Monday, January 14, 2008

Arizona to propose leglislation for schools fingerprinting children

After Espiritu community schools in Phoenix, USA, fingerprinted children without even notifying parents to allegedly shorten lunch queues parents were rightly outraged.

Parent Shirley Wallace was outraged when she found out what happened to her kids at school. "Since when does anyone have the right to fingerprint our children, especially without parents' permission?"

Fred Bellamy is a Phoenix attorney who specializes in Technology Law. He says fingerprinting children without parental consent is sending the wrong message.

"Once the data are captured," Bellamy says, "No matter what kind of promises the vendor may make, there is a serious risk. And I think the parents have every reason to be concerned about how this data will ultimately be used."

The schools, yet again, quote the old 'it's not a fingerprint but a string of numbers...' blerb.

Fingerprints can be reconstructed from number strings, see here, however as state fingerprint databases are increasingly algorithmic it does matter or not if a fingerprint is stored as the numbers stored operate in the same way a fingerprint does. It is a biometric marker of the child using the scanner.

As a consequence "Arizona State Sen. Karen Johnson and State Rep. Andy Biggs plan to propose legislation this session. The bill would require schools to get parent’s' permission before fingerprinting any child."

Good for them.

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