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Israel to equip schools with biometric location systems

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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Bezeq International will earn tens of millions of shekels for system in which teachers will have to identify themselves with physical information like a fingerprint when they enter and exit schools.

Bezeq International announced Sunday that it will install ‘cloud model’ biometric location transmitters in every Israeli elementary school. The company refused to reveal the cost of the deal, but emphasized that it was a significant tender totaling tens of millions of shekels.

Once the system is installed, more than 160,000 teachers and 4,500 schools will be required to report using the system. The system was installed in a few hundred schools in the last two months and the entire installation project will be completed within a year and a half.

The deal was signed for a period of six years, with the option of an additional four years. The reports, which are assembled in real time using biometric location transmitters, will be saved in a private ‘cloud’ that Bezeq International created for the Health Ministry and will be connected to the ministry’s payroll system.

The project, which is the largest of its kind operated by Bezeq International will make use of the location transmitters manufactured by TIMENETO.

The biometric location transmitters will be installed as part of the “New Horizon” program, whose purpose is to produce computerized statistical reports for the use of school principles and education ministry administrators at any point in time, using real-time figures.

The statistics that will be gathered will be exported to the Education Ministry payroll system. Bezeq International education supervisor Kobi Ben Raphael explains, “The Education Ministry has been pushing for location transmitters, in order to pay teachers for the actual amount of hours spent working.”

“Using the transmission system, it’s possible to measure the amount of hours that the teachers work for, and with that to that to increase the pay for teachers that teach for more hours at school,” says Ben Raphael.

In this way it will be possible to assemble the statistics for teachers who work at more than one school relatively easily. Likewise, Ben Raphael claims, the biometric system will make it easier to administer teachers’ reports, make it unnecessary to issue third-party ID documents, and prevent identity fraud.

Ben Raphael emphasizes that although the system is biometric, the statistics are stored in the transmitters, not in the system databases. According to Ben Raphael, “The statistics remain in the transmitters at the school, which exports the figures to our system, which are location in a ‘cloud’, and we are able to assemble a document that includes all the figures.”

After the initial registration, a person’s finger is encoded as a 128-figure binary number, so if the location transmitter upon which the information is stored gets stolen, the is no way to duplicate the image and restore the fingerprint, according to Ben Raphael. Likewise, Ben Raphael explains that information is encrypted as it passes between the transmitters and the cloud.

The Education Ministry recently announced the expansion of the project and the installation of location transmitters in middle schools. The project will be a central component of the private cloud that Bezeq International has created for the Education Ministry.

Employers’ demands that their workers sign in to work using biometric location transmitters have faced opposition in the past.

Several months ago, the Histadrut instructed workers affiliated with the labor federation to refuse to use location transmitter cards that use fingerprints. The instruction was sent out after the Ganei Tikva municipal council and other organizations decided to require that their employees swipe their fingerprints when they arrive at work and leave work.