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Parents Upset Over Lunchtime Palm Scanner

$300,000 system leads to privacy concerns.

Parents of students at Carroll County schools in Baltimore say a new policy that scans kids’ palms to pay for their lunches goes too far.

Photo: Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun/MCT via Getty ImagesWith the PalmSecure system, students hover their hands over an infrared scanner that ID’s them by the unique patterns in their skin and registers a sale, according to a report from the Daily Herald.

The Herald talked to Mike Richmond, who has two children at a Westminster elementary school. He said the scanning started before parents were given the chance to opt out.

"I didn’t appreciate how they handled it. I’m concerned about it. I know it’s the way of the future, but it’s fingerprinting, it’s palm-printing."

The district said the goal is to decrease the time it takes to pay for lunches since the children have a limited amount of time to eat their meals.

The controversial system is operating in three Carroll County elementary schools with plans to expand to the whole district within a year. It’s also used in many other schools around the country where there have also been concerns about invasion of privacy as well as the cost of the system. Once implemented, PalmSecure will run the Carroll County district about $300,000.

Bing: Read more about the story.

Photo: Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun/MCT via Getty Images



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Oct 7, 2012 7:51PM

I wish flu shots could be given as painlessly :-(


Oct 7, 2012 7:51PM
This is absolutely appauling, wake up zombies, look what they are doing to us!!!
Oct 7, 2012 7:50PM

My concern with this system is that the school systems are taking it upon themselves to institute a system that uses inividual biological information without giving the chance to opt out.  Our school system did the same thing about 10 years ago and when I expressed concern that this information could fall into the wrong hands, i.e. identity theft, I was told that the system is encrypted.  That is all good and fine, but for every encrypted system there is, there is also a handful of people that are trying to figure out how to de-code it.

  I spent 4 years in the Army and have little desire to be involved in criminal activity and I am always surprised at the lack of concern regarding privacy issues by some of our population.  Some of the posts that I have seen represent a very simple-minded approach to an issue with potentially dramatic consequences; I would encourage people to think befor responding.

Oct 7, 2012 7:49PM
BS..NOT a good idea...more gov't control...I am not a minority.  Why don't they just do like us good ole folks down in MS do it.  At least in our town.  We send money or a check for the week or month etc to the home room teacher which turns it in.  The good folks in the lunch room handle no money.
Oct 7, 2012 7:49PM
Day get der foo for free. Days need to chill.  Da tapayer payed fo da foo. 
Oct 7, 2012 7:49PM

Typical overreaction people.  This has nothing to do with biblical marks or tracking people for the future.  If you knew anything about the system, you would understand that it isn't scanning fingerprints.  It is an INFRARED scanner that is scanning their palms.  This is newer technology that is just as unique as tracking fingerprints, but last time I checked, your veins an bones don't leave prints behind at a crime scene.  Fingerprints, yes, veins and things INSIDE your hand...NO. 


If you have ever worked at a school, especially an elementary school, you know that all these little children who are getting their free and reduced lunches because they are low income have to have some way of identifying themselves to the computer system.  The typical way it is done is with a PIN number unique to each student.  (Just like your DEBIT Card...oH MY GOD IT IS THE END OF THE WORLD!!!!!)....oh wait....nevermind. Unfortunately, 6 year olds tend to forget little things like numbers, or worse yet, they give them out to everyone and so then their friend goes and uses their PIN number to get lunch and now little Susie can't get her lunch because her PIN has already been used.  This system eliminates both of those problems while still maintaining privacy (again, the inside of your palm doesn't leave behind a print). 


Oh, and for those of you saying to just extend the school day.....hmmmm that requires more money.  I know you find it hard to believe, but extending the school day those 10 minutes could very well end up costing the district millions of dollars over the course of a year, depending on the size of the district.  So unless you are voting to give more money to the schools this November, you can stop making that argument as well.


Have a great day everyone....and don't let anyone tatoo you so you can get your bread.  (humor there...don't overreact)


Oct 7, 2012 7:49PM

look at the school budgets in all 50 states...attend meetings..


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