Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Legal advice for schools that feel the need to use children's biometric data

If UK schools feel the need to process children's biometric data they should take note of this very informative piece of legal advice from Browne Jacobson.  Schools cannot discriminate against pupils who are not participating in a biometric database and must offer an alternative.

My child has been home educated for the period of their high school education and recently entered back into mainstream education, now attending the local college to do AS levels.  The college botched an attempt to gain parental consent for a new biometric system, introduced September 2014 to make the college 'cashless'.  They swept the consent for biometrics into the medical and school trip consent.  Needless to say the college was informed how the consent process works after I did not sign the consent for anything.

My child can still eat as he is identified via his photograph on the school system.  We parents have to transfer money to the student account for him to pay for this.  We don't as...
  • It is a hassle to transfer money - I do not need 'another' thing to do online
  • I do not want a digital record to be held of his eating habits
  • I am not certain where that information goes
  • Food from the local sandwich shop is cheaper, fresher and it feeds the local economy
He, along with his friends, enjoys the fresh air of lunch time walking to the local sandwich shop to eat.  However, my child is still discriminated against in the college as he is unable to use the biometric vending machines (which in itself may not be a bad thing given the food contained).  I will be following this up with the college as a point.

Interestingly, through hearsay from students attending the college, the biometric system has been an epic fail with many students not participating.  Apparently the lunch sales have to dipped to only 11% of what it was previously, so much so that the lure of a mountain bike has been offer to those students buying a 'meal deal' with their fingerprint - their name goes into the draw for the bike.  Pavlovian?

I just wonder who is paying for this incentive to fingerprint the students?