For Hometown News
State Sen. Dorothy L. Hukill, R-Port Orange, has filed Senate Bill 188 that defines the use of biometric information and protects students' privacy rights.
The bill provides parents with the right to consent or refuse to have their child biometrically scanned by a school. It also stipulates a student cannot be excluded from school activities or services even if they do not provide their biometric information.
Some Florida schools are already collecting biometric information to be used for various purposes, such as paying for lunches, recording attendance, checking out library books, boarding the school bus and tracking students' movements on campus. These issues need to be addressed and this legislation will do that.
"There are currently no established policies for collecting the data used in these applications," Sen. Hukill said in a news release. "There is no way of knowing if the information being provided is given with parental consent or if the data is being kept in a secure manner."
All 67 school districts across Florida will be required to notify parents of current and enrolling students of their biometric collection policies by written notice at least 30 days prior to collection. The school districts will be required to have policies in place that define who has access to the collected data, how long the data is kept, when the data will be destroyed, and notification to the parents if there is a security breach of their child's information. Parents also have the right at any time to revoke their consent to the information being used and for the information to be eliminated.
"Students need to understand from an early age that protecting their personal data is important," Sen. Hukill said. "Securing and protecting students' personal data is a sensitive matter and we need to have procedures and safeguards in place."