School District Drops Palm Scanners after Outcry

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A Maryland school district has suspended its biometrics program after receiving pressure from the public and a civil liberties group.

The superintendent of Carroll County schools said the new palm scanner program is dividing the community and that's not his intent.

The Rutherford Institute called on the school system to drop the program.

More than 50 school systems in the country use biometric scanners. The technology identifies students using physical characteristics, like fingerprints.

Khaliah Barnes, open-government counsel with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told The Baltimore Sun parents should have been allowed to opt their kids out of the program.

"With students, this presents unique privacy threats," Barnes said. "We're talking about elementary school students, and that type of technology can make children less inclined to the rights of privacy."

"Imagine being tracked from age 8 to age 16, and then a university continues to use it, it becomes old hat and makes them less inclined to recognize privacy threats," he added.

School officials say the systems save time and money.

But the Rutherford Institute calls them a "stealth move on the part of corporations and schools to further entrench the surveillance state."

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