Thursday, February 01, 2007

Poor data security in schools and still no debate

James Meikle writes here in the Guardian, about the debate (or parliamentary lack of it) concerning schools using children's biometric data for borrowing books, registration and food monitoring.

Mr Greg Mulholland MP said:

"There are parents not being asked about the use of biometric data in schools, and in some cases are not even informed [that] their children are having fingerprints or other forms of data taken. No one seems to know how long this kind of data is stored.

There clearly is potential for abuse. It is extraordinary that the government is not prepared to bring this to parliament and debate it."

The issue of schools failing to protect sensitive information was recently highlighted in the Guardian December 2006, as 'concerning':

"Schools are failing to protect sensitive information about young children, such as their home addresses and medical details, research has found.

More than half of primary schools are not keeping such information secure."

This shows the need all the more for this to be debated urgently. Apart from the insecurities in school that may stem from bad practice concerning children's data protection, when schools get burgled it's not pens and paper that gets stolen - it's computers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another angle on fingerprinting in schools, sorry if it's already been featured on this blog:
- as the papers and radio were reporting last week, many people working in schools have still not been cleared to work with children. This teacher has the support of her headteacher and the NUT, she has been asked to go to the police station and provide fingerprints as she has a common name - WHY has she been asked to do this - is it just to save the police time as there is a backlog - I don't think it was a requirement in the past? Of course safety of children is paramount, but is that really why this teacher has been asked to go and be fingerprinted?