Thursday, November 29, 2007

Canadian students object to biometic access - for gym access

The University of Northern British Columbia has installed biometric scanners "controlling access to the sports centre" [why?] 300 students have signed an online petition opposing it.

"Graduate student Gabrielle Wint-Rose wasn't sure why her gym needs such personal data, and said the invasiveness of the system should have been considered and students consulted before installing the system.

"It was a really shocking experience. It really wakes you up. You realize you walk into this facility and the only way to access is through finger scanning and all of sudden you're in this moment where you have no choice. What do you do?" said Wint-Rose on Wednesday.

Lindsay Stinson told CBC News she was upset she had to register her fingerprint and give personal information before she could work out at her university's new gym."

Proportionality in this must be considered. Who would want to monitor or possibly profile students exercise information? Does the university own the gym or do they lease it out to a private company? Where does the students data go?

Want to exercise = give personal biometric data? (would suggest boycotting gym and jogging instead, cheaper and non intrusive)

Students in Canada have (absolutely) more awareness than UK primary school pupils, 4 years old, that are now using fingerprint biometric systems here, and in the USA, without parental consent/knowledge.

With the Canadian students being older and having awareness of their personal data, they consequently raise valid privacy issues:

"Wint-Rose said she is concerned about what happens to the biometric information and who controls it.

"The northern sports centre has my information. I have no way of getting that back. I don't know how it's being collected, where it's being stored, who has access to this information," said Wint-Rose."

The following is a published paper by the Candian Information and Privacy Commissioner in March 2007:

Biometric Encryption: A Positive-Sum Technology that Achieves Strong Authentication, Security AND Privacy
Ann Cavoukian, Ph.D. Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario &
Alex Stoianov, Ph.D. Biometrics Scientist

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