Campus Cards, College and University Identification and Security

British schools get learned about biometric dos and don'ts

Monday, July 23, 2007

Schools in Britain are being given official guidelines outlining how they can use and store students’ biometric information. The main rule is that when children leave a school or if the original purpose of collecting fingerprints were to use them for library book check-out, and that purpose no longer applies, schools must destroy the personal information. Schools are also not allowed to hand over biometric information to any other organization, even the police. The guidelines also require schools to have sufficient IT security to protect private data. Find out what else the British Schools Minister said to BBC News[end] 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign a bill that would ban biometric in schools throughout the state. In this latest edition of the Regarding ID podcast, legislators detail why they think a ban is necessary instead of providing an opt-out provision. Senator Dorothy Hukill (R – Port Orange) says the biometric ban is intended to protect students from having their identities stolen even though she admits that there is no recorded instance of a biometric database being breached and used to steal an individual’s identity.  

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The use of biometrics in schools is once again the topic of debate in the Florida legislature, with lawmakers considering a proposal that would prohibit school districts from collecting biometric information – including fingerprints, handprints, iris and voice.

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The much-publicized biometrics bill in the state of Florida – SB 188 proposed by Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange – has passed through he House without any additional amendments. The bill awaits Gov. Rick Scott’s signature before becoming law.

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Biometric data of more than 7,000 students has been obtained by secondary schools in Cornwall, United Kingdom, according to the Cornish Guardian.

In total, 12 schools have collected fingerprint data of their students using electronic scanners since the technology first came into use nearly ten years ago; these figures indicate that more than a third of secondary schools in Cornwall are using the technology.

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The use of biometrics in schools is a hot-button issue, and one that raises significant concerns over the privacy and civil rights of young people. When conducted without the express consent of students – and more importantly their parents and guardians – the results can be disastrous. Just ask the folks at the Polk County School District.

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Students in Shanghai can now use electronic student ID cards to gain free or reduced admission to 60 of the city’s science and history museums, sports arenas and cultural venues.

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