State legislatures grapple with biometrics use in schools

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Biometric technology has embedded itself into the security protocols of both public- and private-sector organizations worldwide. But while the efficiency benefits gained from using fingerprint and iris scans can be useful, lawmakers are starting to look at restricting the technology’s use in U.S. K-12 schools.

Florida has legislation pending that would outright ban the collection of biometric data in its public school system. Senate Bill 188, sponsored by Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, sailed through the Sunshine State’s legislature and appears headed to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk for his signature.

Florida isn’t alone in its concern over biometric data. Maryland looked at the issue last year with legislation specifically aimed at public schools in Carroll County. Senate Bill 855, would have prohibited schools from further use of palm scanners that were being used in cafeterias. Unlike the Florida measure, however, the Maryland legislation died with an unfavorable report by the Ways & Means Committee.

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