Monday, April 09, 2007

School PCs storing up to nearly 6 million children's biometrics?

The Independent have this article about schools fingerprinting children.

"Almost six million children at 17,000 schools could have their fingerprints taken, intensifying fears of the growth of a "surveillance society" where personal information is gathered from cradle to grave."

With just over 9 million school children in the UK this amounts to nearly two thirds of the school population that could have their biometrics stored on a school PC without the school having to ask for parental consent.

The DfES were planning to issue guidelines on this practise at the end of March via the BECTA -British Educational Communications and Technology Agency's - website (who are an NGO). Non have been forthcoming so far.

See the following BECTA site searches for 'fingerprint' and 'biometric'. If anyone can find any guidelines there please let me know.


Anonymous said...

BECTA is a Non Governmental organisation (NDPB) which is in effect owned by the department for Education and Skills (DfES). It's not an NGO and while the distinction may seem moot its not legally or practically. Strangely absent in your articles is any mention of the Childrens Act (UK) and how this quite complicated piece of legislation impacts on this issue, particularly in terms of personal data security. Nor is there any mention of how fingerprinting and other identity systems might help tackle the growth in identity theft with organised international criminal ganges focusing on the education sector (in both the UK and US) because of lax security in relation to personal data.

Pippa King said...

Thanks for you comments and the information about BECTA.

The Chidlren's Act along with the other acts listed on this blog are extensive to read through thoroughly, however if you are aware of the section of the Childrens Act this issue may fall under please post back, I would be intersted to persue this.

The opportunities for data theft are very great in this area especially as now, there is the potential to transfer fingerprint templates from database to database. When schools get broken into pens and paper do not get stolen, it's the school computer.