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Texas School Lunch Cameras to Monitor French Fries

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on May 20, 2011 12:48 PM

You are what you eat, and when you eat - guess what will happen? In the Lone Star State, a photo of your food is snapped, courtesy of a school lunch camera. A Texas school has decided to go high-tech in its fight against obesity with a $2 million grant.

Their plan is to install high-tech school lunch cameras at the elementary school lunch line, capturing what students are eating for lunch. And, when lunch is over, the cameras are going to be rolling again, capturing what leftovers they have, reports Reuters. The cameras and underlying technology will identify the food, and capture the nutritional content.

Officials want to study the eating habits of children so they can better design meal programs that can combat widespread health problems like obesity and diabetes, according to the AP. But is this an invasion of privacy?

While we may not feel comfortable knowing that Big Brother is analyzing the nutritional intake of children via cameras, there is no real indication that this is an invasion of privacy by using these cameras.

Cameras are often used, legally, in public and non-public places. Mall parking lots have security cameras installed, and some workplaces have cameras installed to help monitor employees. Of course, this generally requires that the employee have notice that they're on camera.

Invasion of privacy issues arise when cameras are rolling in places where people have an expectation of privacy. In this case, the school is notifying parents and children that their food is going to be monitored. Plus, the children's food - not the children - will be the ones being captured.

Maybe you want your own school lunch camera? Texas schools will have four years to pilot this program, but if you are not a student in one of these schools be aware that there is even an iPhone app that purportedly does the same thing - snap a picture, see how many calories you just ate.

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