Finger scan tech being used to pay for lunches in NJ schools
A South Jersey school is the latest to roll out use of a finger-scanning system for students to pay at the cafeteria, joining more than 100 other New Jersey schools that already use such a biometric ID system.
According to a report by NJ.com, one of the elementary schools in Gloucester City announced plans to use the system in the fourth quarter of this year, causing a rumble of privacy concerns among some parents.
A message to Gloucester City Superintendent of Schools Dennis Vespe was not returned Monday.
Jay Fry, president and CEO of identiMetrics, said the idea of biometrics is not new — as his company had customers using the technology as far back as 2008.
As a former school principal, Fry said he wanted to solve the problem of identifying students while protecting identities, so he embarked on creating the software that maps out "minutiae points" on a person’s finger to create a "connect the dot" kind of template.
The system does not store fingerprints, according to Fry, but instead scans a person's finger each time, to find matching points or dots, template to template.
Fry said it is a similar technology to using finger scan to unlock a smart phone.
He also notes if a student drops an ID card which has his or her name, photo and school on it, the student is more likely to be identified by a person who finds that card than by a finger scan, which can’t be lost or picked up by a stranger.
Fry said biometrics also are more viable than students using a PIN, which is typically anywhere from 4 to 12 digits long. He said a random string of numbers can be confusing for elementary-aged students, which leaves the PIN system more vulnerable to billing errors.
identiMetrics, which is based outside of Philadelphia, provides biometric ID systems to schools in 48 states and more than 1 million students "scan in" every day throughout their schools, Fry said.
The East Orange school district announced it would be using the identiMetrics biometric ID system, as outlined in a staff letter in August.