Saturday, February 24, 2007

Best Practice?

On 9th February this year another advisory statement was issued by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) telling schools how to erase children's biometric data from school computers by using professional data cleansing companies, quoted here in the last paragraph of this article:

"...under the data protection act schools must also dispose of the data using professional data cleansing companies once the child has left or if it no longer of use."

Why isn't there a concise page advising schools on how to handle children's biometrics on the ICO's website after 6 years of biometric technology in schools?

Granted the ICO is now working with BECTA and the DfES to issue guidelines, to put on BECTA's website, so the above 'data cleansing' advice will presumably be in the guidelines.

Currently LEA's, schools, governors and parents have dribs and drabs fed by ICO's spokespersons to various media outlets for them to deem what the 'best practice' in schools is with regards to biometric fingerprint technology.

In the recent case of a school scrapping a biometrics, children's biometric data was on the school computer system for over a year unused before it was deleted, and probably when the school did destroy the biometric records they didn't use a data cleansing company - but how would they to know what to do?

"The thumbprint system has not been used for more than a year...and the numerical records of the thumbprints were destroyed last week."

No comments: