Some schools still see a good compromise when it comes to biometrics

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

Easily one of the most notable biometric deployments – in schools or outdoors – a high school in Sydney, Australia, plans to mount fingerprint scanners at entrances to student outhouses to track children and deter vandalism.

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

Children can request an access card before each visit rather than participate in the finger scan. Each digitized fingerprint is transformed into a code which is compared to the initially submitted fingerprint. The original is not stored on school systems.

Opponents, including a program manager at Digital Rights Watch, say the implementation of biometric hardware and software is disproportionate to the stated purpose. A data breach alone could have lifelong consequences for students, according to the story.

In the UK, published guidelines, but not laws, designed to protect student biometric data.

In the United States, in rural Marion County, West Virginia, schools are under heavy surveillance with biometrics. This week, the Board of Education voted unanimously to spend $180,000 on Tier 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 probably be met and arrested. It can also stop unregistered faces at school entrance gates, according to the article.

The US market for biometrics – or any other technology – that can keep children safe in US schools has benefited from court cases making it easier to carry concealed firearms. Omdia predicts an 8% annual increase in school safety spending in the United States, from $3.1 billion in 2021, Presentation of the EdWeek market reports.

Article topics

access control | biometrics | children | facial recognition | fingerprint biometrics | monitoring | Top Tier Computing | schools | video surveillance

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