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D.C. schools plan photo IDs, fingerprinting of students

By dgreality in MLP
Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 08:46:19 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

An article in today's Washington Post reveals that the public schools in the nation's capital plan to take fingerpints and create photo ID cards for students between the ages of 2 and 14. The cards will feature "bar codes that can be scanned by authorities." Parents have to give permission for their children to be included in the program, but it has already drawn "intense criticism from privacy advocates."


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D.C. schools plan photo IDs, fingerprinting of students | 24 comments (24 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Time to rename the schools (2.80 / 5) (#1)
by Sikpup on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 04:56:24 PM EST

Orwell high, the Animal Farm Unified School District, etc.

Actually its the DMV that is to administer the program for state purposes, rather than the schools.

The end result will be a nice neat database of all the kids in the district, bundled up in the perfect package to be sold to commercial interests. And given how financially responsible DC has been in the past...

I don't know about anyone else, but I spend a fair amount of time getting myself removed from this kind of thing. I sure as hell wouln't allow my kids (when I have them) to be put into a system like that. Bad enough with all the taxes and medical paperwork without filling another database somewhere.

Big brother is still coming on strong...


Old stuff (4.33 / 3) (#3)
by davidduncanscott on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 05:18:02 PM EST

The end result will be a nice neat database of all the kids in the district, bundled up in the perfect package to be sold to commercial interests.
Maybe it was different when you went to grade school, but back in my day (and, as it happens, I attended Lafayette Elementary in DC) the school already knew my name, address, and phone number. Furthermore we had class pictures every year, not every two years, so if anything they had better data.

What they didn't have was my fingerprints, but I can't see a whole big commercial market for those ("Look, you'll be able to advertise your product directly to people whose right thumbs are a two-point match for John Dillinger!").

On the other hand, in my single year of DC junior high (my family moved to Baltimore after that), I was shaken down daily for the student bus tickets. Had that service been tied to a card with my pic on it, rather than an anonymous slip of paper, there would have been much less market for them and I might not have walked home so many times.

[ Parent ]

What is the issue? (4.28 / 7) (#2)
by Signal 11 on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 04:57:22 PM EST

What's the issue here...

Is it that kids are 'chattle' (human cattle) in society - owned by their parents who can do as they please with them, short of abuse? That they have no say in this wonderful "for your protection" system?

Is it that it's another example in a long string of pre-emptive criminalizing by Big Brother - the lack of trust of the common citizen?

Is it that fingerprinting and photo ID cards are somehow going to improve the security of the schools - or not?

And why exactly do "privacy" advocates care - you leave your fingerprints on everything you touch, and for the most part people don't run around with bags on their heads (although that's an option if you're really concerned about, say, a camera stealing your soul)? I mean, is this really "personal" information?

And lastly, who here really believes that it will "improve the search for missing children"? If they have been kidnapped/raped/killed/imprisoned, or something along similar lines - the point is they're not going to school. So the only remaining possibility is to catch non-custodial parents who are on the run with their kids. But it's not practical to run the fingerprints of each kid who starts school - it would overwhelm the database. 10% of the US population is under the age of 18, approximately - that's 28 million kids that would need to be scanned every august when school starts. Do 'ya think their "centralized database" could handle the load if it was rolled out nationally?

So I'm left to wonder - is the real reason here another initiative by the police to get everyone into "the system" ? I tend to think it is... so let's drop the charade about it being "for the kids", and be honest here - it's to be a deterrent to crime.




--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

I have issues (4.75 / 4) (#4)
by dennis on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 05:49:21 PM EST

Fingerprints compress rather well, so a database this large would not be overwhelming at all on, say, a hefty Oracle server. Even if it were overwhelming now, give it a couple more years and it won't be.

And yeah, I leave my fingerprints on everything I touch, but they don't come with attached barcodes that say who they belong to. Unless some government goon is running around behind me and dusting my doorknobs, they won't know who left my fingerprints. And I kinda like it that way.

In A Deepness in the Sky, Vernor Vinge has a concept he calls "ubiquitous law enforcement"--the point at which a society's surveillance becomes perfect, and committing a crime impossible. He argues that this is the death knell for any society...and I think he's right. I don't want my government to have absolute power to enforce whatever law they can come up with. If they have to spend significant resources to catch each criminal, they have to focus on the ones who do serious harm, and leave the average citizen alone.

Not that we're anywhere close to ULE yet, but this is a viewpoint that is lost in rhetoric that implies that anything that might catch a criminal is worthwhile. Having limits on how many criminals we can catch is a good thing. It keeps us from passing laws that make too many people into criminals.

[ Parent ]

finding missing children. (4.00 / 1) (#9)
by rebelcool on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 07:38:53 PM EST

by having recent fingerprints of your child, if they become missing, and police find your child's fingerprints somewhere (such as part of another investigation) they know your child was there.

Some people dont have good photos of their children around (or are at a bad angle and so on), a good photo ID photo can help identify them.

These programs have existed for years....

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Er... (1.50 / 2) (#10)
by Signal 11 on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 08:12:53 PM EST

no need for 'recent' fingerprints... any age will do. I understand they don't tend to change much!


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]
sort of (3.00 / 1) (#11)
by rebelcool on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 08:55:09 PM EST

as you get older, your fingers grow. Once you reach a certain age, you're right. However, these are *children* who are growing at a very fast rate.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

This is different (3.00 / 1) (#12)
by swr on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 09:02:11 PM EST

These programs have existed for years....

Read the article? This is different:

Although local law enforcement agencies and private organizations have long snapped photos and taken fingerprints for parents to use in the event of a child's disappearance, the District's initiative is fundamentally different because the government is to maintain the information.


[ Parent ]
A friend of mine did this (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by dennis on Thu Aug 16, 2001 at 09:05:33 AM EST

The difference is that she has the only copy of the prints. If and only if one of her kids goes missing she'll turn over his prints to the police.

I've noticed this with most social benefits that are presented as justifications for some sort of privacy infringement - you can achieve the same benefit without infringing on privacy. For example:

1) Cell phone companies are required under a recent law to be able to locate any phone to within 100 meters. Claimed benefit - finding people when they call 911. Alternate implementation - build a GPS into the phone, and have it transmit its location when 911 is dialed. This would make the phone a bit more expensive, but GPS units are cheaper all the time, there's no upgrade to the cell network, and the user would have the option of getting the GPS or not. Plus, it would be much more accurate - a couple meters instead of 100.

2) Toll booths are being eliminated. Instead you'll set up an account, and a little transceiver in your car will let the electronic booth know who you are, so it can debit your account. Now we're tracking everyone who drives on the toll road. Alternate implementation - same hardware, but using anonymous digital cash instead of an identified account. This has been done in Europe and works well.

[ Parent ]

So Don't Do It (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by AArthur on Thu Aug 16, 2001 at 11:15:16 AM EST

First off, the goverment shouldn't be keeping records of your turnpike use for anything but billing -- and they shouldn't be kept for months after the billing is done -- at least that's changing -- NYS for example is working on privacy legislation for EZ-Pass, of course like most things, ass first.

With cellphones, you really don't have to have one. Honest. I don't have one. So nobody is going to know where I am.

With Ez-Pass and the a like, you can still pay in cash, and I'm sure it will be like that for a long time. Some of us drive on toll highways once a year or less. That makes having a EZ-Pass rather silly, and even sillier to require one. Heck, the amount I drive on toll highways, I would find it more convient to just take non-toll US highways (even though they are slower -- they are much more fun to drive).

Andrew B. Arthur | aarthur@imaclinux.net | http://hvcc.edu/~aa310264
[ Parent ]

hah. (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by rebelcool on Thu Aug 16, 2001 at 01:19:03 PM EST

With cellphones, you really don't have to have one. Honest. I don't have one. So nobody is going to know where I am.

You dont need a computer either. You're alot easier to track via your IP :)

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

(Offtopic) Cards in the mail (3.00 / 1) (#16)
by Blarney on Thu Aug 16, 2001 at 12:06:31 AM EST

So the only remaining possibility is to catch non-custodial parents who are on the run with their kids.

I hate to be offtopic, but does anybody else get those damn cards in the mail with "Have you seen this child" and it's a kid with some older person who is obviously a parent or close relative of the kid, and sometimes they even share a last name, and they urge you to call the number and snitch.....

Somehow I think they're stretching the truth when they spin it to make it sound like complete strangers have grabbed this adorable moppet and you must help rescue it.

[ Parent ]

I think it is a good idea (3.00 / 1) (#21)
by tzanger on Thu Aug 16, 2001 at 03:11:28 PM EST

Somehow I think they're stretching the truth when they spin it to make it sound like complete strangers have grabbed this adorable moppet and you must help rescue it.

I don't know about you, but if my wife and I were to divorce and I have sole custody and she takes the kids and runs, I'd sure appreciate all the help I could get in finding her and getting my kids back.



[ Parent ]
It would be my business HOW? (none / 0) (#22)
by Blarney on Thu Aug 16, 2001 at 04:47:45 PM EST

Why would enforcing some stupid divorce agreement be my business? Especially an agreement so odious to one of the parties that she felt she had no choice but to become a fugitive?

Hire yer own thugs.



[ Parent ]

How about a little rewrite? (none / 0) (#24)
by tzanger on Sat Aug 18, 2001 at 05:30:13 PM EST

Why would enforcing some stupid divorce agreement be my business? Especially an agreement so odious to one of the parties that she felt she had no choice but to become a fugitive?

Why would enforcing some stupid criminal conviction be my business? Especially a conviction so odious to the criminal that she felt she had no choice but to become a fugitive?

Give me a break. Some people are pretty messed up. Sometimes you don't know that until well after it's too late. And especially when it involves children as (young) kids can be totally blind to their parent's errors since their parents are their everything.



[ Parent ]
Its to shorten the processing time (3.50 / 2) (#5)
by Sawzall on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 06:01:31 PM EST

when they bring the kids to Central Booking. Given that more than 1/2 of all African-American Males in DC under 25 are involved in the criminal justice system, this just speeds up the processing time. Also given that most parents with two cents to rub together send their kids to private school, the kid's parents probably won't be able to complain.

Its sarcasm, for the humor impaired. DC schools are just a nightmare. The kids have to work hard to get an education. Fucked up beyound all belief. But they spend more than $12,000 per student.

This is not the solution.

why? (3.00 / 2) (#6)
by core10k on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 07:27:48 PM EST

Why is Washington such a hell hole? Ottawa is sanitary and sterile, especially in comparison with Washington. It just doesn't make sense... this is where all the money goes, after all.

[ Parent ]
it's not a state. (3.50 / 2) (#8)
by rebelcool on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 07:35:50 PM EST

thats its chief problem. It's a special territory, and thus doesnt get alot of the money that states do. The people of D.C. couldnt even vote in presidential elections until recently.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

wookay (2.00 / 1) (#13)
by core10k on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 09:03:47 PM EST

That's... something I did not know... anyone have links to information on Washington as special place?

[ Parent ]
Problems of Washington, DC (4.00 / 1) (#18)
by Merk00 on Thu Aug 16, 2001 at 09:45:35 AM EST

There are several major problems with Washington. The first is that it's an urban center. It's also an urban center with no downtown (no building can be higher than the US Capitol). This means there aren't any large companies to act as a tax base. Also, there are very few affluent areas of Washington (everyone with money lives in southern Maryland or northern Virginia). This also decreases the tax base. So basically, the main thing Washington has going against it is its size: it's too small. There has been perodic talk of Maryland taking back Washington, DC (Maryland donated the land that is now part of Washington, DC) but the generic response from Maryland is no (heck, I'd vote against it, Washington would be a money sink and Baltimore City is bad enough).

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

and this is bad...WHY? (3.33 / 3) (#7)
by rebelcool on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 07:33:12 PM EST

programs like this have existed for years as an aid to find missing children.

All through my junior and high school (and now college) years I had a photo id card with a barcode on it. It doubled as a library card.

Get a grip on reality. Not everything that involves taking your picture and/or fingerprints is the work of the illuminati coming after your ass.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

The difference (5.00 / 1) (#14)
by finial on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 11:39:40 PM EST

The difference is, in the programs you are talking about -- those to combat missing children -- the parents, and only the parents, have the pictures, fingerprints (or footprints) and other identifiers. In this system, that information is stored in a "centralized computer system." That's a big difference. It says this in paragraph 4:

Although local law enforcement agencies and private organizations have long snapped photos and taken fingerprints for parents to use in the event of a child's disappearance, the District's initiative is fundamentally different because the government is to maintain the information.

warning: US-centrism ahead
During every decennial census, someone tries to get ahold of the information collected, in spite of that being explicitly forbidden. It's usually to root out "welfare cheats" or "illegal aliens" or some other currently unpopular group, but it remains illegal.

The article goes on to say:

Several officials said they hope the program could be expanded to improve social services by closely tracking youths' involvement in schools and government benefit programs.

This is frightening since it can so easily be perverted into something totally else. "Tracking Social services" is often a code phrase meaning tracking an unpopular demographic. All you need to have happen is some blustering, hate-filled politician, running for election in a hard-fought contest to say "I'm against welfare cheats and here are their names." Yes, yes, yes, the information is "confidential." So what? It's only confidential up to the point someone with a differing agenda releases it. It happens all the time. [1] [2]



[ Parent ]
Happened to me long ago (4.00 / 1) (#15)
by Blarney on Thu Aug 16, 2001 at 12:01:44 AM EST

I was fingerprinted as a child, I think first or second grade. There wasn't any option to refuse given - it was explained that we had to give fingerprints in the event that we were ever lost. Why would you give little babies a choice in anything anyhow? My mother claims that she raised hell and had the prints destroyed, and I love my mother and want to believe her, but..... I can't shake the feeling that they have my prints on file in the police computer anyway. How much trouble could it have been to copy them? I'm pretty sure that they had copy machines back in 1980. Though I don't recall seeing or using one then, there is one underneath a 1980 calendar on the cover of my Lions Book......

Some say that I'm paranoid, but I'm pretty sure that if the police ever find my prints anywhere near a crime scene, it'll be time to spend time in the big house. This is what they mean when they say "FOR THE CHILDREN". Children grow up and aren't cute anymore, so now their cute little fingerprints can be used to lock them away.



Hmmm... (none / 0) (#23)
by Elendale on Fri Aug 17, 2001 at 10:57:46 PM EST

Yes, we should start on them young... that way they'll be used to the thing when they grow older and won't complain...
By the way, how's that bid on patenting Evil coming?

-Elendale
---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


D.C. schools plan photo IDs, fingerprinting of students | 24 comments (24 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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