inform and ask for parental consent before acquiring a minors biometric data. As I said previously I really want to know their policy on the stored data, what happens to it, where it's stored, who can access it and if it gets deleted upon request or withdrawal/opt out of the program.

posted on Sep, 12 2016 @ 10:37 AM

originally posted by: seeker11
a reply to: Phage

I heard some schools are bringing back cursive. I had no idea that many had eliminated it.

A lot of places no longer teach cursive, teachers (grade school in particular) prefer printing too. I've always gotten comments from my teachers in high school and college because I actually write in cursive. Honestly, I would be surprised if they bring it back. It's much more practical these days to get some good typing lessons in 2nd/3rd grade than another style of penmanship.

originally posted by: Metallicus
a reply to: seeker11

I am concerned that school officials were too naive to see this as a major privacy issue. It also seems like the kids are being conditioned to give up this personal information without questioning it so in the future it will just be 'normal' to them.

I am sure that alphabet agencies are loving this.

I don't know when it's going to happen, but years from now when the Patriot Act has faded and America again cares about liberty over security we're going to have a major national conversation over the legality and security of biometric data both in the public and private sector.

The legal argument is that in my mind it's personal data, you own it. The government cannot compel you to give it up, just as they cannot compel you to give up a password or even try and bribe you into doing so without a warrant. In my mind, what I see with biometric data is no different than IP laws over your image. Your image cannot be used without your consent and biometrics are just another type of image.

The security argument is that databases of identifying information put us at risk. The more information that's out there, the more points of failure we create for that data to leak.

In the case of the school my question would be, why can't they just use student ID's with a picture? Is there really a need for high tech tracking? If nothing else it's cheaper to laminate and print some student ID's than it is to buy the biometric hardware.

posted on Sep, 12 2016 @ 11:36 AM
a reply to: seeker11

Well that sucks. It's been awhile since I had kids in school. We were given an application for the free lunch program. I'm a bit suspicious about free stuff so I wouldn't like it either. I wonder if this isn't a result of "Michelle" and her school lunch do-gooding?

At my kid's school it was sometimes a nightmare collecting lunch money. They went to a small town country school, staff allowed kids to "charge" if they forgot their money but some parents/kids took advantage. The school would send home reminders but it was often an effort in futility.

I imagine free lunches for everyone seemed the easiest solution. We only have so much say when it comes to public schools but it never hurts to try. Talk to other parents, school officials, make your concerns known.

Imo as parents one of our toughest jobs is instilling the importance of education in our children. Because of all the BS that goes on in public schools that can be hard to do but if you're honest/convincing kids get it, at least mine did. Good luck to you and your little student.

posted on Sep, 12 2016 @ 01:40 PM
Yes, when the resident police officer shows up here, makes fun of someone wanting to protect your kids future, and says it's cool... that's when you know to lawyer up.

Problem is the system. Record creation as fast as new law creation. Kids do stupid stuff, might as well give the police the best chance.

I wouldn't shrug this nonsense off. The direction of law enforcement hasn't exactly been towards freedom.

Try getting a good job -ever with a pot charge etc....

Harvesting bio data from minors, umhm, nothing to see here.

posted on Sep, 12 2016 @ 01:55 PM
a reply to: seeker11 I guess you could start providing his lunch?

posted on Sep, 12 2016 @ 03:31 PM

originally posted by: Orionx2
Can't hide from the future forever. Just like everyone wigged out about debit cards when they started to come out.....

My previous job (5years ago) we had to use a finger print scanner to clock in and out. They had cards at one point but people kept clocking in their buddies when they were not at work. Eventually they switched to finger print scanner. It actually scans all your fingers not just thumb.

i have to use biometric prints to clock in and out at work currently.

posted on Sep, 12 2016 @ 04:01 PM
a reply to: Morningglory

I get the matter of convenience. In this case though, since hot lunch is free for all the kids, what's the point of fingerprint scans anyhow? They aren't keeping track of kids who owe money for lunches or using their print to pay for lunches from a connected account.

posted on Sep, 12 2016 @ 04:14 PM
a reply to: TinySickTears

Interesting! Times are changing. I just hope that security measures and protections of this sensitive data is up to par.

posted on Sep, 12 2016 @ 04:56 PM
They have this at the school where I work. Parents had to sign for this. You can also have a 4 digit code to use which some opted for.

Lots of parents were worried about their kids' fingerprint being on file but were reassured that the system just translates the fingerprint into a number.

You avoid the loss of cards or codes through the fingerprint which is probably the only advantage. Kids forget codes and lose cards and money and like it or not a teacher can spend their valuable time sorting stuff like that out.

Money can be put on through a payment point or online at home, you can also set a spending limit per day. Parents can monitor what their children are buying and how much they are spending.

We also use the same fingerprint for the printers and photocopiers although you can alternatively use your computer login details which saves time.

It's definitely raising a generation of children who are used to being monitored. Like it or not, it's the future.

posted on Sep, 12 2016 @ 05:15 PM
a reply to: Scallywwagg

Thanks for your response, i always appreciate hearing from someone who has direct experience with this and how it turned out.

posted on Sep, 12 2016 @ 06:16 PM
Quitchur whining. Your kid's biometric data needs to be shared (I had to self-censor a bit right here). Everybody has to sacrifice. And I mean ... EVERYbody.



ETA: If this has to go to court, I hope you tell the judge you don't want anything in terms of monetary compensation. Tell him you want total ownership of every single piece of hardware your kid's digitized fingerprint was transported across or stored on. All of it. Period.

edit on 1292016 by Snarl because: ETA

posted on Sep, 12 2016 @ 08:40 PM

originally posted by: Scallywwagg
Lots of parents were worried about their kids' fingerprint being on file but were reassured that the system just translates the fingerprint into a number.

That's literally what every fingerprint scanning system does. The question you should be asking is what other things that number is attached to. From your post it sounds like they have a student ID which then has a fingerprint ID attached to it alongside an account balance. Does that student ID also do things like track social security numbers, so that in theory this database could be linked to another database in the future?

posted on Sep, 13 2016 @ 04:32 PM
Just a quick update as I received an e-mail from the principal today. So apparently it's not a fingerprint, and they don't release any information to law enforcement or government agencies. Though the topic of getting parental consent wasn't addressed, I'm glad I have the option to opt-out if want to. Also nothing about what happens on opt out-if the information get's deleted permanently or not. I don't really have anything else to add because I haven't looked into this Mealtime Finger scanner technology further, just wanted to share the info I was given.

I just realized that the screen grab I provided is really rather small for reading purposes. Here is a copy and paste of the contents.

First and foremost it is NOT at fingerprint.

Mealtime, our student meal account info system has been offering the finger recognition scanner since 2005, and has been using the technology for at least 5-6 years , and approximately 200 districts use it nationwide.

Additionally here is information on how it works directly from Mealtime: The MealTime Finger Scanner device and software does not store any part of a fingerprint image. At the time of registration, the program measures the distance between several points on a customer’s fingerprint and encodes this information into a binary string of letters and numbers. When the finger scanner is used later in the lunch line, that binary string is called up and the customer is identified. Here are some things that might help you:

· We’ve had this biometric option in schools across the nation for well over 10 years without incident.
· The data kept on the local PC consists of the binary string and customer PIN. No other identifying information is stored.
· Even though the binary string can’t be reconstructed, we still encrypt all the local data, both at rest (on the PC) and in transit (when it’s being used for identification).
· At no point is any of this information shared with any law enforcement, government agency, etc. I know sometimes that’s a concern with parents. Even if the government wanted it, the binary strings would be completely useless to them anyway.

Please also let any concerned parent know they can choose to 'opt out' their student at any time if they are uncomfortable using this technology.

edit on 13-9-2016 by seeker11 because: better sentence structure

edit on 13-9-2016 by seeker11 because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 13 2016 @ 06:39 PM
a reply to: seeker11

That's the very definition of a fingerprint. Despite how it looks on cop drama shows and movies, fingerprint images aren't compared directly. Fingerprint experts used to do that, but that's not done any more because it's highly inaccurate.

Here's a short article on how fingerprint scanning works. This article is directed at mobile phones but it's all pretty similar.

Those points that get picked up are basically a database of values for certain locations on your finger. It gets passed through the computer as a string of data.

This is the claim to look at most closely

At no point is any of this information shared with any law enforcement, government agency, etc. I know sometimes that’s a concern with parents. Even if the government wanted it, the binary strings would be completely useless to them anyway.

As far as I can tell from some research, fingerprint ID'ing is pretty much standardized, particularly in the US on the concept of Galton points. These are the points that are read and compared, a match on 12 of them (out of a little over 100 total) on a fingerprint results in a positive ID. So, if this company is using already existing technology for their fingerprint system, they're likely using this. Which means their claim that it would be useless to a government agency is a lie.

That said, they probably aren't handing over data, but I wonder how long they're retaining previous years data for.

· The data kept on the local PC consists of the binary string and customer PIN. No other identifying information is stored.

That's the point on their security. If it's set up such the customer PIN/student ID is verified, and that then connects to a remote server to pull up student details, then the local PC is simply a matchmaker between fingerprints and code words. So without both pieces, you can't attach a fingerprint to a student. I suspect if they ever did have to hand over information though, they would hand over everything.

Anyways, despite all that... I wouldn't worry about it. The company/school is clearly lying to you here (perhaps not even intentionally, the person passing you that info might not be technically competent either) but it's not a fight worth fighting anyways until we have an actual national movement against stored biometric data.

posted on Sep, 13 2016 @ 07:46 PM
a reply to: Aazadan

Thanks for the information you included with your post. I appreciate it! I had sent off another e-mail for further explanation and the director of child nutrition got back to me within an hour. I'm satisfied that my concerns have at least been taken into consideration and happy that they got back to me so quickly. Whether or not the information provided is factually correct is up to me to do my due diligence. I'm hoping that they will at least follow through with my suggestion and provide this information to parents prior to using the children's information in such a way. Here is our exchange for anyone who is interested in how my questions were addressed.

From me:

Hi ******, I really appreciate your getting back to me in such a timely manner, and thank you for all the information you have provided. It would have been nice to have a form or something explaining the finger scan technology and that it would be in use and at that point given the choice to opt in or out. As my child is a kindergartener, and I am new to the area I had not come across the finger scan technology before, so I was a bit confused. Because I consider the biometric data of a minor to be very sensitive information, I hope you understand my initial concerns regarding this technology, and not being given any information beforehand rather led me to formulate my own conclusions.

Since it's not actually considered a fingerprint and it's not being shared with law enforcement agencies or the government, that puts my mind a bit more at ease. If I chose to opt out, does my sons information get deleted? Or is it stored indefinitely. I'm hoping there is no other identifying information attached to his fingerscan such as SSN? The only other question I have is if the lunches are free what is the point of having finger scans, as I would think that the act of paying for a lunch is why one would want to use the scanner (connected to an account to pay out of)? Thanks very much for your time to answer my questions. Have a great afternoon!

Her response:

Hi ******, You make a great point. This would be good information to provide to parents of all kindergartners and students new to the school so that everyone is aware. I'll put that on my list.

Here are the answers to your other questions:

The students SSN is NOT tied to this scan, only their student ID number, which I believe is only tied to our district's student information system.

The scan is a binary code and is useless outside of the mealtime software. If you opt- out the scans we have for the student's fingers are deleted, and they will need to identify themselves at the point of sale with their name. At that time our point of sale system has each student's school picture embedded and that is how we ensure that student is identifying the correct account. This ensures students don't use each other's meal accounts.

Lastly the free meals offered at ******* and ******* is a temporary status and these two schools may not always qualify for this benefit as student populations are constantly changing. Because of that, we have all of our large elementary schools using the same point of sale hard and software. We also need to utilize the system for accurate meal counting for state and federal reimbursements.

Please let me know if any other questions arise.

edit on 13-9-2016 by seeker11 because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 13 2016 @ 08:10 PM
a reply to: PhyllidaDavenport

It's exactly the same at my sons school. He decided he wanted to try it out so i went ahead and signed all the paperwork only for him to decide he hated the food choices a week later.
Tried sending him with packed lunches and they did the same thing, checking to make sure there's no 'unsuitable items' and wasting half of their lunch time. He refuses to take any lunch now because of this.

posted on Sep, 13 2016 @ 08:22 PM
a reply to: Settledstar891

That sucks! I sent him some crackers and cheese for a snack, because I know he's a really picky eater and thought well I'll send him a little snack of something I'm sure he likes in case he doesn't like all the food choices that day. He told me that the teacher told him he wasn't allowed to bring a snack unless he brought his own lunch. He told me she threw out the snack, I thought maybe he was telling a fib, but now I'm not so sure it's out of the realm of possibilities. I know at his prior preschool we were not allowed to send anything like cookies for desert etc. He used to adore peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches but we weren't allowed to send those because of peanut allergies and he didn't like the approved alternative of sunflower nut butter or whatever it's called. School is complicated these days! Back in my day...oh never mind now I just sound old.

edit on 13-9-2016 by seeker11 because: (no reason given)

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