Thursday, December 28, 2006

Oldham High Schools splash out on biometric technology

High schools in Oldham, Manchester, are spending tens of thousands of pounds on biometric technology to "fight obesity".

After the selling off of school playing fields over the past few decades, is biometric technology really the way to fight obesity?

It would be hoped that the Local Government in Oldham is monitoring the level of obesity in these schools, to see whether justifying the amount of money spent "fighting obesity", via biometrics, does have an effect on the health of our school children.

This is a vast amount of public money. If the technology works - great, but lets see some research BEFORE thousands of pounds is sunk into this technology. Maybe there is some research out there proving that biometric finger scanners in school lunch queues does reduce student obesity - if there is, let me know - I'll gladly publish it here.

I suspect though, "fighting obesity" is yet another glamorous claim that using children's biometrics in school can solve. Lets face it, why aren't the retailers of this technology honest? - because the main aim of biometrics in schools is to monitor and if it was sold on that basis there wouldn't be too much support for it.

Saddleworth School -brought in fingerprint-scanning technology to monitor pupils' eating habits. Details of everything they eat is then kept on file and posted to their parents at the end of each week or term. They have been using it for about a month now.

Kaskenmoor School - installing the scanning equipment and will go live next month.

Failsworth School - may bring in the new technology at its new £28 million site when it opens in 2008. At Failsworth, the fingerprint technology would also be used to sign in pupils at the start of the day - getting rid of the need for traditional registration periods

Failsworth School's head teacher David Johnson said:
"We live in an age of obesity, and this system would mean we could track what pupils are eating and report back to parents. I suppose there is an element of Big Brother."

South Chadderton School - expressed an interest in adopting the new technology

North Chadderton School - uses biometric scanning to allow students to pay for school trips to stop them having to carry large sums of money into school.

(details taken from the Oldham Chronicle)


Disillusioned kid said...

You've got an impressive - and potentially important - blog here. As I've suggested on my own blog, the increasing attacks on the civil liberties of our children is abhorrent in itself and also worrying in that it is grooming children so that they learn to accept the surveillance society (CCTV, ID cards, DNA databases etc.).

Thanks for dropping by and leaving me a comment. (And for adding me to your blogroll.)

Keep up the good work.

Pippa King said...

I agree, the civil liberties of our children are being overlooked.

They, as the next generation, do need to have some concept of their own privacy rights which are being severely eroded by biometric technology in schools.


ziz said...

This on my doorstep had passed me by. I will make further enquiries and report.

Pippa King said...

Thanks Shutter :)

It would be interesting to see how this has been received.

Good luck with your enquiries.

Moby Dick said...

Obese kids are a growing epidemic! What happened to responsible parenting? Are people giving their kids the X-box and a bag of donuts instead of quality time?