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Fury as school installs fingerprint scanners to track student's toilet usage

Charisa Bossinakis

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| Last updated 

Fury as school installs fingerprint scanners to track student's toilet usage

Featured Image Credit: Moorebank High School/Facebook. Jirapatch Iamkate / Alamy Stock Photo

A Sydney high school has unveiled a controversial plan to scan students' fingerprints to combat ongoing vandalism.

ABC News reported that Moorebank High School, in Sydney’s southwest, invested in a biometric system in June after spending thousands of dollars restoring vandalised bathrooms.

The system was introduced two years ago at a Community Focus Group with parents and teachers. It's already led to more than 1,000 students registering to have their fingerprints scanned.

Credit: Moorebank High School/Facebook
Credit: Moorebank High School/Facebook

School principal Vally Grego notified parents via a newsletter that the new system would be implemented to ‘monitor students' movement during class time’.

However, she outlined that the system does not actually record a fingerprint.

"The Posiflex kiosks do not store a copy of your fingerprint, it stores an alphanumerical representation of the fingerprint," she wrote.

"We are introducing this system to monitor students' movement during class time and to reduce the incidents of vandalism. We will then investigate the upgrade to the toilets."

A Department of Education spokeswoman added that the system is not compulsory.

But according to the Herald Sun one parent called the fingerprint scanning 'extreme'.

They said: “There was only that tiny paragraph in the newsletter, no notes sent home, no email, only a focus group no one knew about... it wasn’t communicated properly by the school, there’s a real lack of transparency.

Credit: vchal / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: vchal / Alamy Stock Photo

“It just feels a little extreme and concerning with the level of surveillance and data being collected about our children.”

While there’s been some push back from parents and students, Year 11 student Daniel Scutella told ABC News about how the vandalism continued to worsen over the past few years.

"Often there's been cases where people have thrown their poo on the ceiling," he said.

"It happens a few times a year at least. It's quite disgusting."

However, program lead at Digital Rights Watch Samantha Floreani said there are many privacy concerns from storing students’ data, especially if it lands in the wrong hands, as per The Guardian.

She said: “If there were to be a data breach, for example – if the information was to be accessed by someone who’s not authorised, or if there was a leak, or if there was a hack – then suddenly you’ve got a student fingerprint being accessed by people who shouldn’t have access to that information.

“And then that creates all kinds of risks for those students, for example, identity fraud, or it could potentially be linked with all kinds of other information.”

Topics: News, Education, Australia, Technology

Charisa Bossinakis
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