Thursday, February 04, 2010

Back after a break

Well, life set in here for a while but recently biometrics in schools has reared it's head again - more systems out there in the UK and cropping up in other countries too.

Why is it okay to store our childrens biometrics and they exchange their biometrics for food, access, books when we as adults don't?

Check out the Facebook group "Stop schools fingerprinting children"


Unknown said...

Biometric authentication is not threatening as people seem to believe. In fact, most biometric systems only take a picture of 8-12small points on a fingerprint or face, and discard the rest. It would be impossible to re-create the fingerprint or facial data using this limited information. Even if the fingerprint image was taken, while it is possible to take good quality images, it would be quite challenging to then turn a photo into a real fingerprint.

Looking at it another way, the school is storing the address, date of birth, parents details (including maiden name in some instances) and performance history of every student. This data alone is enough to commit serious fraud many times over. Its not the fingerpint storage that people should be worried about, its the size of the lock on the filing cabinet or the strength of the encryption on the school computers.

If children are being bullied at school because other children want to steal their lunch money, then a biometric cashless catering system would both make an efficent system and bring relief to hundreds of children every day who lose their money to bullies. It happens. If more children get an education because the school could prove their attendence, then that would also be a good benefit.

As with all biometric systems, there are good and bad ones. All good systems are designed to take the minimum amount of data to do its job (its simply too big an overhead for the systems to do otherwise, and the manufacturers don't need the bad punlicity). Lets get the full and balanced facts on the table, and not just "knee jerk" reactions.

Yaman said...

Mine was introduced only last week !

The kids were lining up to get their finger prints into the data base ?! CRAZY

Andy Phillips said...

Hi there,

Biometric information is not actually stored. The way these systems work is to analise a fingerprint, then run the result through a complex and secure algorithm. This results in the equivalent of a 60 digit password, which CANNOT BE reverse engineered to identify the individual or re-construct a fingerprint image.

By RE-CREATING this process when the user signs in, the algorithm produces a similar result which positvely identifies the person.

This in NO way breaches the individuals interests in terms of personal data being kept on file, yet allows for a more secure means of verifying attendance.