Sunday, January 07, 2007

China scraps fingerprinting monitoring system in schools

When Hong Kong banned fingerprinting in schools last year it was understandable.

Their data protection laws are similar to ours in the UK, they wanted to stop fingerprinting children before it became a runaway trend that was too late to stop and they had concerns regarding children not giving their privacy rights the consideration they deserve. All very commendable.
Roderick Woo, Justice of the Peace at the Hong Kong Office of the Privacy Commissioner: "It was a contravention of our law, which is very similar to your law, which is that the function of the school is not to collect data in this manner, that it was excessive and that there was a less privacy-intrusive method to use."
But when China, a one-party authoritarian state, has also scrapped fingerprinting in schools because of concerns over children’s privacy rights – the question has to be asked why, in the UK and USA, is it increasingly used in schools, unregulated, to monitor many aspects of children’s lives, quite often without parental consent or knowledge?

Quite unbelievable!
LA Times, Dec 2006: [update March 2007 - this LA Times link is broken, please click here for the LA Times archived article]
Shanghai's Shixi Primary School was forced to scrap a fingerprint monitoring system for students last year in the wake of widespread criticism over students' privacy rights.

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