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Biometrics use at Massachusetts school raise privacy concerns from parents


The school system in North Adams, Massachusetts is introducing biometrics tofacilitate lunch lines at schools, which has raised concerns among parents about privacy and government interfering with their children’s lives, according to a report by iBerkshires.com.

The move follows more than a year of meetings regarding parents’ refusal to pay for delinquent lunch bills, misconceptions about free and discounted lunches, and privacy issues.

When a notice informing parents about the new biometrics technology was sent home with children, many parents and community members took to Facebook to petition the changes, calling it an invasion of privacy.

The district’s “point of sale” equipment, NutriKids, is supported by identiMetrics biometric readers.

The technology is designed to help move students more efficiently through school cafeteria lines, as well as allow parents to accurately monitor their children’s lunch habits online, said public schools food service director Corey Nicholas, adding that the technology will “streamline the system and make the transactions more accurate.”

The biometric readers from identiMetrics register the individual’s pattern created by the intersection of unique elements of the print against a grid, which are then encrypted as binary numbers and are stored and compared in further scans.

“The software cannot recreate the fingerprint itself because it does not store the fingerprint,” said identiMetrics president and CEO Raymond J. Fry.

In June, Florida banned the use of biometrics in schools over concerns about children’s privacy and a civil rights.

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