Iris scans are the new school IDs

In the sci-fi movie Minority Report, ubiquitous iris scanners reveal shoppers’ identities so advertising can be targeted — and they can be tracked everywhere.

Iris scanners are replacing ID cards at schools ranging from preschools to universities, reports CNN.

South Dakota-based Blinkspot manufactures iris scanners specifically for use on school buses. When elementary school students come aboard, they look into a scanner (it looks like a pair of binoculars). The reader will beep if they’re on the right bus and honk if they’re on the wrong one.

The Blinkspot scanner syncs with a mobile app that parents can use to see where their child is. Every time a child boards or exits the bus, his parent gets an email or text with the child’s photograph, a Google map where they boarded or exited the bus, as well as the time and date.

Parents already can slip a GPS tracker in little Aidan’s backpack, but I guess that’s not good enough for helicopter parents. Kids can lose a backpack, but they aren’t likely to lose their eyes. (But kids will forget to use the scanner and be reported missing . . . )

Eyelock, which makes scanners used in foreign airports and at high-security offices, is “entering the school market, piloting their devices in elementary school districts and nursery schools around the country.”

A San Antonio school district will stop using microchip-enabled ID cards to track attendance, despite winning a lawsuit. The cards didn’t raise attendance enough to cover the cost.

About Joanne


  1. I remember when the university I used to work for investigated biometrics as authentication. They came to the conclusion that it didn’t make sense to scan anything that someone wouldn’t be willing to lose. As in, if someone hacks your password, you’re still alive, but are you willing to lose an eyeball or a finger if a hacker really wants to get into your account? Is your account worth that much? For most people in the world, the answer is “no.”

    Aside from the helicoptering aspect of these sorts of technologies, I believe that using biometrics adds a new, gruesome, level to identity theft. There are days I think no one would ever go that far, but then I realize that there are all sorts of people in the world.

    There was just an article in the paper this morning about people being upset that police were taking pictures of license plates to help solve crimes. Why is that not OK, but taking pictures of our kids’ eyes is fine?

    And when will we expect children to learn to take care of themselves if we don’t gradually let go as they age? If we are always watching, do we expect that they will never take responsibility for themselves? It’s not like kids are unsupervised as they make their way to school. There are plenty of helpful adults around them. Can we not expect our children to ask for help? How will they learn to make choices if we always do it for them?

  2. Crimson Wife says:

    I’ve actually seriously considered getting one of those GPS bracelets for my autistic child. She has the unfortunate tendency to bolt and a highly problematic combination of above-average fine motor skills (so she can get around childproofing attempts) but far-below-average safety awareness. Imagine an 18 mos. old in terms of safety awareness with a 5 or 6 y.o.’s fine motor skills.

    My roots are starting to go gray (and I’m only in my mid-30’s) and that’s all my youngest child’s fault.

    • CW: I’m with you; elopement is no joke. Sometimes this technology stuff can be useful.

      I remember Home is the Hangman by Roger Zelazny – part of the set up is near complete computer model of the globe. Nearly everybody is tagged (a few of the programmers edited themselves out) and that information is out there. Guess we’re getting there; I find it scary.