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Fingerprint Fury: Parents Angry at Schools

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An interesting piece in Engadget today points to parents, angry that schools are fingerprinting their children without parental knowledge or consent.

According to the report, which originated at the UK Register, over 70 schools in the UK’s country of Cumbria took fingerprints from students and provided a database of the results to local law enforcement officials. Thus, instead of the police getting fingerprint database from arrests and legitimate means, schools have forced children to submit their identities to the government.

Reaction has been passionate so far as lawsuits are considered, and one cause, Leave Them Kids Alone, has appeared as a repository for concerned and angry parents. The ramshackle website lists related news articles and developments. One article from the Telegraph shows nursery children have been fingerprinted at ages as low as three, a plan one Scottish official called “totally over the top and bizarre.” The nursery’s reason for taking toddlers’ fingerprints? They wanted to make sure children returned their library books on time.

Distressed parents and supportive officials are now getting together to determine the best course of action. Their cries seem to be resonating at some levels. The UKs Evening Telegram and Post reported one city has promised parents this practice will not go on in their schools.

One official told the paper that in regards to fingerprinting: “Dundee City Council does not operate this system in any of its schools. It ran in some schools years ago, but was dropped. The scheme was analysed (SIC) at the time, and it was decided not to progress with it.”

The same article did report, however, that biometric recognition systems have been used in the past to allow children to purchase school lunches in place of the traditional “milk money.”

Adding to the individual rights controversy, Engadget also reported Walt Disney World has started to collect the fingerprints of everyone that enters their parks and store mathematical representations of the same in a database. The report cites the necessity to protect Disney from ticket counterfeiting as the reason for taking prints off each park visitor.

This is a frightening state of affairs as Magic Kingdom and Epcot join Area 51 and NORAD as facilities you may need to provide fingerprint scans to access.

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