Thursday, February 14, 2008

Jim Knight - what does he actually do??

With amazing consistency Jim Knight ducks and dives out of all responsibilty for his department to take stock of the fingerprinting of children in UK schools.

I'm wondering what he actually does in his role as Minister of State for Schools and Learners,(DfCSF) ?

Annette Brooke [LibDem]: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will commission a review of the academic literature on the reversibility of biometric templates to recreate fingerprints.

Jim Knight: The Department has no plans to commission a review of the academic literature on the reversibility of biometric templates to recreate fingerprints. Becta is responsible for monitoring this and other aspects of technology in schools and will take appropriate action as it considers necessary. Becta published guidance on the use of biometric technology in July 2007.

Annette Brooke [LibDem]: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will commission an independent assessment of the security of biometric systems used in schools (a) in libraries, (b) in canteens and (c) for registration.

Jim Knight: The Department has no plans to commission an assessment of the security systems used in schools (a) in libraries, (b) in canteens and (c) for registration. Becta is responsible for monitoring this and other aspects of technology in schools and will take appropriate action as it considers necessary. Becta published guidance on the use of biometric technology in July 2007.

Bob Spink [Cons]: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many schools in Essex fingerprint pupils; and if he will make a statement.

Jim Knight: The Department is not aware of any schools in Essex which fingerprint pupils. Some schools may use biometric technology systems involving the recording of some fingerprint characteristics. The Department does not routinely keep records of such schools since the decision to introduce biometric technology is for each school to make.

3 comments:

ETM said...

Very interesting Pippa,
Thank you very much for posting this.
I'm not really sure exactly what MP Jim Knight does either!

However, I do recall him mentioning
on the BBC radio 4 program "You & Yours" that he was a big fan of biometrics in schools.

Pippa said...

Yes, a big fan indeed. Certainly making the biometric industry very happy.

On the Radio 4 "You and Yours" some untruths were unfortunately touted about such systems.

For example the Head Teacher at Morley High School, Leeds, stated that their biometric system only cost £14,000 (which is a tidy sum in itself) but under a Freedom of Information Request to the school - this figure turned out to be infact £27,000 for a biometric cashless catering system with annual running cost of over £3000...

If this Head teacher cannot do his sums one wonders how qualified he is to run a school.

Forgetting to mention that he’s spent £13K of our public money is rather, (and perhaps conveniently?) careless.

Now you would have thought that Mr Knight in his role of Minister for Schools and Learners would have preferred this sort of money to be spent on... ooh say, educating our children.

But no - the reality is that on his watch public money is used to fund a biometric industry solely aim at children in schools.

Old-Tyke said...

There is an underlying theme here at Becta - the secretive but increasingly ubiquitous Common Purpose group.
http://thejournal.parker-joseph.co.uk/blog/_archives/2007/10/2/3264826.html