Monday, May 14, 2007

Retina scanning for class registration?

Possible scanning of children's retinas could take place for school registration at Big Wood School in Nottingham. The school has yet to decide on eye scanning or fingerprinting...

"The idea is being considered for the school's new £18m building, part of the Government's Building Schools for the Future programme." (Just as I blogged about here)

Graham Chapman, Nottingham City Council portfolio holder for education, said retina scans would be good providing they improve efficiency - and if information is not passed on to third parties."The thing to worry about is confidentiality," he added. "That's essential."

Worry indeed. With no record being kept of where these children's biometric databases are, who has access to them, how data is deleted and no reporting systems set up for compromised/stolen data confidentiality absolutely cannot be assured by anyone.

It is thought the retina scanning at Big Wood would be the first in the county - Paul Easton, spokesman for UK Biometrics, which produces fingerprinting systems, described the technology involved as 'really high-end stuff' mainly used by the Government and military'.

Actually it is not the first school to try retinal scanners. The Venerable Bede Church of England School in Ryhope binned their retinal scanner when instead of the promised 12 pupils per minute, the system managed to process a mere five.

These are children's attitudes to the fingerprint library system in a neighbouring school:

"It has a futuristic thing to it. It's cool. We don't have to bring in library cards."

"No one can steal your print but people can steal your ID card,"

"It's exciting. I like taking books out - but I'm not even that bothered about reading ."

Just what message is the next generation getting from this technology when we we naively impose it on them.

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