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Repost: I remember when England was free

I'm reposting this from John's (oldson) LJ. I know I have a few teachers amongst my readers so if you can shed any light on this - has it happened at your school yet, etc - that'd be great. This is for everyone who has kids, who will have kids in the future or who generally believes in an open and free country without Big Brother tracking your every move...

It still amazes me that we actually have a so-called 'Labour' government in power yet they have done more to erode our civil liberties and freedoms than any Conservative government ever did...

-------------------------------
I remember when you could brain a burglar for breaking into your house with a knife and not fear police prosecution

I remember when children respected their elders

I remember when "I'll tell your dad" was enough to terrify any child out of doing anything wrong.

I remember when politeness was not a virtue but a requirement.

I remember when children could walk freely on the streets without fear.

I remember when young people helped old people cross the road

I remember when trick or treat just meant getting a biscuit for free and not demanding money with menaces

I remember when minorities only existed in maths

I remember when marriage was forever

I remember when schools were places of learning

I remember when the state was something that worked for us

I remember freedom

I wonder now if my son ever will.

Maybe you've all heard of it, I don't know, but there's a new system going around the schools now, children being fingerprinted for use on the schools computers, all in the name of advancement. Here, let me give you an example of this, as of wednesday this week, the school will no longer accept money for school dinners, instead, what must happen is this.

1: The child brings in their dinner money and using their fingerprint, pays the money into the cash machine on the school premises
2: When the child wishes to pay for their food, they take whatever food they want to the counter and pay for it using their fingerprint, the relevant amount is taken from their account and the food is theirs.
3: when their account runs low, they must put more money in to top it up.

Now, I'm old fashioned, I know this, and what this sounds like is adding in another process to the measure of taking the dinner money and GIVING IT TO THE DINNER LADIES. I could be wrong, and I'm willing to admit it if I am, but for this to happen, they had to have taken my sons fingerprints, without my consent or knowledge, and this they did, they informed me after it had been done, and they assured us that these fingerprints would be applied to a database for use in the school system. My son, being trusting and young, had no problem with this, after all, why would he, what possible harm could come of this?

I remember when england was free

My son now has an ID card, with name, date of birth, and reference details, together with a number for the national health line, although there is no indication of what this number is for.

I know what it's for.

If any member of the legal professions wishes to do so, they can use this number to find out all the various details about my son, including the fact that he's mildly autistic, including the fact that he's had no mum, and including the fact that his dad is massively overprotective of him.

This information will never be used for any purposes other than school related projects.

What if its not?

What if a prospective employer decides to check up on the employees once in a while to see if they had a drug problem when they were younger, or if they were abused when they were in care, or anything they bloody well like, not real hard to do, and as for them saying that the encoded fingerprints can't be used for law enforcement reasons because they're no longer fingerprints, well here's a thought, they had to have the fingerprint to encode it, what's to prevent them just keeping the fingerprint in the enforcement files.

I remember when england was free

Job Done, twenty years from now, you have the entire adult population on record because you got them when they were 12, I agree with the policy of nothing to fear if nothing to hide, however, I also understand privacy, and I understand choice, and I understand that you get fingerprinted when you commit a crime, I got fingerprinted years ago when I committed a crime, and yes, I was a child, 14 at the time, but I had to commit a crime before they got my fingerprints, why should my son, innocent of all things, have to have the same indignity?

Progress, yes, police state, no

I remember when england was free

Tomorrow I go to the school and see what they have to say about this, I suspect that I will not be satisfied by their answers. So I take this thought, it seems there's a website about this

http://www.leavethemkidsalone.com/


Spread the word, if you have kids, you owe it to them, if you don't have kids, do it for mine, do it for your friends, let people know what things are being done without consent or approval, because if they (the faceless few, the ones who think up this s***) get away with this one, then they'll think of something else, and something else, and something else. The freedom that I remember as a child will be an afterthought to those who are my age in twenty years time, and once one liberty is gone, another will go, and another, till a line is drawn in the sand and someone steps forwards and says no further. This country has always been a place of freedom, a place where help would be given to those who need it, and yes, we've committed our share of the wrong in the world, but my god...

I remember when england was something to be proud of

So here I am, here's my line

No further

This is John Dodd, Invictus, and goodnight England, wherever you are

Comments

( 70 comments — Leave a comment )
crocodilewings
Oct. 9th, 2006 10:44 pm (UTC)
Uh. My company will be developing biometric dinner voucher systems in 2007.

It's quite specifically to prevent schoolkids carrying around money, both as a protective measure for the child and a legal safety net for the schools. It'll store a single thumbprint on a local database.

Make of it what you will, but them's the facts.
heliograph
Oct. 10th, 2006 12:26 am (UTC)
My company will be developing biometric dinner voucher systems in 2007.

And you'll be able to fight the power from within?
(no subject) - crocodilewings - Oct. 10th, 2006 08:54 am (UTC) - Expand
vilenspotens
Oct. 9th, 2006 11:21 pm (UTC)
I remember when the Labour lost the 1979 election because "Labour isn't working"

I remember when the Tories list their last election because "New Labour, New future"

Welcome to the new future. Viva la resistance.

And scarily no, that's not as tongue in cheek as I'd like it to be.

Because I remember when a child could leave the parental home at 8am and not be seen until 10pm, because they were off having fun, playing games and learning about life.

These days the youth of today are scoping out the car park beneath my block for what they can steal.
heliograph
Oct. 10th, 2006 12:24 am (UTC)
These days the youth of today are scoping out the car park beneath my block for what they can steal.

Yeah, that's definitely the fault of the government. The parents of "the youth of today" certainly aren't to blame.
(no subject) - faerierhona - Oct. 10th, 2006 05:52 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - silver_blue - Oct. 10th, 2006 08:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - faerierhona - Oct. 10th, 2006 09:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - silver_blue - Oct. 10th, 2006 10:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - faerierhona - Oct. 10th, 2006 10:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oldson - Oct. 10th, 2006 11:17 am (UTC) - Expand
No, no... - vilenspotens - Oct. 10th, 2006 09:46 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: No, no... - heliograph - Oct. 10th, 2006 01:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oddly enough - vilenspotens - Oct. 10th, 2006 11:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Oddly enough - (Anonymous) - Oct. 10th, 2006 11:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
heliograph
Oct. 10th, 2006 12:35 am (UTC)
Being American and a Libertarian, I'm both frightened and amused that these things are supposed to be the concern of the government:


I remember when children respected their elders
I remember when "I'll tell your dad" was enough to terrify any child out of doing anything wrong.
I remember when politeness was not a virtue but a requirement.
I remember when children could walk freely on the streets without fear.
I remember when young people helped old people cross the road
I remember when trick or treat just meant getting a biscuit for free and not demanding money with menaces
I remember when marriage was forever


Every single one of those things have absolutely nothing to do with government (except possibly the kids not being able to walk the streets thing... but in my (US) experience, that's mostly unfounded parent paranoia driven by a disproportionately hysterical media). Those things are all the personal responsibilities of the parents of those (apparently unruly) children.

So at the same time he's decrying the government fingerprinting his kid, he also apparently wants the government to train him (and all the other kids) to be civilized.

At the local elementary (age 6-12) schools here, they had the kids buy tickets so they wouldn't have to be burdened with carrying around money. Now it looks like you guys have gone one step further and removed the tickets because Allah help us if the kid can't keep track of a piece of paper.
oldson
Oct. 10th, 2006 08:31 am (UTC)
I agree, those things are the province of the people, it's just the memories I have of childhood, some of several things that have changed over the years.

The key point is that I don't see where fingerprinting helps with dinners, except to test that the fingerprint scanners work and get better feedback for faster "processing", now whether you're being processed in a dinner queue or down a prison line isn't much difference, and god help that criminals ever hack the national database and change the fingerprints, but it'll happen.

As you say, Allah help us if the kid can't keep track of a piece of paper, how long before money is obsolete and you have to pay with your fingerprints? How long before the same thing that's happening with foreign call centres happens with your fingerprints?

Progress is good, too much, too fast is silly.
(no subject) - crocodilewings - Oct. 10th, 2006 09:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oldson - Oct. 10th, 2006 10:56 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - crocodilewings - Oct. 10th, 2006 11:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oldson - Oct. 10th, 2006 12:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - heliograph - Oct. 10th, 2006 01:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oldson - Oct. 10th, 2006 06:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - heliograph - Oct. 10th, 2006 02:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oldson - Oct. 10th, 2006 05:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
zenmeisterin
Oct. 10th, 2006 12:58 am (UTC)
An interesting post.

And on a related note, I think this is the same John Dodd I met via SLA Industries and played in some games run by at various cons (a CP2020 at Manc GenCon, A-State at last year's Conpulsion etc)...
angusabranson
Oct. 10th, 2006 07:38 am (UTC)
Same John.
(no subject) - haloj - Oct. 10th, 2006 11:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oldson - Oct. 10th, 2006 08:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zenmeisterin - Oct. 10th, 2006 09:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oldson - Oct. 10th, 2006 10:57 am (UTC) - Expand
faerierhona
Oct. 10th, 2006 05:55 am (UTC)
You really ARE turning into a grumpy old man, aren't you? Why the hell should kids respect their elders anyway? I mean, just because someone is old doesn't mean they're worthy of respect! As for threatening kids to make them behave - yeah, that's healthy

Sorry this kind of meaningless nostalgic crap is trotted out in every generation and it's just a load of bull. Protest against biometric dinner cards all you like, but this just sounds like middle american hysteria, only obviously in England.
oldson
Oct. 10th, 2006 11:46 am (UTC)
I don't know if this was aimed at me or not, but..

Why should kids respect their elders?

No reason at all, but I respected those elders who treated me with respect, it's a two way street, older people don't respect kids because kids don't respect older people, and I don't know how it got there from where it was when I was a kid, I missed the step where both sides stopped respecting the other side, but it happened at some point.

As for for threatening kids, nope, there was discipline, you didn't do certain things because they were bad, stealing, bullying, that sort of thing, you didn't do these things because they were wrong. I never feared my dad, but I held to those ideals that he had. Many of the newer generations have never had a set of ideals, they were brought up by parents who didn't care, and that's the problem at base. In past days, telling someones dad would be a serious matter because you could be sure that the dad in question would take up the matter directly. Nowadays, if you can get through to the dad between bottles of stella, that's a good thing.

You have a kid, I'll wager you care for them and love them and above all, teach them right from wrong. I do, most parents I know do, it's not that that's the problem, it's the parents who don't care that's the problem, the "me" generation that had kids as a fashion accessory, the ones who weren't responsible parents, and there's far more of them around these days than there used to be, I'm not suggesting its going lord of the flies, but in some places, its not far removed.

And for the record, in case anyone brings it up, I'm not laying it at the door of any particular demographic, it's just a decline in general, there's good and bad in all things.
(no subject) - faerierhona - Oct. 10th, 2006 01:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oldson - Oct. 10th, 2006 06:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - heliograph - Oct. 10th, 2006 01:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oldson - Oct. 10th, 2006 06:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - heliograph - Oct. 10th, 2006 11:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oldson - Oct. 11th, 2006 08:40 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - heliograph - Oct. 10th, 2006 01:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
_grimtales_
Oct. 10th, 2006 06:08 am (UTC)
That's all a bit too 'Daily Mail' for me I'm afraid, gets the blood boiling.
ID cards is a legitimate beef.
That's about it...

Even the libertarian (Anarchists, only without any sense of social responsibility in my book ;) ) gets it. This stuff mostly has nothing to do with government and is more to do with parenting.

For better or for worse we do have a _marginally_ more leftist government and I shudder to think what might have been done had the 'CJB' Tories still been in power for the immediate post 9/11 and Chav period. Probably national fucking service and we'd already have ID cards and other regulations, plus they're anti immigrant which dooms us economically in the long term.

Yeah, things are fucked up, but we're not in as bad a state as the US and it could have been far worse. There's things that need fighting but any election since around '97 has been to select 'the lesser of two evils'. Its the system that's screwed, not those who exploit the system.
oldson
Oct. 10th, 2006 08:40 am (UTC)
I agree that the system is screwed, but the same people who brought in the fingerprinting are the same ones who screwed the rest of the system.

If ID card are a legit beef, and the government have recognised that many people don't like them, save time, stealth it under the door like they do everything else, get the kids and twenty years from now, you don't need ID cards because you've already got their IDs.

No, we're not in as bad a state as the US, but you know how it is, you want to see britain in ten years, look at the US now, look at the US ten years ago, almost exactly the same.
(no subject) - _grimtales_ - Oct. 10th, 2006 08:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oldson - Oct. 10th, 2006 08:56 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - _grimtales_ - Oct. 10th, 2006 09:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - heliograph - Oct. 10th, 2006 01:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
djonma
Oct. 10th, 2006 06:26 am (UTC)
I do think a lot of respect has vanished, but I think people should respect everyone.
My lecturer for today's physics lab was amazed that I sent her an email yesterday apologising that I may be a little late today due to an urgent docs appt.
I thought it was just politeness that I knew in advance, I'd found out her name, so I could email her and tell her in advance rather than just turn up late on the day.

It's like apologising when you do arrive late to a lecture.

Simple manners.

But there are still a lot of polite children/teenagers out there, everyone just has the image of the asbo hoody-wearing idiot.
Though in general I think politeness and manners have declined.

Anyway, they can't take anything from your child at that young an age without parental consent... so a parent should have to give consent for a thumbprint to be taken I think.
Not entirely sure.
gbsteve
Oct. 10th, 2006 08:38 am (UTC)
Sounds like a load of reactionary crap and most of it patently not true. "I remember when minorities only existed in maths", ! or even !?!.
oldson
Oct. 10th, 2006 08:51 am (UTC)
I grew up in a secular culture, early 80's yorkshire, sorry to say, minorities didn't exist where we were, in the most part, that meant that we grew up without any hate of other races, because there were no other races to hate, we had two asian families in our entire town, both ran local corner shops and were known to everyone and certainly not hated (not that I could see anyway), there was plenty of fighting to be done without looking for it in other races. I have no doubt that it certainly exists today, and I have no doubts that it would have existed in other places when I was a child, but it didn't happen where I lived because there was nothing else.

(no subject) - twicedead - Oct. 10th, 2006 11:18 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oldson - Oct. 10th, 2006 11:30 am (UTC) - Expand
dan_g
Oct. 10th, 2006 08:54 am (UTC)
Fairfields school in Basingstoke took a full Biometric profile of all students for the creation of their library cards.

My friend Dan's daughter attended. He only found out when she came home and described the process. And so he asked me to raise this with my Father (Leader of the local council)

Brian (my dad) knew nothing about this, but did admit that the schools fall outside of Local Council business.

So dan raised the issue with the school and other parents, who then proceeded to issue an information release stating that this biometric data was only for use in school and would be destroyed when the student left.

So lets get this straight, this expensive ID process has been implimented for school children accross the country, to be stored for the duration of their education, this same information is a vital core element of the much touted national ID card... And you are going to destroy the data.

This means 1 of 2 things.

You are lying to us, and gathering the data via the back door, thus enabling a roll-out of ID cards for school leavers. In which case you are doing so without public consultation, misdirection and going against your voter wishes. This means that you are fraudulent and unfit to lead us.

or;
You really ARE going to destroy the data, which would waste millions of tax-payer funds, this is an almost criminal mis-management of money. Which would make you unfit to lead us.

either way...
silver_blue
Oct. 10th, 2006 09:03 am (UTC)
Destruction of childhood data when people reach their majority is relatively common though, the same as most juvenile criminal records being expunged. It would in any case essentially be illegal to use that data without consent for a roll-out of ID cards, which would render the ID cards themselves useless for any kind of criminal investigation or similar.

I'm not exactly sure what biometric data a school needs. Although the ID card scheme is supposed to gather something like 43 seperate pieces of information on the card.
(no subject) - dan_g - Oct. 10th, 2006 10:01 am (UTC) - Expand
pond823
Oct. 10th, 2006 09:13 am (UTC)
This is doing the anti-id scheme an injustice and I almost suspect it's a smear campaign by the pro-id lobby.

You could rewrite this as...

"I remember when the working class knew their place."
"I remember when the media didn't highlight the conditions of the poor and I could live guilt free."

It's going to annoy the hell out of people and make them see anti-id stuff in a bad light.
oldson
Oct. 10th, 2006 11:16 am (UTC)
How is this going to do the Anti-ID scheme an injustice? Which part of this was Pro-ID?
(no subject) - pond823 - Oct. 10th, 2006 02:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oldson - Oct. 10th, 2006 05:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - heliograph - Oct. 10th, 2006 01:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
ajcrowley
Oct. 10th, 2006 10:31 am (UTC)
no, don't agree at all.
schools, colleges, it's all the same thing these days. children, students, they all want access to a building, whose staff are constantly under threat from students, from parents, from a lot of shit.

the 6th form i work at doesn't have fingerprinting, but it's be a damn sight better if it did.

the college i used to work at implemented finger printing to support the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), so students could evidence their attendance in college in order to receive the 30 quid a week supplement due to them under the program.

the idea that student's won't be carrying money around all day sounds a damn good idea to me, and working in a college, i can guarantee you that data won't be passed on. there's this big thing called the Data Protection Act (which, admittedly, can be circumvented by the government) which must be upheld by the institution itself.

this does feel overly reactionary John, and you'll be doing yourself and Number One a disservice by overreacting and complaining about it. at worst, you'll relegate him to having to bring a packed lunch to school as he can't purchase his own lunch as you won't let him become part of the system.

this kind of stuff isn't as expensive as a lot of people make out, fingerprint scanners are dirt cheap nowadays, and systems like this don;t take much to implement (my developers put the EMA tracking together in a couple of months in their spare time), and there are a lot of long term benefits.

this kind of thing isn't a giant conspiracy, it's just modern technology. hell John, you try flying to the states, see how far you get without the Yanks knowing a crapload about your financial details, biometrics etc etc
oldson
Oct. 10th, 2006 11:25 am (UTC)
Re: no, don't agree at all.
Data Protection Act, something to which lip service is paid only in this country, you know as well as I do that data is not protected, whether held by banks or any other institution, and no, for the most part, I have no problem with information being held, what I have a problem with is the ease with which this information can be accessed, and you know as well as I do how easily this is.

Never mind the criminal side of things that can easily be done here, I'm concerned about how long it is before your prospective employer takes a look at the information on your file and decides you're too old or too fat or that the condition on your file listed as "not worthy of concern" is of concern to them and cans your job as a result.

Most of the people reading this journal don't know me all that well, you do, am I a reactionary psychotic? Is this sort of thing normal for me?

For those reading, it's not, but the number of things that are being done now with little to no warning to the parents and guardians of the kids in school is becoming more than a little concerning, you go to a school with a problem and you _might_ get an answer if you repeatedly chase it up.

And yes, I understand you work in a school, I've worked in schools, and we both know that the information is there to be had, you can't tell me that as a computer specialist working in the school, you can't get access to the information, and so all it takes is a person with less scruples than you...
Re: no, don't agree at all. - ajcrowley - Oct. 10th, 2006 11:58 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: no, don't agree at all. - oldson - Oct. 10th, 2006 12:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
hirudo
Oct. 10th, 2006 11:15 am (UTC)
I work in a secondary school. I can tell you now that this will be a useless waste of money. Getting rid of dinner money will not stop bullying and stealing by other pupils. For a starter even if a pupil doesn't carry money for their dinner they'll still have money on them. Why? Stand in any newsagent/shop near a school before 9am and you'll soon see. Stand in the same shop when the school day finishes and you'll see the same kids. Or they'll have money for trips. Or they'll have mobile phones(even though they're banned in school, but Mummy *must* know where they are at any moment)or MP3 players. There'll always be a reason.

Want to ensure the dinner money pays for a school dinner? Pay a lump sum direct to the school each month/half-term (assuming the kid doesn't already get free school meals)and they just turn up for their dinner each day. No money,no cards, no tickets,nothing.

I suspect that there is no malice involved on the part of the school, in regards to the fingerprinting system,merely that someone with good intentions has been dazzled by technology waved under their noses by a salesman from the company making it with promises of a quick fix, without thinking that there's a simpler,cheaper way of acheiving the same effect.

Rather than wailing about civil liberties and gnashing teeth the complainer would be better off talking to the school and showing them the cheaper,easier alternative. Show them how much money they'd save.That'll always get their attention.

And don't even get me started on companies that fleece schools on goods and services.....
oldson
Oct. 10th, 2006 11:19 am (UTC)
Rather than wailing about civil liberties and gnashing teeth the complainer would be better off talking to the school and showing them the cheaper,easier alternative. Show them how much money they'd save.That'll always get their attention.

---

What could be cheaper and easier than handing over the money to the dinner lady, no intervening stages, no extra computer required, just money from child to school. If they wanted to save money, then this wouldn't have been thought about in the first place.
(no subject) - heliograph - Oct. 10th, 2006 02:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oldson - Oct. 10th, 2006 05:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
crocodilewings
Oct. 10th, 2006 02:38 pm (UTC)
On reflection, I could have chosen a better post to test LJ's "Track This" function.
angusabranson
Oct. 10th, 2006 02:41 pm (UTC)
How do you think my in-tray feels!!!
(no subject) - oldson - Oct. 10th, 2006 06:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
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