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Some schools still see a good tradeoff when looking at biometrics

Categories Biometrics News  |  Schools  |  Surveillance
Some schools still see a good tradeoff when looking at biometrics

Little has changed in the debate whether to use biometrics in schools. Some communities continue to reject them while others see a good investment.

Easily one of the more notable biometrics deployments – in schools or out – a Sydney, Australia, high school plans to mount fingerprint scanners at the entrances to outdoor student restrooms to both track children and deter vandalism.

According to The Guardian, administrators have been discussing biometrics security with parents, some of whom oppose the plan, for two years. Almost all students have voluntarily recorded their fingerprints already.

Children can request an access card prior to each visit rather than participate in finger-scanning. Each scanned print is turned into code that is compared to the fingerprint originally submitted. The original is not stored on school systems.

Opponents, including a program lead at Digital Rights Watch, say implementing biometric hardware and software is disproportionate to the stated goal. A data breach alone could have life-long consequences for students, according to the story.

In the United Kingdom, has issued guidelines, although not laws, designed to protect student biometric data.

In the United States, rural Marion County, West Virginia, schools are getting face biometrics-backed surveillance. The board of education this week voted unanimously to spend $180,000 on Rank One software and maintenance, according to The Fairmont News, following a pilot project.

Board members were sold on the prospect of identifying people in schools. Unidentified people would presumably be met and challenged. It also can stop unrecorded faces at school entry doors, according to the article

The U.S. market for biometric – or any other technology – that can keep children in U.S. schools safer has benefited from court cases making it easier for people to carry hidden firearms. Omdia forecasts an 8 percent annual increase in school security spending in the U.S. from $3.1 billion in 2021, EdWeek Market Brief reports.

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