The data misuse society

We never did fully rant about the fingerprinting of school children.
Even ignoring the fact that the data isn’t as safe as some schools say it is, and the fact that who can access the data isn’t as tightly controlled as the schools like to think it is, it’s still a stupid1 idea.

The one thing that really got to me, is how we are sending the message to children that personal data isn’t that important. The argument of ‘it’s only for the library’ just underlines this. I mean not that being worse than China shames us any more but in Hong Kong they’ve put a stop to fingerprinting children because it infringes on the child’s privacy.

Anyway, there’s now a report out saying that all these databases are ‘harming children’, because shock horror, people aren’t actually taking the time to understand what the data is telling them, and just acting on it anyway. So social workers are taking children into care, because they don’t actually understand what they are looking at.
I could go on, but it’s still early in the day, and I don’t want to get all wound up for the rest of it. So for those less technical people in the audience i will leave you with this description of encryption by the headteacher who described the fingerprinting of children as just a bit of fun.

The actual thumbprint image is not stored – the software calculates a huge number from the image, and it is the image itself which is stored, not the fingerprint.”

If I was only worried about someone stealing the school computer, that might put my mind at rest. I agree with the information commissioner we’re not sleepwalking into a surveillance society, we are already there.

1 This issue gets me so wound up, It’ brings out the best reasoned arguments in me.