|A Conservative Big Brother State.|
Science Fiction becomes 1984
Conservative, Republican run Mississippi is doing Big Brother scanning of school children and parents.
- Liberal or Conservative, it does not appear to matter. Both sides are working together to rapidly create a Big Brother tracking system that will watch everything you say, read, buy, e-mail or do from cradle to grave.
- Don't worry. The politicians who never lie say it is for our own good.
Some parents in Republican run Mississippi are learning about Big Brother. They have a new routine when they drop their kids off at day care centers that are taking part in a new pilot program aimed at combating fraud and saving the state money.
Under the program, the state scans parents' fingerprints to capture biometric information, and that information is turned into a number. Then, at a day care center, parents dropping off or picking up their kids put their fingers on a pad, and a small keyboard records the exact time a child is checked in or out.
But only the parents of kids who receive subsidized child care have to do the scans . . . for now. But when did a government program not grow and grow? The program is roiling some parents and day care workers reports NPR News.
At Northtown Child Development Center in Jackson, one of the pilot sites, when Kim Kimbrough puts her finger on the scanner to check in her 3-year-old son, she gets a receipt before she heads to her job at a furniture store.
|Big Brother - Science Fiction becomes Science Fact.|
Minority Report - Era of total surveillance zooms-in on US
Ever evolving high-tech gadgets and the Internet have given Big Brother a peep hole into the lives of everyday Americans. Now, without the hassle of planting bugs or breaking and entering, the government can monitor virtually anything it wants.
The CIA has recently claimed it would be able to "read" devices such as dishwashers or refrigerators, with the Internet -- and perhaps even with radio waves from outside the home.
Minority Report becoming a reality
Kimbrough says her friends who used to help pick up her child are hesitant to sign up.
"A lot of people don't want to go down there and get fingerprinted 'cause they feel it's a hassle," Kimbrough says. "They don't like the idea. I really don't like it, but if that's what I have to do to stay on child care, I'll do it."
Concerns About Discrimination
The state's early child care program provides vouchers to low-income parents to help cover the cost of day care, so parents can work or go to school. More than 18,000 Mississippi children are enrolled in the program, and another 8,000 are on a waiting list.
Many day care administrators say finger scanning is unnecessary and that if parents refuse to do it, some centers would lose children and could close. They say they're forced to single out those who are receiving aid and set up a new sign-in process just for them.
Carol Burnett, director of the nonprofit Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative, says providers feel that it is going to be a hardship, or discriminatory.
"The parents who have a subsidy have to come through and scan their finger at this machine, and the parents that aren't on the subsidy program don't have to do that," Burnett says. "So you've got two lines of people who are obviously distinguished by who's got the subsidy and who doesn't."
Across town at the Jamboree Child Development Center, Catreennia Harris, a full-time student, tells the center's director she's worried that she'll be stereotyped when the new system makes it obvious she gets subsidized child care, which she calls certificates.
Big Brother: RFID Chips Track Kids' Eating Habits
The digital tracking and surveillance of school-aged kids has been growing.
Schools across the country are adopting a variety of different tools to monitor students both in school and outside school. Among these tools are RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags embedded in school ID cards, GPS tracking software in computers, and even CCTV video camera systems. According to school authorities, these tools are being adopted not to simply increase security, but to prevent truancy, cut down on theft and even improve students' eating habits.
Your Children Are to Be Chipped Tagged & Treated Like Cattle
Proof Your Child is A Ward of The State
"I have certificates, but you don't want everybody to know everything you do or everything you get," Harris says. "And you have to scan your finger and everybody just [thinks], 'Oh yeah, she's on certificate. I bet she's on welfare, and she gets food stamps,' and all that. Just singling people out."
Concerns About Fraud
But the state says the system will prevent fraud and save money. Officials say centers that may have falsified attendance won't be able to do that and are likely to drop out of the program. And children who have too many absences could lose their vouchers.
The state spent $1.7 million to buy the equipment, and it will pay a subsidiary of Xerox nearly $13 million over five years to manage the system.
Mississippi officials point to a similar program in GOP run Louisiana that started in 2010 that they say has been successful. Dent says her state will save at least 40 percent in administrative costs and another 25 percent on costs related to fraud. She rejects the idea that the system is discriminatory.
"Directors can find a way, if they want to do this differently in their center and keep the machine in a different room, they can do that," Dent says. "But, you know, if parents want to continue with the program, this is just part of the system."
But in Mississippi, there's so much opposition that some centers have opted out of the pilot program. Sixteen day care centers are currently enrolled in the pilot program, with some planning to drop out this month. State officials say 16 additional centers will be added Dec. 1.
The finger scanning policy was set to take effect statewide this month, but state officials now say they'll hold off on full implementation until next year.
|Philip K. Dick (1928 - 1982)|
Author of the stories for Total Recall,
Minority Report and Blade Runner.
"There will come a time when it isn't 'They're spying on me through my phone' anymore.
Eventually, it will be 'My phone is spying on me.".......
— Philip K. Dick
— Philip K. Dick