Thursday, November 08, 2018

'Who knows what about me?'

The publication of the "Who knows what about me?" report today by the office of The Children's Commissioner for England highlights the huge amount of data gathered on children, including the use of biometric technology in schools.

5 salient points about biometric technology used in schools is listed in the infographic in this post.

Using one's biometric data is a more data intrusive way of accessing schools services than a PIN or swipe card.  This has been recognised by legislation and schools therefore are legally obliged to offer students an alternative means to access such services and must have consent, from both parents and students, if biometric data is to be taken and processed.

Schools in the UK have been using biometrics since 1999.   Often this was done without informing parents due to the fact that the Data Protection Act 1998 did not list biometrics as 'sensitive' personal information, hence parents permission or even knowledge that their children's biometric were being taken happened.

Many different types of biometric technology have been used in schools. The biometric most used is fingerprint.

Campaigning by parents lobbying Members of Parliament culminated, 13 years after schools started using the technology, with legislation covering consent to biometric processing in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, Chapter 2.

It is prudent to minimise personal data given.  We have no idea if a child's biometrics given in the education system is compromised or shared, with other agencies or companies, the effect this may have later in their life.

Know your facts and consider keeping your child's biometric digital data from unnecessary use when an alternative means of identification will suffice.

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