MumsnetGuestPosts (MNHQ) Thu 09-Jan-14 13:53:14

Fingerprinting pupils in schools teaches children they have no right to privacy

According to new research by civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, 40% of schools are using biometric technology to track their pupils - and 31% of them did not consult parents before doing so.

Here, deputy director Emma Carr argues that schools should be much more transparent about the surveillance systems they use - and that they have a duty to educate their pupils about their right to privacy.

Read the post, and tell us what you think: were you aware that some schools are fingerprinting their pupils without parental consent - and if so, are you concerned?

Emma Carr

Deputy Director, Big Brother Watch

Posted on: Thu 09-Jan-14 13:53:14

(60 comments )

Lead photo

40% of schools are using biometric technology, according to Big Brother Watch

How would you feel if your child returned home from school and told you that they had just been fingerprinted?

If this has already happened in your family, you’re not alone. New research from Big Brother Watch has found that more than one million children, in approximately 40% of schools, have been fingerprinted in a single academic year - part of an increasing trend towards using biometric technology as a means of identification when buying school lunches, registering attendance or issuing library books.

So what’s the problem? Well, approximately 31% weren’t consulted or asked to give consent for this to happen to their child.

The new research follows the 2012 reportThe Class of 1984,which highlighted the fact that there are more than 100,000 CCTV cameras in Britain and that - shockingly - more than two hundred schools are using cameras inside bathrooms and changing rooms.

For some parents, the use of biometrics within schools will be a perfectly acceptable use of resources and technology - part of the trend towards the use of increasingly sophisticated technology in the classroom. Others, though, will be profoundly uncomfortable that their child has been asked to part with personal, identifiable, simply in order to ease the administrative process. Wouldn’t you like the opportunity to make the call?

Going to school should not mean that children are taught that they have no right to privacy - especially at a time when we are sharing more data about ourselves than ever before. On the contrary: schools arguably have a responsibility to fully explain issues like data protection, privacy, fraud and the use of biometrics as part of the education process.


Fingerprinting children and tracking their movements and activities might save some admin work - but the risk is that pupils begin to believe that it’s ‘normal’ to be constantly tracked. Going to school should not mean that children are taught that they have no right to privacy - especially at a time when we are sharing more data about ourselves than ever before. On the contrary: schools arguably have a responsibility to fully explain issues like data protection, privacy, fraud and the use of biometrics as part of the education process. Many schools, however, appear to be failing to fully educate pupils about these increasingly important topics.

Schools need to be transparent about what data they collect and how it is used, but for many schools this is far from standard practice. This research was carried out after a spike in complaints from concerned parents who had either been provided with a vague letter, or had received no information at all, about plans to fingerprint their child. Giving consent, for many, simply did not come into the equation. In some cases, those that protested, or questioned the motivation for using the technology received a rough ride from school administrators.

It is this confusion about what information parents should have received from school and whether consent should have been sought that provoked the Government to pass the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, which came into effect in September 2013. This legislation has created an clear legal framework which states that parents and pupils have a legal guarantee that no fingerprints should be taken without the school gaining explicit consent (written from parents and oral from pupils) - and that an alternative must be made available if they did not wish to participate.

The full extent of school surveillance is far higher than most people would expect, and will come as a shock to many parents. Schools need to come clean about the surveillance systems they use - and local authorities need to be doing far more to reign in excessive surveillance in their areas, and to ensure that resources are not being diverted from more effective alternatives.

Parents will be rightly concerned to hear that so many schools are not seeking permission to fingerprint children, while pupils may not have been made aware they now have a legal right to use a system that doesn’t require a fingerprint to be taken. The Government was right to change the law - but, sadly, it looks as though it’s going to be up to parents to make sure the law is being followed.

By Emma Carr

Twitter: @bbw1984

ReallyTired Thu 09-Jan-14 14:02:27

Complete storm in a teacup. I wish that my son's school used biometric finger printing. Chidlren don't tend to lose their thumbs and stops bullies from taking their lunch money. I am in favour of CCTV cameras because it helps to prevent bullying and protects teachers against false allegations.

Areas like bathrooms or changing rooms are places where sexual abuse is more likely to happen. Generally staff do not watch videos from these areas unless there is an allegation because they aren't perverts.

I worked in a school which put up CCTV cameras in bully hot spots so that these areas could be watched from reception.

All the schools in my area which use biometric finger printing get parental permisssion. Most parents realise that these systems are to there to help their children.

MrsSquirrel Thu 09-Jan-14 14:17:27

I agree, it's a storm in a teacup. The school collects all kinds of identifying information about pupils. I don't think this is 'surveillance' any more than any of the information the school holds about my dc. All of it is personal and some is sensitive information: religion, nationality, medical conditions, CAT scores and so forth. They are doing it for a legitimate purpose.

Schools do 'track' pupils all the time. Why else would you have registration? They need to know if they are in school. If dc are not in lessons when they should be, I would hope the school tries to find out where they are and why.

CalamitouslyWrong Thu 09-Jan-14 14:28:07

I agree that this is all a bit hyperbolic. DS1's middle school used fingerprints for the dinner money system (and nothing else). His high school doesn't, so now we have to give him dinner money every day (rather than paying by the term). It's a pain in the arse, especially as he can't be trusted not to lose it (he has serious organisation issues).

Ds2's tiny school lets us pay by the term but doesn't need fingerprinting because it's so small that they can keep track of who has paid for dinners or not. That's not so easy when there are 350+ in every year.

In any case, school have been about surveillance for over a century. The entire system is set up to monitor and 'improve' the population. Children are constantly monitored in various ways the entire time they're at school, and they're taught to internalise the monitoring so that they monitor themselves and their peers. Just because there's some new technology involved in this doesn't make it any different.

AugustRose Thu 09-Jan-14 14:50:23

I don't agree with fingerprinting at all. I understand that information is collected on our children throughout their time at school but I think fingerprinting is a step too far.

When my DD1 started secondary in September we were told they used biometric information but had to consent - we declined. However, my DS1 (17) who moved to that school in year 10 had been fingerprinted without my knowledge. It's not so much the school keeping track (they use it for the library) that bothers me, it's the private companies providing the software and therefore having access to that information.

As far as I can see it is unecessary.

snice Thu 09-Jan-14 15:05:00

I understood that this isnt a full fingerprint in the police 'take your fingerprint' sense anyway-more a set of markers.

I have no problem with it and can see the benefits with regard to cashless catering-no more dinner money to lose/spend after school at the newsagents

Another person saying storm in a teacup

WaitingForPeterWimsey Thu 09-Jan-14 15:36:03

I would be very upset if my child's prints were taken and find the CCTV very invasive hmm

Reincarnatedpig Thu 09-Jan-14 16:37:41

I am happy they use fingerprint or more accurately thumbprint only at DD2's school. I can't count the number of lost lunch (£5) cards and library cards etc. As for CCTV yes it is invasive but as there has been a serious sexual assault at a local school as well as bullying and other violence, I deem it necessary.

JimmyCorkhill Thu 09-Jan-14 16:42:57

I didn't understand the problem with this but my DP is a computer boffin and he said that in the future our fingerprints will be used to access a lot of our private data, instead of PINs and passwords. So by giving your fingerprint, either willingly or not, to the school means that your security (fingerprint password) is already 'out there'. This compromises your future security as you can't change your fingerprint like you can a password or PIN.

If anyone wants to dispute this feel free as I was only half listening to him when he explained it to me blush

I couldn't possibly get excited about this.
The system allows a very efficient way of paying for school meals. No more cash, no remembering to write a cheque and so on.
CCTV in out of the way corners - absolutely. It has worked as a real deterrent to bad behaviour at DS2s school and when it doesn't deter it helps staff to see what went on.
There is nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide.

WaitingForPeterWimsey Thu 09-Jan-14 16:51:41

Reincarn, there have been assaults in private houses too. Would you think it was ok for the government to install CCTV in your living room??

stooshe Thu 09-Jan-14 17:05:15

I'm glad I was born when I was. Also glad that my daughter is grown. As for "nothing to fear if nothing to hide", that has to be the most nonsensical saying to justify anything on the face of the earth. With a quick scratch, any fool could argue that saying out of town, as it doesn't make sense and just sounds cute.
I best try and grow my afro hair into some kind of forelock. I'm gonna need to work out how to tug it very, very soon.

Reincarnatedpig Thu 09-Jan-14 17:16:19

WaitingforP - the assault involved a girl being physically dragged into the boys toilets and forced to perform a sex act. The only evidence was CCTV which clearly showed that the incident was not consensual.

At DD2's school which is new build, most walls are glass and the toilets are cubicles in an open plan area (with floor to ceiling doors and walls). The school say there is no hiding place and I for one am grateful. The school was notorious for assaults and bullying in the past.

ChunkyPickle Thu 09-Jan-14 17:24:19

It's not your fingerprint, as in police taking your prints - all that's stored is a kind of shorthand for your print - you couldn't take that shorthand and get a picture of the fingerprint back.

You leave your actual fingerprints lying around everywhere every day - this is no more dangerous than taking a signature in my opinion.

Besides, even if it was a full fingerprint, it seems to me that rather than being incriminating, it would introduce so much more doubt that a fingerprint was actually left by you, since your prints would be out there in the wild and easy to duplicate.

vestandknickers Thu 09-Jan-14 18:07:49

Such a non issue. Schools only use fingerprints for things like school dinners or issuing books. They are not using it to track children or to be brother-ish. The school would know who'd eaten a hot dinner or borrowed library book anyway, the fingerprinting just makes the process more efficient.

It has nothing to do with privacy (or lack of it) and everything to do with embracing new technology to make schools more efficient.

I haven't got a clue whether it is used in my children's schools and really couldn't care less. I trust the school to use whichever systems they feel are fit for purpose.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Thu 09-Jan-14 18:12:37

Don't be sp blooming stupid.

TalkinPeace Thu 09-Jan-14 18:20:44

MNHQ
why did you let such daft paranoia become the blog spot?
this "issue" has been chewed over many times on the Education Boards.
They do NOT take your fingerprint
it is NOT possible to identify somebody from the numbers the school stores
and I'd much rather the finger system that the bullying and theft that went with cash thank you very much

vestandknickers Thu 09-Jan-14 18:22:16

Well said talkin. This ill-informed nonsense should not be on the blog spot.

Reincarnatedpig Thu 09-Jan-14 18:23:10

I don't necessarily trust the school but overall it's not a big deal. I suppose in traditional societies there is no such thing as privacy a lot of the time.

I am a civil servant and can lay my hands on all sorts of private financial and personal information about people in minutes for example that banks or various other local or national govt organisations share. Unfortunately it is necessary to do my job.

Anyone can post on social media in seconds -
that is much more of a threat to children's privacy in my opinion.

Willemdefoeismine Thu 09-Jan-14 18:32:40

We did have to fill in a consent form before DS started at his super-selective....I seem to recall the bottom line is that the fingerprint record will be destroyed when he leaves the school.

I'm not really sure what I feel about it....I think the children seem less put-out by the civil liberties issues than we parents...but I guess that's because they don't see the wider picture....

MoreBeta Thu 09-Jan-14 18:34:32

We declined our children having fingers and thumbs scanned may years ago in school. We talk to them again last week when this story broke.

Its the conditioning of children that they have no right to privacy that bothers me. Our children need to know they can say 'no' to have personal data taken by someone in authority.

Reincarnatedpig Thu 09-Jan-14 18:46:05

I had to provide a picture of my DDs and a copy of her birth cert or passport when they started school plus "personal" details of my own such as my phone numbers etc. I do not think that a thumb print is any different from a signature which both me and DD's had to provide (signed school behaviour agreement).

isitsnowingyet Thu 09-Jan-14 19:37:33

Purleese - stupid stupid stupid people - they have this in my DS's school and I have no problem with it at all. Why would I? Try to worry about something worth worrying about

Dromedary Thu 09-Jan-14 20:14:12

ReallyTired says "Areas like bathrooms or changing rooms are places where sexual abuse is more likely to happen. Generally staff do not watch videos from these areas unless there is an allegation because they aren't perverts."

Believe it or not some staff are perverts. Why would teachers happen to be a group that includes no perverts? That statement has certainly been disproved plenty of times. There are supposed to be security measures around access to CCTV, but you can't rely on them being in place and working.

There was a recent incident in the press about a university where staff with access to CCTV footage posted online footage of some students having sex. There's plenty of room for abuse of CCTV.

mythbustinggov Thu 09-Jan-14 20:41:18

This ludicrous scaremongering blog is totally wrong. (I've set up an ID and signed in as it's made me so cross). I am both a senior secondary school governor and an IT Director and was involved in overseeing the introduction of a biometric system into our 1,400 student secondary school. None of the biometric systems store any biometric data - no child is fingerprinted. How they work is to use the fingerprint like a barcode - scanning it generates a unique number using the curves at several different points. All that's stored is the number against the student. It is simply not possible to reconstruct the fingerprint from the stored number - there's not enough information.

I was very concerned when the system was proposed, so (unlike the blog's author) I researched this in detail. NO FINGERPRINTS ARE TAKEN.

MNHQ should remove this blog immediately, it's factually wrong and scaremongering.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 09-Jan-14 21:04:47

Dd's school thumb print for canteen purchasing. Doesn't bother me at all. As others have said its not a proper thumb print, not enough info is retained/measured for it to be used for anything else, Blah, blah, more sciencey stuff, blah.

Not worth getting your knickers in a twist for at all.

SirChenjin Thu 09-Jan-14 21:05:16

Oh for goodness sake - really? I suggest that Big Brother Watch go and do something more productive than trying to whip up hysteria over school lunch cards.

ArgyMargy Thu 09-Jan-14 22:09:13

Agree - this is very silly. The thumbprint has so many advantages (like most technology) and stops abuse of lunch money etc. My son's school gates also allow 6th formers to leave and enter school premises using their thumb. Nothing whatsoever to do with privacy, unless you call allowing parents to see what their child has eaten as an invasion of privacy. Gah!

Frozennortherner Thu 09-Jan-14 22:13:46

Thankyou mythbustingov. That's a really sensible and explanatory post. Has Mumsnet turned into The Daily Mail, I wonder? Why such sensationalism? MNHQ - has your editorial and journalistic responsibility deserted you? you are whipping up paranoia by allowing this ridiculous blog post?

ButThereAgain Fri 10-Jan-14 00:36:34

Really don't understand why a sticky thread on mn's talkboard is the right place for what seems pretty much like a modified press release from this group (whose founder also seems to be associated with the Taxpayers Alliance, which doesn't exactly inspire confidence). They've managed to get the same story out into the press fairly effectively, so the info is out there for any mn user who wanted to start a thread about it in the usual way. The nice thing about a talkboard is a grassroots shaping of the discussion agenda. I can read a paper if I want a hit of lightly reprocessed press releases.

My son had his fingerprint scanned. I've no concerns about it, for the reasons the school governor outlined in an earlier post.

ButThereAgain Fri 10-Jan-14 01:25:09

Since they have an overlap of senior figures, is there a kind of symmetry between the Taxpayers Alliance and Big Brother Watch, I wonder? TA trawls for alleged examples of state entities Wasting Our Money, and BBW trawls for examples of state entities Stealing Our Data, with the starting principle in each case being that everything the state does should be treated as guilty-until-proved-innocent of a diabolical imposition. Rather than as attempts at collective projects for mutual benefit.

Just a thought. I don 't know much about BBW, so perhaps that isn't a fair picture.

xtremeraverbaby Fri 10-Jan-14 05:03:00

I think taking fingerprints is a bit excessive! just because qe have that technology doesnt mean everyone has to use it, also surely this lark is expensive wouldnt that money have been better spent? I think a basic swipe card with the pupil's photo would be more appropriate similar to what a lot of adults use to clock into work with, and foil bullys taking dinner/money at the same time

NumptyNameChange Fri 10-Jan-14 07:02:17

the post is massively lacking in any real facts that could allow anyone to take an informed view. re: are these full fingerprints that would stand up in court? how are they stored? how long are they stored for? are they destroyed when the child leaves school? how are they protected and are they shared with anyone? etc.

also love that the poster blithely asserts that schools should be teaching about data protection and rights to privacy and are failing by not doing so. guessing this is someone who hasn't worked in schools and got experience of the vast amount now expected to be covered within the curriculum on a limited timetable fit to bursting.

NigellasDealer Fri 10-Jan-14 08:09:49

hahahahaha 'rights to privacy' good that they learn young that there are none and that as adults they can have their fingerprints and DNA taken and added to Blair's database by the police at any time regardless of whether or not they have committed a crime. so it is good to get them in training for the surveillance society they have been born into.

CalamitouslyWrong Fri 10-Jan-14 08:50:15

Well the whole 'schools should be teaching x, y and z' thing is the kind of lazy argument that's employed about all and sundry, with no thought to when or how schools are supposed to do so. Schools aren't a panacea. You can't just keeping adding topics and subjects every time you think something in society needs fixed. And so often 'teach about' actually means 'teach children to believe what we want them to' not give them a range of information and the tools to think critically and come to their own position.

I agree that MN shouldn't be giving BBW's poorly thought through nonsense the publicity. It's scaremongering pure and simple.

WaitingForPeterWimsey Fri 10-Jan-14 09:38:27

Myth,

Can you explain a few questions I still have then, please?

So, finger is scanned and scanned image is given a unique identifier?

Scanned image is then deleted?

But of course the scanned image could always be retrieved as anything stored digitally is always retrievable?

If it is unique enough to distinguish between 1,400 pupils, why couldn't this scanned image be used in due course to identify someone for other purposes?

NumptyNameChange Fri 10-Jan-14 09:43:56

nothing links the print and the identifier presumably waiting - bit like when you go to an anonymous std clinic nothing links your name to your file as your name is replaced by a number for finding you and no record of number to name is kept - or that's how it used to be.

MrsSquirrel Fri 10-Jan-14 10:33:30

Waiting when the finger is scanned, but no image is created. The computer creates and stores a series of numbers that relate to certain points on the finger.

Later on, when the pupil buys their lunch and presents their finger, the computer goes through a similar process of creating a series of numbers and then 'looks' for those numbers on a database.

There is no scanned image to store or retrieve.

mythbustinggov Fri 10-Jan-14 12:31:18

Waiting - different systems work in different ways, but think of it like this. The scan draws a number of lines (4 or 5) across the finger at different points and directions and uses the random number of whorls (the lines in your fingerprint) along each line to generate a number. That number is then hashed with the other numbers from the other lines to produce a unique number. No pictures are taken, no fingerprint is stored so there is nothing to retrieve except a bunch of numbers from a random finger. (I know most places ask for the index finger or thumb, and some ask for a second as a 'backup' in case of an injury - but any finger or toe will do).

You can't lose a finger.
Well not as easily as cash or a swipe card.

JimmyCorkhill Fri 10-Jan-14 15:21:36

There seems to be a consensus that fingerprint ID is preferable as lots of children lose money/cards. Is it just me or is this another example of us molly coddling the next generation? In my day (!) if you lost your dinner money you had to deal with the consequences. Especially at secondary school age. Are we just teaching children that they don't need to be responsible for themselves?

SirChenjin Fri 10-Jan-14 15:31:02

No - we're using technology to make life easier and keep our money safer.

ArgyMargy Fri 10-Jan-14 16:26:43

What Sir said.

JimmyCorkhill Fri 10-Jan-14 19:43:45

Seriously? That's insane. So money will become completely virtual. How will children understand it if all they have to do is press their finger on a screen and payment is sorted. Yes, I use a bank card and internet banking but I have a grounding in actual coins and notes. Is it making life easier or is it handing over responsibility to others and expecting to be taken care of? That's giving away power and control of your own life.

mythbustinggov Fri 10-Jan-14 20:00:43

It's happening already - London Buses and Underground are going cashless, the school where I'm a governor is cashless, you can pay for things with your phone - and, more importantly, keep track of everything on your phone. How is that not beet than random lumps of metal and grubby bits of paper that anyone can take from you by force or stealth?

mythbustinggov Fri 10-Jan-14 20:01:31

Pah. Better, not beet. I'm not proposing some kind of root vegetable barter system.

SirChenjin Fri 10-Jan-14 20:10:39

So money will become completely virtual

It might - but that will be the world that generation lives in, and they will have adapted accordingly. The technology is already there - I wouldn't be at all surprised if actual money becomes obsolete fairly soon. 40 years ago we didn't have debit cards, internet banking or cash machines - now we use them as a matter of course, and I don't know about you but I certainly don't feel as if I'm handing control over to anyone; quite the opposite in fact.

On the other hand, I do quite like mythbustinggov's idea of a root vegetable barter system grin

JimmyCorkhill Fri 10-Jan-14 20:15:56

I'm not a Luddite. I don't have any desire to live 'off grid' grin But I just think that by making everything so simple you are removing both the responsibility and the understanding from people. If I go shopping and pay by card I probably couldn't tell you how much I spent as I am too removed from the process. My card was accepted and that's that. But if I pay by cash I am completely aware. It's why taking only the cash you need is suggested so often for budgeting. I'm sure you know of someone who has
paid the wrong amount on a chip and pin machine because we just type in the PIN and don't check or register the amount.

SirChenjin Fri 10-Jan-14 20:27:26

See - I'm the complete opposite. If I pay by cash I lose track of what I've spent - it becomes meaningless, whereas when I pay by debit card (which is what I usually do) then I can log onto internet banking and keep tabs of what I've spent down to the last 50p. I always check the amount before pressing enter on the keypad and had never encountered an incorrect amount entered by the shop assistant, whereas I have received the incorrect change in the past - had I not checked the change I would have stuck in back in my pocket (as I'm sure many people do) and walked away.

Debit cards and internet banking all the way here - and I'm an ancient in my mid forties grin

CalamitouslyWrong Fri 10-Jan-14 22:01:15

I almost never have any cash on me. I find it really annoying when I have to pay in cash. If I could pay for everything electronically, I would.

Any cash that I have ends up frittered away on silly stuff. 'Oh, I've got a pound in my purse. Yes, you can have one of those pokemon capsules they have machines that dispense them in sainsbury's'.

DrNick Fri 10-Jan-14 22:02:08

BOLLOCKS

the fingerprint thing is nothing

DrNick Fri 10-Jan-14 22:02:36

you lot need to recognise how unintegrated education IT is

HSMMaCM Fri 10-Jan-14 22:06:33

DD pays for her lunches with her finger, but we were asked permission first.

TalkinPeace Fri 10-Jan-14 22:12:33

A really strong argument in favour of the finger system.
NO other pupil can see the balance on another's account
therefore those pupils whose accounts are replenished by FSM are not highlighted
they are in line with those whose accounts are replenished by trust fund

responsible with money
yeah - simple
I can log in and see whay my kids buy
I can stop their account
and for kids with dietary problems, it will not let them buy inappropriate foods

nanny state, or using technology for the good of all
I prefer the latter

PS
as a governor I've seen the fingerprint file - its a list of 11 digit numbers as per the post above
they are not pictures - as is done at the US border

DrNick Fri 10-Jan-14 22:13:50

the OP needs to find something really serious to worry about iMO

CalamitouslyWrong Fri 10-Jan-14 22:16:13

If I were going to be worrying about privacy and any kind of fingerprinting, I'd worry more about the US government having my family's than the kids' schools having theirs. They're much more likely to use it in some dubious way.

bruffin Fri 10-Jan-14 22:18:21

My dcs text me to put money on their thumb. They know the money isnt limitless. Ds also registers by his thumb in 6th form.

JimmyCorkhill Fri 10-Jan-14 23:28:55

^I can log in and see whay my kids buy
I can stop their account
and for kids with dietary problems, it will not let them buy inappropriate foods^
But this is what I think is bad - they are not learning any responsibility for themselves.

JimmyCorkhill Fri 10-Jan-14 23:30:39

Italics fail smile
I can log in and see whay my kids buy
I can stop their account
and for kids with dietary problems, it will not let them buy inappropriate foods
But this is what I think is bad - they are not learning any responsibility for themselves.

NumptyNameChange Sat 11-Jan-14 08:06:00

but in the same way as if they have ten pounds cash a week for dinner money and they spend it all on mon, tues, weds they will having nothing for thurs, fri if they use their weeks credit on account in three days the same applies. in reality if they have a weekly credit they are learning more control and responsibility than being handed two pound a day. and in real adult life they will have x amount a month go into their bank account and need to responsibly use it and measure it out rather than their bosses handing them some cash on a daily basis.

you can actually be more irresponsible with cash and get away with it - re: i give you two pound for lunch and you spend it on a giant bar of chocolate and a monster drink on the way to school - you might wish you had some money at lunchtime but hey you get another shot tomorrow and no one knowing that you did this today.

all money is virtual in reality - whether it's pieces of paper and coins or credits on a screen both are purely symbolic.

i personally would not want to do away with cash though as it would mean absolutely zero privacy in terms of what money you have, what you spend, where you are etc. cash allows you privacy in that it can't be tracked. i use cash quite a bit personally as i don't like every payment and management of my money being on record - rationally or not. i also believe in keeping a decent sum of cash around for emergencies. it only takes a massive bug in the system or power grid failure or something to leave electronic systems offline.

NumptyNameChange Sat 11-Jan-14 08:06:50

(i haven't gotten to the stage of hoarding food in a bunker yet mind wink )

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