Friday, January 12, 2007

Guidelines being written...

This from the Liberal Democrats Website:

"Education minister Jim Knight confirmed that the Government will be issuing draft new guidance about fingerprinting in schools."

A full and open debate is needed on this subject with stringent guidelines written sooner rather than later.

The governments responses in the past have been to direct enquiries about biometric fingerprinting in schools to the Education Act, BECTA and the Data Proctection Act, rather than dealing with the contentious issues and concerns surrounding the use of biometric technology in schools.

Now, five years or so after the technology was introduced in schools, the government have realised their previous advice given is not adequate.

Feb 2006 - Jacqui Smith:
My Department has issued no guidance to schools on the collection and recording of pupils' biometric information. In collecting data of this type the school is likely to rely on the broad powers contained in paragraph 3 of Schedule 1 of the Education Act 2002. This enables a governing body to do anything which appears to them to be necessary or expedient for the purposes of, or in connection with the conduct of the school.

July 2006 - Beverley Hughes:
I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 27 February 2006, Official Report, column 504W, to the hon. Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton (Mr. Gibb). [above]

October 2006 - Jim Knight:
The Department has not issued guidance to school governors on whether they should consult parents before implementing a policy of taking thumb prints for library issues… The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA) published guidance for schools in 2004 on their obligations and responsibilities under the Data Protection Act and other related legislation.

...and finally

Dec 2006 -Government response to e-petition:
The Department for Education and Skills does provide guidance for schools and local authorities on data protection and the security of personal data which would include Biometric data.

However we are currently working with the British Educational and Communication Technology Agency (Becta) and with the office of the Information Commissioner to update the guidance including around the use of Biometric technologies.

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