A Sydney Highschool Is Using Fingerprint Scanners To Stop Poo Vandals

The decision has troubled cybersecurity experts.

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Cybersecurity experts have blasted a Sydney high school for requiring students to submit biometric data when using school toilets.

Moorebank High School’s strange solution to curb vandalism has been labelled a privacy violation and a cybersecurity risk after the school installed fingerprint scanners in June.

The decision to implement a “fingerprint data collection system” came after one particular toilet block was targeted by poo vandals, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.

“Often there’s been cases where people have thrown their poo on the ceiling,” high school student Daniel Scutella described to the ABC, telling reporters the facilities were often so disgusting he would regularly opt to wait until arriving home to use the toilet.

In response, the school began consulting with parent groups about the construction of fingerprint scanners, telling them that the measures would help reduce the instances of vandalism and eventually allow the school to use the savings to upgrade the toilet block.

“It’s not like you can put cameras in there. You can’t put a security guard in there — that’s absurd,” Daniel’s mother and president of the Community Focus Group Julia Scutella told ABC.

Program lead of Digital Rights Watch, Samantha Floreani told The Guardian that despite the school’s intentions, the implementation of fingerprint scanners was an invasion of student privacy.

“Students should have the right to go to the bathroom without having their biometric information collected, and [their] movements constantly monitored,” Floreani 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.”

A spokesperson from the Department of Education has confirmed that the fingerprint scanners are not mandatory, and almost one thousand students have already submitted their biometric data to use the toilets.