Texas parents to collect students’ biometrics; Sydney school loo-turns on fingerprints
Parents in Texas have been given the option to collect DNA samples of their children using freely distributed test kits, and store the samples at home in case of events such as the need to identify missing children. The scheme is being widely interpreted as a strategy for identifying children killed in school shootings. This comes as a high school in Sydney, which had earlier informed parents of its desires to capture the fingerprint biometrics to be used to access toilets, is now backpedaling in response to concerns from rights campaigners.
In biometrics deployments for exams, Nigeria says it is making the capture of double fingerprints mandatory for all candidates registering for the university entrance exams, abbreviated to JAMB. And in India’s Telangana state, biometrics will be used to verify the identity of thousands of candidates who sat a recent exam for recruitment into the public service.
Texas schools DNA kits initiative sparks anger
The government of the state of Texas has faced criticism over its move to distribute free DNA test kits to parents who can collect a DNA sample and fingerprint data and store it in case a child goes missing, as part of the “Child Identification Program,” reports The Washington Post.
After the 24 May shooting at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, families of children who were unaccounted for were asked to provide DNA samples to help identify disfigured bodies of children who lost their lives in the incident.
Some parents have shown anger against the move, saying it would have been better for the state government to push for stricter gun laws to curb gun violence especially in the schools, rather than distribute DNA kits. Others have also raised privacy concerns about the data to be collected.
The Post notes that the move is part of a law enacted last year establishing a child identification program. State officials say the supply of kits is statutory, while their usage is optional.
Sydney Moorebank high school dropping student fingerprint project
Sydney’s Moorebank high school has backtracked on its plan to collect student fingerprints to be used to access toilets in an attempt to monitor certain anti-social behaviors among students such as vandalism.
The plan was halted after activists said it would give room for invasion of the students’ privacy, reports Sky News.
The authorities had informed parents in a school newsletter that the fingerprint scanning project was meant to monitor students’ behavior in school, while assuring that the biometric data collected would be safely stored.
One of the activists, Samantha Floreani, argued that students could suffer ID fraud should the biometric database be compromised, according to the news outlet, though the biometric data is stored only as encrypted templates.
Deployments of biometrics for school safety have been seen elsewhere, with recent reports of schools in Montana deploying facial recognition as one example.
Nigeria university exam candidates to submit double fingerprints
Candidates applying for examinations organized by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in Nigeria will henceforth have two fingerprints captured as a mandatory requirement to have their registration slip printed.
This is one of a number of innovations introduced by the board as explained recently in a Weekly Bulletin from the office of the JAMB registrar, reports Punch.
The candidate will then have his identity verified on the day of the exams by matching his fingerprint with those captured and stored in the database. Indication of which fingerprints were captured will be included on the registration and examination slips of the candidate.
Officials have already made the digital ID (NIN) a mandatory credential for the JAMB exams application process.
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