After yesterday's post I thought it might be good to look at how the technology works for those of you that are interested.
I have had a few 'comments' on my blog highlighting me to the fact it is not an actual fingerprint that is stored but an algorithm, which I was well aware of anyway, but for those of you who are as hazy as I was initially, on how biometric data is taken from a fingerprint, please use the below links.
A great website that gives a fairly detailed but easily understandable view on most types of biometrics is http://perso.orange.fr/fingerchip/index.htm by Jean-Francois Mainguet.
It details here on the characteristics of fingerprints and this page deals with how points on the fingerprint are converted into an algorithm number string.
When I had contact with Micro Librarian Systems (MLS) that supplied my children's primary school with the biometric fingerprint scanner 18 months ago, they sent me this document detailing the technology that they employed - Enterprise Security Architecture for Biometric User Authentication Systems developed by Digital Persona.
Could it be argued that the points on a fingerprint stored in an algorithm can determine race and ethnicity? - I don't know...
Are the images of a children's fingerprint removed from a school computor when they are initially scanned? - Truely deleting data or temporary files from a hard drive does not merely involve pressing "delete". Temporary files may be stored for a time scale also...
Research needs to be done exploring these (and other) issues relating to children and biometric technology.
Children as young as 3 years old are having their biometric data taken and stored on school/nursery databases here in the UK and, as with all techonogies, there is the remote possibly that their (biometric) data could be compromised in decades to come.
We need to make informed decisions now about how we as a society proceed with children and biometric technology.