Monday, January 10, 2022

Update on facial recognition in UK schools

Since 2000 biometrics deployed in UK schools are/have been - fingerprinting, facial recognition, iris scanning and infrared palm scanning.

Department of Education and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)

  • Do not list any schools using facial recognition (or any other type of biometric, i.e. fingerprint)
  • Have not had any communication with companies that supply facial recognition in schools
  • Have not issued any advice to educational establishments with reference to the use of facial recognition
  • Have not logged any instances of violations of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, Chapter 2 - consent to use of a child’s biometric data
  • Have not ever seen biometric hardware or software that are being used in schools
Evidence for this has come from Freedom of Information requests.

Biometrics Commissioners (and Surveillance Camera Commissioner)

  • Have no jurisdiction with regards to children's biometrics, use and processing in education 

Children’s Commissioners UK

  • Have no jurisdiction with regards to children biometrics, use and processing in education 

Legislation - Protection of Freedoms Act Chapter 2, Data Protection 2018 and GDPR

  • Why does the ICO not enforce or rule as other EU countries (FranceSweden, Bulgaria and Poland) have done on the use of biometrics in schools?

What is the point of having legislation, if legislation is not being used or at least monitored for compliance?

Why has the use of children's biometrics slipped through the net of every single government department, various commissioners and an information regulator, ICO, which is meant to scrutinise the use of data - especially when this involves children’s data, with a use of technology that adults do not routinely use?

For over two decades now - biometrics in schools - there should be no excuses of this neglect of responsibility.  An immediate duty in this needs to be allocated to at least one of the above positions and organisations - the fact this has never been done is disgraceful.  

The ICO has yet to rule on the use of facial recognition by North Ayrshire Council, I await with interest its decision (if it is capable of making one).