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What this school district just started doing to innocent children has privacy advocates outraged

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Privacy advocates are concerned about what looks to them like Big Brother overreach in an Illinois elementary school.

The Harrison Street Elementary School in Geneva has installed a new thumbprint scanner for students to pay for their meals and keep track of their accounts, Daily Herald reported.

“It’s good, because you don’t have to carry your own money or anything like that,” Quinlan Bobeczko told the Herald. “It’s just there. Your thumb is easy, because you just have to put your thumb on (the device).”

“As a parent, I love it,” principal Brenna Westerhoff opined.

The thumb scanners replaced another biometric device by PushCoin Inc. that the school used last year. These types of devices are growing in popularity and other districts are looking to implement the scanners, the Herald reported.

But not everyone thinks they are a good idea.

“We’re getting so used to giving up data about ourselves,” child psychology professor Laura Kastner told the Herald.

“At some point, Big Brother is going to have a lot of information on us and where is that going to go?” she added. “And that’s just for parents to consider. But from a kid point of view, they have no idea what they’re giving up and, once again, the slippery slope in what’s called habituation.”

American Civil Liberties spokesman Ed Yohnka agreed.

“I think it undermines the notion of really thinking about the importance of your biometrics as a matter of privacy,” Yohnka told the Herald. “I think in this age, when so much is available and so much is accessible online about us and there is all of this information that floats out there, to begin to include in this one’s biometrics, it really does raise some legitimate concerns.”

Parents are able to opt out and use a card if they want to.

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Carmine Sabia


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