Sydney high school uses fingerprint technology to stop vandalism in toilets – ABC News

Sydney high school uses fingerprint technology to stop vandalism in toilets
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Students are being asked to scan their fingerprints during class time if they want to access the toilets at a school in south-west Sydney. 
Moorebank High School implemented a biometric system in June after they say they spent thousands of dollars a year restoring vandalised bathrooms.
Year 11 student Daniel Scutella said the familiar site of smeared faeces stopped him from using the toilets, prompting him to wait until he could make it home.
"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."
He said other vandalism included urine on the floor and damage to the doors.
Most of the school's 1,000 students have registered their fingerprints to use the bathrooms during class hours.
However, a Department of Education spokeswoman said the system is not compulsory.
"If students or parents prefer, students can also access the toilets during those times by obtaining an access card from the office," she said.
"All parents were notified … via school newsletters and the minutes of community focus group meetings were also emailed to all parents."
The school has received at least two complaints that are now being addressed by the school's principal, Vally Grego.
Alana Maurushat, an expert in Cybersecurity and Behaviour at Western Sydney University, said she didn't believe young students would understand the implications of volunteering their finger prints. 
"I've never heard of students scanning fingers in Australia to access toilets," she said.
"For me, this is a privacy violation, poses a cybersecurity risk of stolen biometric data, and a potential physical security risk for the students.
"I would deeply encourage the school to reconsider this measure, and any students with concerns to lodge a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner."
The idea to implement a "fingerprint data collection system" was first raised by the school with parents as part of the Community Focus Group about two years ago.
The group of parents and faculty were apprehensive about using the biometric data of teenagers but eventually voted in favour, saying it was the least-invasive solution that could be trialled.
"It's not like you can put cameras in there. You can't put a security guard in there — that's absurd," said Julia Scutella, Daniel's mother and president of the Community Focus Group.
"Once we started seeing it was the type of tech that has already been tried and tested before, and it's not going to be obligatory, and it's going to give some sense of control over an area that has such little control, then it's worth giving a try.
"If we don't do something and see what the results are, then we won't know."
Ms Grego wrote to parents just before the start of the term in a newsletter to let them know the system was being rolled out.
"The Posiflex kiosks do not store a copy of your fingerprint, it stores an alphanumerical representation of the fingerprint," she said in June. 
"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."
The school says the visitor log generated by the fingerprint system will help staff narrow down who is vandalising the school toilets, but the ABC understands the system will also aid in tackling the growing problem of students vaping during class time.
Daniel said the use of his fingerprint to access the toilets was worthwhile.
"I don't mind it, [my fingerprint] doesn't feel that important to me," he said.
"It's worth it if it can put a bit of responsibility on the people who are ruining it for the rest of the school, and I appreciate that."
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