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Senate bill could ban biometric data collection from school children in Maryland


Republican State Senator Joseph M. Getty has recently proposed a bill that would ban the gathering of biometric data from school children in Maryland.

Reported in the Baltimore Sun, the bill, Senate Bill 855, “would prohibit school boards from collecting biometric information,  defined as “fingerprint, vocal and facial characteristics; and any other physical characteristics used for the purpose of electronically identifying that individual with a high degree of certainty.”

A hearing has been set for this week before the Senate, Education, Health and Environmental Affairs committee.

Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, the Carroll County Public Schools in Maryland had halted the implementation of palm scanners within the district, as the community expressed privacy concerns. The total cost of the program would have been US$300,000 plus maintenance contracts with PalmSecure.

According to the Baltimore Sun report, Board of County Commissioners member Robin Frazier has planned to attend the hearing to testify in favor of Getty’s measure.

Biometrics in schools can be a hot topic in the biometrics community right now, though they are implemented for a number of reasons from helping kids safely pay for lunch to monitoring the attendance of teachers.

Reported in BiometricUpdate.com, the Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District in New Jersey is set to install a biometric fingerprint payment system for students to purchase lunch, similar to what is being contested in Maryland today.

The Department of Basic Education in South Africa has plans for a massive project that would see 24,000 schools equipped with biometric verification devices, though these are primarily intended to curb teacher absenteeism.

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