The BBC reports on today's debate in the House of Lords regarding the unregulated use of biometric fingerprint technologies used in schools.
Lord Adonis's views are very much towing the Labour Education Departments line on this issue, which really doesn't concur with cross parties views on this at all, or even some members of his own party.
He said fingerprints were destroyed once pupils left the school , [wrong], and were only taken with parents' consent [wrong]
He said biometric systems could improve the take-up of free school meals, as there was no "stigma" attached and many schools were using the systems "without any contention whatever".
Could it improve the take up of free school meals? Who knows? Is there a "stigma" to taking a library book out, registering in class or using biometric technology to use a vending machine in school?
Many schools are using the systems, he states, "without any contention whatever" - possibly because parents are not aware that their children are using fingerprint systems and if/when are made aware they get an industry spiel in a school newsletter with no informed consent whatsoever.
In actual fact there has been contention with the technology and as a result some schools have pulled the systems favouring the non biometric route - some such schools are not only in the UK but in China and Hong Kong.
Lord Adonis goes on to say: "I think there is a certain amount of scaremongering in your question, which I regrettably don't accept on the basis of the information that has been made available to my department."
What information has he had "made available" to his department? Certainly the Labour Education Department have so far not been able to comment on:
1. How many schools use the technology
2. How many thousands of children have been 'fingerprinted'
3. On how parental consent should be sought
4. How much money has been spent on these systems
5. Any research they have undertaken, showing that using these systems in schools have an end benefit to children
6. The cost effectiveness of the systems (sometimes weighing in at £20k)
7. Consultancy undertaken prior to biometric systems being introduced into schools
8. Legal opinion on parental consent issues
9. Security of data held/deletion of data
10. Any guidelines they have given to schools
etc,etc, (...could go on for a bit here)
Maybe a Freedom of Information request could be made of Lord Adonis to see exactly what information he has had "made available" to his department, that makes him regard Baroness Warmsley's question quite so dismissively.