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Florida's biometric school ban passes into law

Andrew Hudson   ||   May 14, 2014  ||   ,

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has officially signed the biometric ban proposed in Florida that will prohibit schools from collecting the palm scans, iris scans or fingerprints of its students.

Senator Dorothy L. Hukill (R - Port Orange) proposed Senate Bill 188, Education Data Privacy, which bans the collection of any and all biometric data in Florida public schools – a law that will go into effect this summer. The law not only bans the collection of students’ biometric information, but also mandates that parents and students be notified annually of their rights regarding education records, as well as requires the Department of Education to assign Florida Student Identification Numbers in lieu of social security numbers to manage student records and data.

With the signature of Gov. Rick Scott, Hukill’s bill marks the first state law in the nation to ban the collection of students’ biometric data – a decision that is likely to have far-reaching consequences.

While the intentions of Senator Hukill and Florida State Rep. Jake Raburn (R - Valrico) – the bill’s House sponsor – seem well placed, the overriding concern is that biometrics as a technology remains largely misunderstood. Those within the biometrics industry have been left perplexed by the decision to ban the use of biometrics in schools, where the technology could be used to not only facilitate daily administrative tasks, but also safeguard children as they board a bus or enter school premises.

One thing remains certain, Florida’s new legislation is a clear shot across the bow for a biometrics industry that has already cemented itself in virtually every other facet of daily life, including corporate enterprises, financial institutions, hospitals and even consumer electronics. It would be a shame to condemn biometrics out of simple misunderstanding, and ban a technology that– when implemented properly – can help to safeguard personal information.

For more on Senator Hukill’s bill, listen in on RegardingID’s podcast here.

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