Sunday, October 03, 2010

It's the start of a new school year, and school systems' thoughts turn to Surveillance?

LAUSD to use fingerprint scans for school lunches

October 2, 2010 by Dissent

Connie Llanos reports:

Los Angeles Unified officials hope a new plan allowing students to purchase school meals with a simple press of a finger will save money, speed up long cafeteria lines and reduce the headaches caused by forgotten lunch money.

But the controversial finger scan ID system, already tested and dropped by at least one school district in California and banned in some states, has faced opposition from parents and civil liberties groups worried about student privacy.

Read more on Contra Costa Times.

Maybe the kids can stick their fingers up their noses before they swipe the pad… that should muck things up nicely.

(Related) “...and here in Texas, if'fen you don't have your badge, we can shoot you!” Not limited to school grounds?

TX: Student badges equipped with tracking devices

October 2, 2010 by Dissent

Tiffany Craig reports:

Students in Santa Fe have to wear ID badges to class, complete with a built-in tracking device. The Smart Badge program started this school year, and is getting mixed reviews from parents and students.

Patrick Mann is a senior and said he feels like he’s in prison.

“Normally, the one people you would track are say prisoners or somebody that’s done something very wrong,” Mann said.

All students at Santa Fe Junior High and Santa Fe High School have to wear the radio frequency IDs.

The sensors are in the ceiling on campus, but Mann said they keep tabs of you off campus too.

He said he got busted a few days ago.

“At that Shell Station, they can see exactly where I am,” Mann said. “I know that because the school cops came up there and said, ‘Hey, you need to get back to school. We tracked you over here.’”

Read more on KHOU.

This is exactly the kind of student surveillance that we should all be discussing and debating, as I commented in my post on how schools are grooming students for a surveillance state.

If students cut class or cut school, the attendance officer should notify the parents. In my opinion, schools should not be sending out officers to track students down unless they have genuine reason to believe that a student is in danger or at risk.

The phrase “hunt you down like a dog” keeps coming to mind as I read these news stories….

(Related) This is not the picture of New Zealand I had in my mind.

NZ: Teachers get power to search their pupils

October 2, 2010 by Dissent

Speaking of grooming students for a surveillance state in the name of “safety,” Joanne Carroll and Rachel Grunwell report that New Zealand will let teachers search students:

Teachers are to get explicit powers to search children – potentially even strip-search them – for weapons.

The Government is to release draft guidelines applying to the classroom, schoolyard and to extramural activities such as camps and field trips.

In May, Te Puke High School mathematics head Steve Hose, 53, was knifed with a 10cm kitchen blade. A 13-year-old was taken into police custody. A Post Primary Teachers Association survey this year found at least two secondary teachers were seriously assaulted by pupils every school day.

The Ministry of Education search and seizure guidelines will be controversial. While strip-searching will apply only when weapons are suspected, teachers will also be able to search for drugs.

Read more in the New Zealand Herald.

(Related) “...and we don't trust the cops, either.” Although, the “after incident” testing might be useful.

OR: Portland moves toward requiring random drug-testing of police officers

October 2, 2010 by Dissent

Maxine Bernstein reports:

The city of Portland is moving to require random drug-testing of police officers, as well as drug tests of officers after use of deadly force, deaths-in-custody and traffic crashes that result in a fatality or trauma injury.

The city presented a draft proposal Friday to the Portland Police Association at the end of the second day of contract talks.


Not surprisingly, the police association does not like the idea, citing privacy concerns:

He argued that any tests beyond the “reasonable suspicion” standard would violate Oregon’s constitution, which protects an individual’s right to privacy, and against unreasonable search and seizures.

To which I cheerfully respond, “Hey, if you have nothing to hide…..”

A sign of “things to come.”

Minnesota Moving To Microsoft's Cloud

Posted by Soulskill on Saturday October 02, @07:36PM

"The State of Minnesota is apparently the first state to move into the cloud, agreeing on a deal to have their messaging and collaboration services delivered through Microsoft's Business Online Productivity Suite. The thing the article doesn't tell you in detail is that the agreement precludes the use of open source software, which could have saved the taxpayers millions of dollars. And once such a large organization goes Microsoft, it's difficult to go back. Isn't it interesting that these developments occur right before elections, as senior officials are trying to keep their jobs with a new incoming administration? What do you think, Slashdotters? Is this a good move for Minnesota? Or a conservative move that bucks the trend of saving money and encouraging open government and transparency by aligning philosophy and practice with at least the option of utilizing open source software?"

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