Several U.S. states have implemented bans or restrictions on the use of biometric technologies in schools as concerns over student privacy have increased in response to recent breaches of government and commercial databases, according to a report by The PEW Charitable Trusts. Earlier this year, Florida became the first state in the nation to ban the use of biometric identification in its schools.
(Editor’s Note: This is a follow-up to Florida Lawmakers To Consider Banning Biometrics In Schools) – A bill that would ban Florida school districts from using biometrics —such as iris, retina, fingerprint, and palm scans— is poised to become law. Senate Bill 188, known as the biometrics bill, is sponsored by state Sen. Dorothy L. […]
TALLAHASSEE — Polk County parents were apoplectic last year when they discovered the school district had been scanning the irises of students’ eyes without parental permission. The controversial practice might soon be banned. On Tuesday, state lawmakers will take up a proposal that would prohibit school districts from collecting biometric information, including the characteristics of fingerprints, hands, eyes and the voice. It would affect the Pinellas County school district, which allows schools to scan the palms of students’ hands instead of accepting cash in the cafeteria, and school systems that use fingerprint scanners. “We’ve been able to get kids through a lunch line for decades,” said state Sen. Dorothy Hukill, a Port Orange Republican who brought the idea to the Florida Senate. “Why do we need to take their biometric information when we know there is the potential for identity theft?” But the idea may meet resistance from local school boards, some of which want the flexibility to create their own policies. “Biometrics is coming,” said Miami-Dade School Board member Raquel Regalado, who spearheaded an effort to create a local biometrics policy this month. “It exists in the market. It will exist in our schools. It may end up being a viable way to ensure there isn’t fraud.” Broward school officials said there is no district-wide use of biometrics. The measure being considered by the Florida Legislature is part of a larger bill meant to address concerns over student data security. For years, Florida schools have used student achievement […]
New research has been published that shows more than one million children in England have had their fingerprints taken by their school, demonstrating a high demand for the technology despite possible privacy concerns. The figures come from a Big Brother Watch report " Biometrics in Schools " which calculated that over 1.28 million students had been fingerprinted in secondary schools and academies (based on data from the 2012-13 academic year). The research, gathered from Freedom of Information Requests to more than 3,000 schools, shows that at the start of the academic year 2012-13 an estimated 40% of schools in England are using biometric technology. Laws governing the enrolling of biometrics in schools were enshrined in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. Before that Act came into force, Big Brother Watch estimates that 31% of schools did not consult parents before enrolling children. Under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, the rules for schools and colleges that use biometric recognition systems, such as fingerprint identification and facial scanning, now state: For all pupils in schools and colleges under 18, they must obtain the written consent of a parent before they take and process their child’s biometric data. They must treat the data with appropriate care and must comply with data protection principles as set out in the Data Protection Act 1998. They must provide alternative means for accessing services where a parent or pupil has refused consent. A spokesman at the Association of School and College Leaders – which represents secondary […]