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Florida legislatiure bans collection of student biometrics

2014 April 22
by Todd Plesco

The Florida legislature has passed an education data privacy measure, SB 188, which would prohibit public schools from collection and use of student biometric data.  Data would include “fingerprint or hand scan, a retina or iris scan, a voice print, or a facial geometry scan” and  “weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and the most recent educational agency or institution attended by the student.”.

The measure additionally includes wording to protect against the harvesting of students’ and parents’ political affiliation, voting history and religious affiliation, as well as banning ad-hoc contact by sales marketers or journalists.  The measure stipulates the replacement of social security numbers in databases by a proposed student identification system.  Perhaps this is a drive to create a statewide ERP system?

The bill is scheduled to be signed by Florida Governor Rick Scott.

One county school district will have to sunset their current use of a $155,000 palm scanner system which is used to debit lunch accounts.

California Penal Code Section 530.5-530.55 prohibits obtaining personally identifying information of another person with the intention of using that information for an unlawful purpose. This includes biometric information such as fingerprints, voiceprints, retina and iris images, and other data as personally identifying information.  A prosecutor must show that the defendant willfully obtained the personally identifying information and used it without the owner’s consent. California law also criminalizes the sale or transfer of another person’s personally identifying information when the defendant had actual knowledge that the information would be used for an unlawful purpose or the defendant had a fraudulent intent when selling or transferring the information.



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