Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Liverpool councillors sever all ties with biometric technology in schools

This from the Liverpool Echo:

"A meeting of the full council will be asked to express its formal “opposition to the fingerprinting of children by schools” and a ban on any local authority-led promotion of its use save for a criminal investigation.

Picton ward councillor Andrew Makinson who is behind the motion said the £20,000 average cost of installing it could be better spent on school staff.

He said government mishaps with personal information was proof all systems were vulnerable.

Council leader Warren Bradley stressed it had always been down to individual schools to adopt the technology.

He added: “It would be wrong to implement a policy and support something which could potentially be of detriment to the protection of our children.”"

Biometric systems 100% safe?

Nunnery Wood High School in Worcester is planning to use children's fingerprints for logging pupils in and out of school and for cashless catering systems.

The system is on trial at the moment with a view to it being fully implemented in 12 months but there are concerns from parents, one parent, Angie Wilkes, stated that:

“Biometric data, when included on UK passports, was hacked within two weeks by Lukas Grunwald, a consultant with a German security company, using a piece of software costing £105,”

You can understand her concerns, yet the school insisted that "the system is 100 per cent safe" - mmm... no system is 100% safe.

"Headteacher Alun Williams said the school had taken advice from government agency Becta, and had carried out rigorous research. " If the Head has done rigorous research he will know that the systems are not 100% safe.

As far as BECTA carrying out rigorous research on biometric systems in schools - they simply haven't. Their advice given July 2007 was given with no research into these systems whatsoever, I know that as a fact as the Freedom of Information Act was used to see what research they had done - zilch.

So for all you Head Teachers out there thinking that BECTA know about these systems, think again.