Bill 188 passes Florida Senate, looks to ban biometric collection in schools

March 28, 2014 - 

Bill 188, which looks to ban the collection of biometric information from students in Florida, has now passed the full Senate.

“The risk of students’ personal information being lost or stolen through the collection and use of biometric data by schools, outweighs any benefit there might be in the schools using it,” Senator Dorothy Hukill, who spearheaded this bill said in a release. “We are protecting our students’ futures by ensuring the protection of their biometric information today.”

Earlier this year, the Bill passed its first committee with unanimous support.

Reported previously, a separate Senate bill was recently tabled in Maryland that would also see the collection of biometric information from students banned. This includes, not only biometric registration but also participation in other biometric programs including options for purchasing lunch in school cafeterias.

Bill 188 has been watched closely by the biometrics community, as the implication to business could be widespread.

“I’m concerned this precedent could spill over to other states due to mostly a lack of education on what these systems do or don’t do,” Janice Kephart, the founder of the Secure Identity & Biometrics Association (SIBA) and an outspoken advocate for the use of new authentication technologies said in an interview with BiometricUpdate. “It’s really concerning.”

SIBA has also released an official statement following the news that bill 188 had passed the Senate, saying that “the Senate vote is based on misunderstood science and penalizes the entire state because two districts out of 67 counties failed to follow simple and obvious program protocols. As a result, sensible biometric program implementation that includes these protocols in places like Miami-Dade are threatened because legislators believe that using biometrics to keep kids safe on buses and well fed in the lunchroom could lead to identity theft.”

BiometricUpdate.com has looked at the controversy surrounding biometric programs in schools through the lens of school cafeterias. Read the full feature here. 

“It is a myth that identity theft and biometrics go hand-in-hand. Biometrics helps prevent identity theft. I should know. I drafted the digital federal criminal identity theft law signed by President Clinton in 1998 and used by federal prosecutors to go after identity thieves,” Kephart said in the official SIBA statement. “SIBA is a huge supporter of protecting identity, and biometrics are key to that.”

Also reported previously in BiometricUpdate, confusion around parental consent and the completion of a contract has prevented Stanley Convergent Security Solutions from deploying an iris-scanning pilot project for the Polk County School District in Florida.

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About Adam Vrankulj

Adam Vrankulj is an editor for BiometricUpdate.com. His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for CBCNews.ca, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj