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Florida Senate blesses biometrics ban

A proposal seeking to prevent school systems from collecting students' biometric data won the support of the Florida Senate Wednesday.

Biometric data includes the characteristics of fingerprints, hands, eyes and the voice. 

The proposal was a priority for Gov. Rick Scott, who was hoping to quell concerns about student data security during the transition to new national education standards.

The bill sponsor, Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, said she believed biometric data collection opened the door for identity theft. "We’ve been able to get kids through a lunch line for decades" without collecting sensitive information, she added.

The proposal (SB 188) gives some flexibility to the Pinellas district, which uses palm scanners to prevent backups in its lunch lines. The school system would have one year to phase out the program.

The measure passed with no debate on the floor.

Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, cast the lone vote in opposition.

The bill has not yet been scheduled for a hearing on the House floor.