"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Should Police Departments Offer Iris Scans for Children?

Mexico launches national ID cards for children

From Granby police offer iris scans under child identification program sponsored by Hampshire County Sheriff's department:

Over the next couple of months, parents will be able to have their children's irises scanned under a child identification program sponsored by the Hampshire County Sheriff's Department.

Police Chief Alan P. Wishart Jr. said consent forms to participate in the program are being distributed through the schools and can also be obtained at the Police Department.

"Like fingerprinting, it is another way to identify children in case of abduction," Wishart said.

Iris scanning was scheduled to be done at a recent Passport to Safety program at the Granby Junior Senior High School, but there was a conflict in scheduling, Wishart said. The scans would become part of a national database.

Here are a couple of questions: Should scanning be done on children and these records become part of a national database?  What agency (private or public) is maintaining the database?  Should parents ask more questions on exactly where these records will be stored and who/what agency has access to them and for what purpose?  Are these scans available to be shared with various federal agencies for their purposes?  Will private companies have access to these scans? 

A teacher comments:

"My goal is to try to collaborate with community program providers," she said.  Gail M. Ouimet, kindergarten teacher and coordinator, said the safety event was made possible with a couple of grants.

From an earlier masslive.com article Passport to Safety event planned for families in Granby  on iris scanning planned to take place in the school:

(The event) is made possible with a grant from the state Department of Early Education and Care of the state Executive Office of Education to Granby through the Holyoke Chicopee Springfield Head Start
Parents were upset that iris scans were done on their children without their knowledge in Polk County Florida.  Is the issue that permission was not obtained?  Do most parents want their children's biometric information in a national data base and have no issue with the retrieval as long as permission is granted?  Do parents know (or are concerned) where that information is going and who/how it will be used?  

Maybe the iris scans from Granby will be incorporated into a database similar to the "Baby Talk" data set crafted by Illinois.  The Illinois State Board is implementing the compilation of data first on Head Start babies and data gathering will expand each year to include more children.  Who knows where all this data is going on our children and how it will be used?

Please note: The information in this post is copyrighted. The proper citation is:

Logue, G (June 2013). "Should Police Departments Offer Iris Scans for Children?".  Retrieved (date) from the Missouri Education Watchdog site: http://www.missourieducationwatchdog.com/

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