The Baltimore Sun
October 5, 2012
Instead of paying for their lunches with crumpled dollar bills and loose change, students in Carroll County schools are having their palms scanned in a new check-out system — raising concerns from some parents that their children’s privacy is being violated.
The county is one of the first localities in Maryland to use the PalmSecure system, in which children from kindergarten to 12th grade place their hands above an infrared scanner. It identifies unique palm and vein patterns, and converts the image into an encrypted numeric algorithm that records a sale.
Though the school system does not store those images, some parents have complained about the implications of having their children’s hands scanned. About 20 percent of parents have declined to participate in the program, said supervisor of food services Karen Sarno.
“I didn’t appreciate how they handled it,” said Mike Richmond, who has two children at Westminster’s Cranberry Elementary School. He said that the school scanned their hands before sending the opt-out form. “I’m concerned about it. I know it’s the way of the future, but it’s fingerprinting, it’s palm-printing.”