June 1, 2013
The School District of Polk County (SDPC), Florida informed parents of a student safety pilot program being implemented in their schools.
With the assistance of Stanley Convergent Security Solutions (SCSS) the SDPC would be able to take “a picture of the iris, which is unique to every individual.”
SCSS is “the second largest electronic security company based on total revenue and one of the largest system integrators in the United States.”
The biometric tech corporation “designs, installs, monitors and services security systems for industrial, government, commercial, residential and national account customers.”
Outlined in a letter to parents, Rob Davis, senior director of support services stated: “With this program, we will be able to identify when and where a student gets on the bus, when they arrive at their school location, when and what bus the student boards and disembarks in the afternoon. This is an effort to further enhance the safety of our students. The EyeSwipe-Nano is an ideal replacement for the card based system since your child will not have to be responsible for carrying an identification card.”
EyeSwpie-Nano (ESN) is manufactured by Eyelock.
ESN “is a miniaturized iris-based recognition system capable of providing real-time identification, both in-motion and at a distance.”
EyeLock “is an advanced iris based identity management technology solutions company focused on developing next-generation systems for global access control and identity management.”
Parents became quite upset when they found out that their children had been subjected to biometric identification scanning without their consent.
One parent said: “I believe our privacy has been invaded. I don’t think it was right and it was done unlawfully. This is a fingerprint of my child. Where does this information live? Who has a hold of it?”
Davis claims that SCSS confirmed they delete “all records . . . until we can hash out all the details of this pilot.”
In 2006, the Freehold Borough School District (FBSD) began using iris-scanning devices to authorize entrance onto the campus by adults. Despite privacy complaints, the FBSD asserted that biometric security was the future and their district would set the standard.
Later this year, at the 2013 Biometric Consortium Conference and Technology Expo (BCC), educators, academia and researchers will be among the attendees who will learn about how biometrics applications are the most effective identification and personal authentication solutions.
In the UK, the National Pupil Database (NPD) houses biometric information about British students for use of the government.
The Administrative Data Liaison Service describes the NPD as “one of the richest education datasets in the world, holding a wide range of information about students who attend schools and colleges in England. The NPD combines the examination results of pupils with information on pupil and school characteristics and is an amalgamation of a number of different datasets, including Key State attainment data and Schools Census data (formerly known as PLASC) which are linked using a unique identifier for each pupil.”
The Biometrics Institute (BI), an international coalition of biometric users, academics and industry members want the UK government to rethink their widening use of the NPD as well as their burgeoning use of biometric technologies to create database profiles on citizens. BI is concerned that private sector corporations would now have access to the NPD which would open the door for Facebook and Google to use this information for nefarious purposes.
The BI was formed to “promote the responsible use of biometrics as an international forum for biometric users and other interested parties.” Their goals are to make sure:
• Promote ethical use of biometric technologies
• Retain privacy considerations
• Educate the public, governments and corporations on biometrics
• Influence standards of use of biometrics
• Test technology for on behalf of the industry
• Encourage research and development of biometrics
Terry Aulich, chair of the BI Privacy Committee explained: “Privacy breaches can have dangerous and disturbing consequences. All parents and pupils need water-tight guarantees to prevent any personal data, whether it is linked or consolidated, getting into the wrong hands or being misused by external groups such as the media and marketers, and criminals. Children cannot exercise informed consent about how their data is used and their parents are often unaware of the risks.”
More than 200 CCTV cameras have been installed in bathrooms and changing rooms to monitor students in the UK.
Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch said that parents were not aware of this new development and that schools should explain what is being done with the footage recorded.
These cameras were installed in 207 schools in England, Scotland and Wales. While the reasoning for this development is explained as necessary to divert crime, there is no significant research proving that CCTV cameras lower crime rates.