I am posting this on here with my full name because I HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE, but I have EVERYTHING TO FEAR when the state starts to fingerprint children. (This has been sent to a number of department locally and nationally and is the result of the FOI's that are already posted on here in another thread).
To Whomever it may concern,
I wish to file a full complaint against Flintshire County Council concerning the implementation of the new biometric cashless catering system in Flintshire schools. This is a disgraceful squandering of taxpayers money and the council cannot even provide a breakdown of the full benefits versus cost. At the bottom of this email are a list of questions that I filed with the council under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the answers state that no cost versus benefit analysis has been completed concerning the spending of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
I have yet to be provided with ONE full benefit to MY children by anyone. Never have I come across such incompetence and blatant disregard for the welfare of the taxpayer - us people who pay our taxes in good faith expecting it to be spent with honesty and integrity. This is a disgrace.
Attached is the original letter from Mold Alun school that was sent to parents concerning this system, this letter was drafted and written by the legal department at Flintshire County Council. It states that the council intends to roll this system out across the entire county.
I am deeply deeply unhappy that Flintshire County Council has NOT carried out a cost versus benefit analysis concerning the implementation of biometric systems. How can any council justify spending over £25,000 per school without even fully exploring whether or not this will be of enough benefit to the children? Do you not agree that £25,000 could be put to much greater use within the Alun? Also the implementation of this system was not fully discussed with parents or other elected council members. I thought that we lived in a democracy not a totalitarian state.
I would also like to respond to the 'commonly perceived benefits' cited by Lawrence in the answer to question 1 at the bottom of this email:
The first argument, that students do not need to bring cash with them except when their account needs topping up, is ludicrous. The child still has to take money for bus fairs, school trips, snack money, in fact for everything else except the canteen, AND actually they still have to bring in money to top up their account! This is inconvenient and schools in other areas now have to take teachers off playground duty to monitor the children topping up their accounts as they are bringing in large amounts of money at once. It is also important that our children learn the value of money and how to use it, how else will they understand our monetary system and its workings? This is a fundamental part of living in our capitalist society.
The second argument that balance statements can be obtained to ensure that you child is eating healthily is easily dismissed by the fact that all junk food is marked on the bill as 'miscellaneous' and only health food is itemised.
Thirdly, and I do like the emotive angle for this one, children who have 'state funded' meals will not be discriminated against as they cannot be identified by their peers. Never have I heard such rubbish in my life. To fingerprint an entire school for such an insubstantial claim is absurd. How many complaints have been made to schools by pupils or parents, concerning discrimination of this nature? And if this level of discrimination is proving to be rife then exactly what 'anti-discrimination' policies and lessons are the schools implementing in order to combat this?
Finally, the manufacturers claim that this system will prevent children from being bullied for their lunch money. When I asked our
fourteen-year-old son and eleven-year-old daughter about this they thought the idea hilarious, "This isn't some American teen movie," was the reply. Out of the mouths of babes? Again, if bullying is as prevalent in the education system as these manufacturers claim then the schools need to have clear policies for dealing with this sort of behaviour, and actually they do.
These four reasons listed above, or variations of these reasons, are justification for treating our children like criminals and terrorists. These four pathetic reasons explain why our children are being institutionalised to accept disgraceful levels of monitoring at a young and impressionable age. These four reasons, devised by private marketing departments, not parents, or schools, cannot be accepted. Not by the parents. Not by the schools. Not by the governments we elect.
More children are eating a hot meal at lunchtime? How many EXACTLY? And if they are buying chips then it can hardly be perceived as a healthy eating benefit can it? When did we stop trusting our children? Is treating them like criminals and not even allowing them the freedom to choose their own lunch really the way to go with this?
Also it is an absolute disgrace that Flintshire Council have NO CONCRETE EVIDENCE illustrating the benefits of these systems to children, they just have a list of 'commonly perceived benefits????'
My investigations are making it clear to me that Flintshire County Council have decided to fingerprint children across the entire county without consultation or proper investigations and this cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.
There is a wealth of evidence now to prove that these systems CAN be hacked into and the data can be re-converted into a fingerprint that could then be mis-used if it fell into the wrong hands. Is it so wrong of me to demand that our children's sensitive biometric data is kept out of the hands of criminals? The only way to ensure that this data is not misused is to NOT collect it in the first place, what is wrong with using swipe cards or PIN numbers?
Please read the following:
Schools that introduce fingerprinting usually try to reassure parents by saying "the system does not store a fingerprint, just a number. It is not possible to reconstruct an image of a fingerprint from what is stored".
The short answer is that fingerprint templates are what is stored on these systems. These are the equivalent of fingerprints - rather like the difference between a drawing and a photo - otherwise the systems simply wouldn't work.
Police, the security services, and governments use fingerprint templates to identify criminals.
There are international standards to ensure that biometric templates from different manufacturers are compatible - so what's stored on one system can be read by any other, including government systems.
Where fingerprint templates are stored in an encrypted form, it is impossible for anyone to guarantee that this won't be broken during a person's entire lifetime. A PIN number can easily be changed. A fingerprint, and the template dervived from it, cannot ever be changed.
Moreover, the Government has the power to demand encryption keys from the system supplier, under the terms of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part III.
In the future, fingerprint templates will be used to authenticate passports, bank accounts, etc. Thus biometric templates are extremely valuable and need to be kept in a highly secure environment.
In addition, fingerprint templates can be used to rapidly link different databases and to build up a disturbingly accurate profile of an individual without their knowledge or consent.
The US government's official National Science & Technology Council says you CAN reconstruct a fingerprint image from a fingerprint template.
Government security experts have successfully hacked the fingerprint scanners used in schools.
Schools cannot possibly provide the level of security necessary to protect children's data.
A school might not even be aware that children's data had been compromised until it was far too late.
(info taken from http://www.leavethemkidsalone.com/facts.htm
Many thanks for your time, I look forward to hearing from you,