Monday, November 14, 2011

Children's Biometrics in the House of Lords

The Protection of Freedoms Bill had it's second reading in the House of Lords last week and some peers spoke in a positive manner about gaining consent of parents before schools take and process children's biometrics.

Lord Henley -
"it is right that parents should be asked to make an informed decision about whether to accede to the processing of such information. It is also proper that pupils should have a say."

The Lord Bishop of Bristol -
"I back the protection of biometric information on children in schools, with parental consent being required for processing information"

Lord Kennedy of Southwark -
 "Proposals regarding the express parental consent for the use of children's fingerprints are welcome"

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) tweeted that "Pleased to see Lord Lucas supporting ASCL's objections to restricting biometrics in schools in yday's Lord's debate."

As the ASCL rightly state there was one peer, Lord Lucas, who indeed spoke of the section on biometrics in school as a "daffy overreaction".  (daffy?)  Lord Lucas also commented that biometrics in schools...

"...have great benefits. They improve safety. They improve privacy. They greatly improve efficiency."

If biometrics in schools do have such above beneficial effects what has the ASCL or Lord Lucas to be frightened about gaining parental consent.  Surely given the above claims, parents should willingly embrace this technology and thereby give consent.  Schools gain consent for all manner of activities, it is a process they are familiar with.

I would be interested to see validation of Lord Lucas's claims.  Claims that remind me of the previous Labour Government waffle justifying using childrens biometrics in schools for mundane tasks, and of course, claims made by companies selling access, registration and security systems to schools.


Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

My daughter's school tried to take her fingerprints in 2007! They were not going to ask permission and just put a little note in the back pages of th school newsletter. I wrote to the school and told them not to. See:

Pippa King said...

Hi Ben,

I can remember seeing about that at the time. I'm just going to post up on a daily basis now all the comments that parents have made on this issue over the years until the Protection of Freedoms Bill is a passed with (fingers crossed) good enforcable law in, in respect of taking and processing childrens biometrics.

As much as I've blogged about it, I am not the only parent who has spoken out, like yourself.

Hopefully our voices will heard.