For Profit Third Party Corporation to Control Our Children's Permanent Bio Data
Emery Asks: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
It would appear Big Brother is set to arrive this August at an Emery school near you. If he's not quite here yet, he's busy setting up shop. That's because the Emery Unified School District has announced to parents that they are handing over to Fujitsu USA, the world's third largest IT service provider, the contract to bio-metrically scan and store the children's palm data as they que up for lunches this coming school year starting in August. It's all to save money the School District says but it's a slippery slope for children's personal privacy rights says the American Civil Liberties Union and concerned parents.
A spokesperson for Emery says the bio scan near-infrared palm blood vein readers will improve the speed of the lunch lines and the accuracy of lunch counts and sales. They maintain Fujitsu, a corporation that partners with thousands of independent software vendors, consultants and systems integrators in its cloud based platform, will not store the children's information for anytime more than each discreet lunch period. Emery didn't elaborate on how Fujitsu will know who is who day to day among the children without bio database storage however.
|Do kindergarteners understand the risks associated |
with giving a for profit corporation their permanent
Some aren't convinced about the promises of confidentiality coming from the School District on behalf of Fujitsu Inc.
Bio-metric data is notoriously unchangeable. If it happens that the unique characteristics used for bio-metric authentication are compromised, the affected person has no possibility for revocation or to get new ones issued. In addition, bio-metric databases themselves can be considered a threat to privacy. Such data may be used as unique identifiers and thus enable linking to other databases for purposes of profiling. For instance bio-metric data may be used to identify health risks which may raise future desires for access to the data by health insurance companies, banks and advertising.
|Fujitsu says they can be trusted with our|
children's bio-scan data forever. As a corporation,
they will be able to resist temptation to use the data
for something else even if it will increase profits.
Emery Unified stands by them.
Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the ACLU in Washington said of the palm scanners in general, "If it's a technology that works really well, it won't be long before you're offering your palm in a lot of different locations, and you will be concerned about who's got access to that information and what they want to do with it." One parent in another school district said of the lunchtime school lunch bio scanners proliferating in school districts across California, "I understand taking an iris scan of a pilot at an airport so you know who's flying the plane. This is that level of equipment they're installing in a line that serves steamed corn".
Emery says parents will be allowed to opt their children out of the bio scanner system by filling out a form available at the schools.
The District didn't say how much money they are paying to Fujitsu to set up the new system but in a letter to parents about the Fujitsu contract they noted they look forward to "the benefits this new technology will provide to Emery children."