Campus Cards, College and University Identification and Security

Carroll county schools scrap biometrics in cafeterias

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

After a two-month pilot of using palm scans to pay for cafeteria lunches, Carroll County, Md. schools have scrapped the program, reports the Baltimore Sun.

The program was tested in ten schools to speed up transactions and give children more time to eat, but parental concerns over children’s privacy led to the demise of the program.

While privacy was stated as a main concern, Baltimore Sun blogger Steve Earley notes that biometrics is becoming more of a trend and could soon become as common as using passwords.

Earley notes biometrics is already making headways as a means of identification within the government and the banking industry. Health care is another prime sector where biometric applications can easily automate and simplify processes. Some fitness-related products incorporating biometrics are coming onto the market and could encourage adoption of the technology by consumers.

Yet, while biometrics could simplify technology use, the fact that people only have one set of biometric identifiers does make the potential for privacy-related problems an underlying factor in protecting our information.

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Lincroft, New Jersey’s Oak Hill Academy has installed the Fujitsu PalmEntry access control system at access points across its 20-acre campus. Oak Hill Academy administrators chose the PalmEntry solution for its dependable, non-intrusive biometrics technology. The academy currently registers its fifth through eighth grade students in the PalmEntry system along with all faculty and staff.

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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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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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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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