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Old 12-05-2010, 10:01 AM   #1
starstuff
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Default Cashless catering coming to my son's school: help!

Hopefully I've got the right forum for this.

My eldest son's in his first year at a really good local secondary school. Yesterday I got a letter from them informing me that a company called Cunningham's is going to be installing a new lunchtime meal payment system, combined with a library book system, at the school this July. (I don't know if there was a consultation with parents last year as he wasn't at the school then, but it seems like they've made a decision to have this installed and we have to accept it, there's no opportunity to protest about it going ahead - just a consultation evening where we hear about how it's going to work and sell us all on the benefits.) Unlike other schools with a cashless system, they're going to be using fingerprint scans rather than issuing cards. The initial fingerprints are supposed to be used only for generating a unique code for each child in the database and then destroyed, so there won't be a direct link from my child's biometric data to the database information about his lunchtime eating habits and library borrowing record, but to me this is just one step too far over the privacy line.

I've already contacted the school to protest, and have been told that he will have the option of having a card rather than a fingerprint scan but that the service won't be as good. I've spoken to some of the other parents and they think it's a good idea because they can't lose their dinner money or their card, or get it stolen, and they're not concerned about the use of fingerprints because the actual fingerprint won't be stored on the database. I don't know what else I can do. Any suggestions for me?
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Old 12-05-2010, 01:08 PM   #2
aussieaussie
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I found their website.....
http://www.cunninghams.co.uk/Cashless_Casestudies.aspx

If it's possible to meet up up with a few other parents that oppose this and put a protest together?......otherwise, I would be looking at another school that does not have this system.

Fingerprints?!!!.....that is ridiculous!......tell them to f##k off!

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Old 12-05-2010, 02:07 PM   #3
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That sucks!

They've recently introduced a cashless vending/lunch service at my work but thankfully it doesn't involve fingerprints, just an ID card which isn't quite so bad. If you have the option of a card then I'd definitely take that rather than letting them have your son's prints (whether they get rid of them or not, it's the principal that matters).

I would also speak to the other parents about the dangers of fingerprinting (but knowing what certain other parents are like at my son's school, I'm not sure how well you'll get on tbh!) But stick to your guns, even if you're the only parent doing it, at least you're having your say & rightly so!

Best of luck with it all though and please keep us updated on it.
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Old 12-05-2010, 03:11 PM   #4
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Hi. I did this here..... http://www.davidicke.com/forum/showthread.php?t=115663


The schools no longer have to provide the meal, so can do it as they wish.

It might be the same with the books. Accept the card, that is normal. But dont accept the slow service as that is punishing you!

You said ".....and they're not concerned about the use of fingerprints because the actual fingerprint won't be stored on the database." This is true, but the recognition software is the same as the police use and that means that they can take your kids 'pointers' (that which recognises your kids prints as theirs) and use them on the fuzzes database.


Nelly
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Old 12-05-2010, 03:12 PM   #5
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Try making your kid lunch, or better yet, teach him how to make it himself.

The food they offer at the school is shit anyway. So it doesn't matter.
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Old 13-05-2010, 10:22 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies, and for the links to other threads about this. I'd never heard of even the card system before I talked to the other parents about it, never mind the fingerprint one, so I didn't know it was so widespread.

I've nothing to add yet where the school/parents are concerned - I do love the way the consultation evening is due to take place *after* the children's fingerprints will be scanned into the database! - but wanted to share that I asked my son if he'd heard about this new cashless lunchtime system that was coming to the school. He said no, what's happening? I explained the very bare bones of it in a neutral way (that he'd have his fingerprint scanned every mealtime instead of taking cash in to school, and the computer would pay for his meal using the money we'd paid into his account, and it'd record what he'd chosen each day) and he was horrified. "They're not treating me like a criminal, and it's nobody's business what I'm eating, I won't go to school if they're going to do that." I gave him the four options - do the fingerprint thing, have a card, take packed lunch, change school. He's still thinking about it, but is definitely not choosing the fingerprint option and isn't overly happy about the card either. I was quite impressed that someone his age thinks it's an invasion of privacy - I thought he'd be all for the new technology and think it'd be cool to have his finger scanned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tom bombadil View Post
You said ".....and they're not concerned about the use of fingerprints because the actual fingerprint won't be stored on the database." This is true, but the recognition software is the same as the police use and that means that they can take your kids 'pointers' (that which recognises your kids prints as theirs) and use them on the fuzzes database.
I didn't know that - thanks for the information! I can feel a terrible illness coming on for my son on the days he's due to have the scans done.

Last edited by starstuff; 13-05-2010 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 13-05-2010, 11:31 AM   #7
tracker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starstuff View Post
Hopefully I've got the right forum for this.

My eldest son's in his first year at a really good local secondary school. Yesterday I got a letter from them informing me that a company called Cunningham's is going to be installing a new lunchtime meal payment system, combined with a library book system, at the school this July. (I don't know if there was a consultation with parents last year as he wasn't at the school then, but it seems like they've made a decision to have this installed and we have to accept it, there's no opportunity to protest about it going ahead - just a consultation evening where we hear about how it's going to work and sell us all on the benefits.) Unlike other schools with a cashless system, they're going to be using fingerprint scans rather than issuing cards. The initial fingerprints are supposed to be used only for generating a unique code for each child in the database and then destroyed, so there won't be a direct link from my child's biometric data to the database information about his lunchtime eating habits and library borrowing record, but to me this is just one step too far over the privacy line.

I've already contacted the school to protest, and have been told that he will have the option of having a card rather than a fingerprint scan but that the service won't be as good. I've spoken to some of the other parents and they think it's a good idea because they can't lose their dinner money or their card, or get it stolen, and they're not concerned about the use of fingerprints because the actual fingerprint won't be stored on the database. I don't know what else I can do. Any suggestions for me?

Give your child your own food .

Give them packed lunch .

Its the only way IMO .

Atleast you know for sure exactly whats in store for their lunch , as long as they eat it that is , but you cant get better than making sure that they have 5 a day than doing it your self .
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Old 13-05-2010, 12:11 PM   #8
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I have had my prints taken thrice for gaining access to buildings. The first was a rock climbing centre in Bristol I frequent, the second was a university where I occasionally lecture, the third is dodgy!!

At the climbing centre no ID was needed to join so I used an alias, they have my print but not my personal details. The university was harder as I was already known so they now have my thumb print on a digital database!
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Old 13-05-2010, 03:02 PM   #9
tom bombadil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starstuff View Post
- but wanted to share that I asked my son if he'd heard about this new cashless lunchtime system that was coming to the school. He said no, what's happening?
lol, Kids are like that anyway. In one ear and out the other.

I am carefull to make them understand something only to be told that they 'didnt hear you say it'

I was gonna slag off the school for not making the kids more attentative but I think that kids are just like that .


The issue with a packed lunch is fine, as long as they have a table to sit at and a warm envioment. To be told that the child can not use the canteen to eat their own lunch might crop up. Look into it.
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