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Columnist: Biometrics in schools may pose privacy issues

As schools in the United States begin implementing biometric data gathering to expedite processes such as lunch payments and bus rides, Anita Ramasastry writes on Justia that parents should also be concerned with privacy issues surrounding gathering this information on children.

Ramasastry notes that a small number of schools around the nation are implementing the Palm Secure biometric palm scanner as a means for students to make purchases in the school cafeteria. The palm scanner converts the palm image into an algorithm, which then ties students to their purchases. Some schools are also planning to implement biometric data gathering to track when students get on and off school buses.

While schools may see this type of data monitoring as a way to save money and increase efficiencies, Ramasastry points out that it may have great privacy implications in terms of how the data is and can be used. If a system can track and monitor children’s movements to great detail, the information may be used by police for law enforcement purposes.

Ramasastry notes how school systems have flubbed in implementing systems without enabling parents to opt-in or opt-out their children first. She also warns of desensitizing children to this type of data gathering by gearing these systems to young children who may not question the privacy implications behind the data gathering.

Read more here.

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