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Schools Face Controversy Using Students' Biometrics

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Resurgent phoenix
Resurgent phoenix  
2/8/2014 2:30:23 PM
User Rank Burgher
Re: Here come the laws
Mary you stated shredding photos to protect kids and AShepard Stated," Remote tracking using facial or voice recognition bothers me most" Once this information has been retrieved the vein system in the hand, the fingerprint, etc. I believe Technology can be created to read this information without the individuals knowledge. A persons whole daily, weekly, Monthly, Yearly, etc... activites can be tracked. They can be placed in buckets with people of similiar characters or even guided, controlled. I read an article stating facebook knows what you are thinking by reading your eye movement. Do you think we will all be taked and RFID will read our movements and choices without us being aware of it. That would give some entity too much knowledge, big data, control and power.

Alan Reiter
Alan Reiter  
2/7/2014 10:55:59 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Here come the laws
Hi Mary,

I didn't think abut that. Would low income, middle class and wealthy parents and/or students react differently to biometric data capture? I don't know, and I haven't seen any studies about it. I wouldn't be surprised if there are differences.

If that's the case, then schools could adjust their communications to appeal to the majority of the school's income base. 

That's one way to improve the efficiency of the message. Of course, some people will say it's not appropriate to provide different arguments based on income level, but it's done all the time in all types of communications.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
2/7/2014 9:11:06 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Here come the laws
Something we haven't touched on in this discussion is how biometrics will be accepted or implemented in specific urban demographics. In wealthy areas, the reception may be a lot different than in poorer ones.

Alan Reiter
Alan Reiter  
2/6/2014 6:05:05 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Here come the laws
Hi Mary,

Communicating the advantages is one way to ameliorate -- but not eliminate -- the concerns over biometrics. Schools need to effectively elaborate the advantages.

But as I also tried to highlight in the blog, there's a question in my mind about whether biometrics to control and manage students justifies their use. Do the ends justify the means? I suspect that in increasing numbers many schools with sufficient funds will test these systems and they will spread and evolve to include all types of capabilities.

Much as I like technology, I wonder whether schools are turning into an Orwellian society of finger scanning, vein scanning, iris scanning and facial recognition. (As Yakov Smirnoff might say, "In schools, television watch you!") 

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
2/6/2014 11:42:19 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Here come the laws
So it sure sounds as though communicating the realities of biometrics is key to making them work effectively -- and to ensuring that privacy is maintained at the same time. I too don't see any revolution here -- but a rocky evolution as people learn more about the technology and what to expect.

Alan Reiter
Alan Reiter  
2/6/2014 1:14:39 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Here come the laws
Hi Terry,

Perhaps one of the major challenges for cities is not how to preserve privacy --which is fading away -- but how to ensure that giving up privacy results in significant benefits.

Alan Reiter
Alan Reiter  
2/6/2014 1:04:54 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Here come the laws
Hi Mary,

As I commented to Terry, integrating chips into people is inevitable and will have many benefits, from locating youngsters who are lost and people with Alzheimer's who wander off to relaying a huge amount of medical analysis. No tongue-in-cheek -- it will happen and will be valuable for many people.

Of course, there are the dystopian aspects, but that's another subject.

Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
2/6/2014 1:02:22 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Here come the laws
Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful reply, Alan. I think I actually quite agree with you in re the privacy issue. There will be no revolution. Game over.

Alan Reiter
Alan Reiter  
2/6/2014 1:00:34 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Here come the laws
Hi Terry,

I haven't read any articles about children in this country being outfitted with subdermal chips, although I did read about a Texas school that wanted students to wear chips. The school eventually abandonned the idea, though.

However, the concept is still under consideration for people with Alzheimer's and other similar conditions. And locator chips have been inserted into executives in countries with a significant number of kidnappings. I see integrating microprocessors into humans as inveitable, with lots of value in many situations.

Alan Reiter
Alan Reiter  
2/6/2014 12:53:02 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Relics of a bygone era
Hi Terry,

Good point about the younger generation being less concerned (or so it seems) about privacy since they are willing to provide a host of information about themselves, including photos, in exchange for useful (or supposedly useful) services.

This generational gap will be a major sticking point (stumbling block) because children younger than 18 years old will need their parent's permission to "give up" their biometric data. Many parents aren't free and easy about privacy. Perhaps this will all be moot when today's children are tomorrow's parents and privacy is pretty much an antediluvian concept for them.

I don't think whether "our ever-increasing reliance on technology requires us to sacrifice privacy and anonymity, and/or living and working offgrid" is a hard question at all. The answer is absolutely yes. Unless there is a revolution in this country ("remember, remember the fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot....), privacy increasingly will fade away.

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