Thursday, December 07, 2006

Plans to scan student fingerprints called off

This article from the LA Times 6 December.

Proposal was supposed to speed food lines and deter theft at
University High, but school district officials scrap the idea after privacy issues are raised.

Ted Faison, a parent of a University senior, had concerns about the legality and constitutionality of fingerprinting students. He decided to try to stop the school from implementing the project after receiving a letter from the school Friday stating the school was to begin scanning the 2,300-plus students starting Monday

"It's a violation of their privacy," he said. "They collect enough information to identify a person's fingerprint, and could easily share this with law enforcement or anyone else. Students would have no control over where the information could be used."

"This is not something we will be using at our schools," said Ian Hanigan, district spokesman. "It's safe to say that this pilot [program] was marched out probably a little too quickly, without the study and evaluation needed to do something like this."

Hector Villagra, director of the Orange County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, agreed. "Parents are rightly concerned about the privacy of their children," he said. "These fingerprint scanners look like overkill. You can do the same identification of students without this type of technology and without the danger of creating a database that could be used for other purposes or that could be breached."

Junior Emerald Greene described the proposal as "creepy.""It is an invasion of privacy because they are monitoring what food I buy and how much money I spend," the 17-year-old said.

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