POLK COUNTY, FL – Parents are in shock after finding out three schools in Florida had been using iris scanners to collect biometric data about their children, without their permission.
Part of a pilot program built by Stanley Convergent Security Solutions, the scans had been happening for a week before parents were notified or given the opportunity to opt out according to WTSP.com. Many of them took to social media to spread the word of what they see as an encroachment on their family’s privacy.
Proponents of the program say the technology presents an easier way to keep tabs on students than the current system which requires them to wear ID badges while on campus. Privacy advocates and many parents however, are not happy with what they see as a ‘Big Brother’ style invasion of children’s lives.
On her blog at michellemalkin.com, syndicated national columnist Michelle Malkin says students at Daniel Jenkins Academy, Bethune Academy, and Davenport School of the Arts (all in Polk County, Florida) underwent iris scans as part of a ‘student safety’ program.
A letter home to parents from Rob Davis, the Polk county school board’s senior director of support services read: “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 school board has since admitted their error in not notifying parents and have assured all parties that the information collected has been destroyed. Polk had planned to install Eye Swipe-Nano units on 17 local school buses, but WTSP.com reports the program has been suspended.