8300 Scottish schoolchildren to be biometrically fingerprinted

By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

A political row is erupting in Scotland after it emerged that 8,300 Scottish schoolchildren are to be biometrically fingerprinted at a cost of 20,000 pounds ($37,300) per school per year.   As well as the staggering cost, angry parents are also voicing their opposition to the Big Brother privacy intrusions into their children’s lives.

It’s all part of a pilot scheme which is being tested at eight secondary schools (high schools) at East Dunbartonshire.    Supporters of the scheme are citing the advantages of the fingerprinting database including class attendance monitoring, better monitoring of library book borrowing and the buying of school meals (and the end of stigma for those who receive free meals).

One government minister even went on television when I was on holiday in Scotland last week to say that a major benefit of the scheme was that when school bullying occurred, they would have the fingerprints on file to say who did what and they would then be able to track down the bully or bullies involved.   I’m sorry but I just don’t personally see teachers dusting down a scene, lifting prints like a crime scene tech and matching them to ones on a database.   I don’t see stressed-out over-worked teachers being that diligent – and if a bully thinks there is a chance of his or her prints being lifted, what’s to stop them wearing gloves?

Critics are predictably raising the spectre of George Orwell and 1984, asking who would be controlling the information and what would be done with it.   They are also kicking up a fuss about the cost, saying this sudden influx of cash should be better spent on books and other educational materials.

If your child was to be biometrically fingerprinted at school, would you allow it?   Or would you refuse, just as a matter of principle?   Do you see any positive aspects to this scheme or is it all a waste of money?

If it was my child, I wouldn’t allow it.   I see this as a gross intrusion of privacy.   I was biometrically photographed at Heathrow Airport and for some reason it still unsettles me 6 days later.   Maybe part of me wonders where that photo is being stored now?   This fingerprint scheme is no different.   If someone took my child’s fingerprint, where would it go?  What would be done with it?   To quote an oft-used phrase “a slippery slope”

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18 Responses to 8300 Scottish schoolchildren to be biometrically fingerprinted

  1. no way anyone will do that to my children.

    That is insanity.

    The TSA proves that tighter and tighter 'security' is only as strong as the level of intelligence the person enforcing it has.

    • Oh, shut up. You'll bend over and take it because there's no choice but revolution. The public is too pussified to take up arms and stop it, because it means that their 'precious snowflake' might be injured by shrapnel or something. My children know how to hunt, fish and work. What about yours?

      • You're an offensive turd. I suppose by 'the public' you mean everyone but yourself? So I assume that you're in the process of starting the revolution then, since it's the only way you're in a position to make such statements. Guess what? Prancing around web message boards saying everyone's a pussy for not starting a revolution means that you'd better damn well be in the process of starting one yourself.

  2. no way anyone will do that to my children.
    That is insanity.

    The TSA proves that tighter and tighter ‘security’ is only as strong as the level of intelligence the person enforcing it has.

    • Oh, shut up. You’ll bend over and take it because there’s no choice but revolution. The public is too pussified to take up arms and stop it, because it means that their ‘precious snowflake’ might be injured by shrapnel or something. My children know how to hunt, fish and work. What about yours?

      • You’re an offensive turd. I suppose by ‘the public’ you mean everyone but yourself? So I assume that you’re in the process of starting the revolution then, since it’s the only way you’re in a position to make such statements. Guess what? Prancing around web message boards saying everyone’s a pussy for not starting a revolution means that you’d better damn well be in the process of starting one yourself.

  3. It has nothing to do with security, it has nothing to do with convenience, it has nothing to do with bullying, school meals or library books, it is only, -ONLY- about control.

  4. It has nothing to do with security, it has nothing to do with convenience, it has nothing to do with bullying, school meals or library books, it is only, -ONLY- about control.

  5. The reason this is so worrying is because it's about getting people used to having their biometrics taken and used every day. If you've seen it everyday at school you'll be much less likely to worry about a new measure that involves it when you're an adult. Much like the adoption of id cards there are government papers on methods of getting people used to the idea. The terminal 5 biometrics are exactly the same – make the idea commonplace.

  6. The reason this is so worrying is because it’s about getting people used to having their biometrics taken and used every day. If you’ve seen it everyday at school you’ll be much less likely to worry about a new measure that involves it when you’re an adult. Much like the adoption of id cards there are government papers on methods of getting people used to the idea. The terminal 5 biometrics are exactly the same – make the idea commonplace.

  7. I think it's a great idea, if a little expensive. Why is everyone reacting with horror?

    Isn't the use of names also a 'gross intrusion of privacy' – through this method (of "naming people") we get to know who did something. Isn't that person having his privacy intruded upon?

    Seems to me fingerprinting is very efficient in finding out who did something, is that the problem?

  8. I think it’s a great idea, if a little expensive. Why is everyone reacting with horror?

    Isn’t the use of names also a ‘gross intrusion of privacy’ – through this method (of “naming people”) we get to know who did something. Isn’t that person having his privacy intruded upon?

    Seems to me fingerprinting is very efficient in finding out who did something, is that the problem?

  9. Ok, so let me get this straight: it's perfectly fine to let (a company like) Google track and store your every email, keyword searches, notes, pictures, videos, blog posts, agenda, medical information, etc… without even knowing exactly what Google does (or will do) with that information, but when a government introduces biometrics to make things more efficient, you all suddenly call for "revolution" and scream "intrusion of privacy!", "big brother is watching us!"…

    Seriously people… what the fuck?

    Don't get me wrong, I have my doubts about the real efficiency of biometrics (I'd prefer the magnetic card we use at my university e.g.), but I think it's good they are experimenting with it on a small scale before introducing it to the masses. It's NOT about "giving up your privacy" (lol, like you had that before), it's about simplifying things. Welcome to the 21st century…

  10. Ok, so let me get this straight: it’s perfectly fine to let (a company like) Google track and store your every email, keyword searches, notes, pictures, videos, blog posts, agenda, medical information, etc… without even knowing exactly what Google does (or will do) with that information, but when a government introduces biometrics to make things more efficient, you all suddenly call for “revolution” and scream “intrusion of privacy!”, “big brother is watching us!”…

    Seriously people… what the fuck?

    Don’t get me wrong, I have my doubts about the real efficiency of biometrics (I’d prefer the magnetic card we use at my university e.g.), but I think it’s good they are experimenting with it on a small scale before introducing it to the masses. It’s NOT about “giving up your privacy” (lol, like you had that before), it’s about simplifying things. Welcome to the 21st century…

  11. "Maybe part of me wonders where that photo is being stored now? "

    There is no photo. When you register your fingerprint, all that is stored is information about the relative position of certain points in your fingerprint, and the distance between those points. This is stored mathematically, and there is no way your fingerprint can be recalled based on that information.

  12. “Maybe part of me wonders where that photo is being stored now? ”

    There is no photo. When you register your fingerprint, all that is stored is information about the relative position of certain points in your fingerprint, and the distance between those points. This is stored mathematically, and there is no way your fingerprint can be recalled based on that information.

  13. I'm with Mark, I don't see how getting fingerprints from children is going to make anything more efficient or easier. What do you need the fingerprints for? It's not a police station, it's a school.

    I don't care too much about the privacy thing, and even though I'm not affected by this I still think that's a lot of money to be spent on something that seems so ambiguous.

  14. I’m with Mark, I don’t see how getting fingerprints from children is going to make anything more efficient or easier. What do you need the fingerprints for? It’s not a police station, it’s a school.

    I don’t care too much about the privacy thing, and even though I’m not affected by this I still think that’s a lot of money to be spent on something that seems so ambiguous.

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