Consent & Legislation

England and Wales

July 2022 - Department of Education updated advice to schools on the
'Protection of Biometric Information of children in schools and colleges'
with new advice regarding facial recognition.

In May 2012, after 7 years of campaigning by parents and privacy groups, the Protection of Freedoms Act was passed. In it Chapter 2 Protection of biometric information of children in schools etc. deals with schools processing children's biometric data:

Clauses 26-28:

26. Requirement to notify and obtain consent before processing biometric information
27. Exceptions and further provision about consent and notification
28. Interpretation

The salient points of the Act are:

  • Each parent of the child should be notified by the relevant authority that they are planning to process their child's biometrics and notified that they are able to object.
  • In order for a school to process children's biometrics at least one parent must consent and no parent has withdrawn consent. This needs to be in writing.
  • The child can object to the processing of their biometrics regardless of parents consent.
This became enforceable law in September 2013.  

Scotland and Northern Ireland

Unfortunately the rights that are afforded to children in England and Wales with consent to educational establishments taking and processing their biometrics does not apply to children in Scotland and Northern Ireland.  There is ongoing work to extend those rights of consent to all children in the UK.

Up to May 2012 the below UK laws helped clarify which area of law the taking and processing of children's biometric data, without parental consent, fell under these Acts of Parliament:
Data Protection ActHuman Rights ActEducation ActFreedom of Information ActChildren ActGillick Competence


In the United States there have been laws passed either prohibiting or regulating schools processing children's biometrics.

The New York State Senate Assembly Bill A6787D - March 2019.  "Public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools, including charter schools, shall be prohibited from purchasing or utilising biometric identifying technology for any purpose, including school security, until July 1st 2022 or until the Commissioner authorises such purchase or utilisation as provided in subdivision 3 or this section, whichever occurs later."

Florida SB188 - April 2014Banning the use of biometrics in schools.  Schools "may not:(a) Collect, obtain, or retain information on the...biometric information of a student"      
Listen to some audio from the State Senate committee hearings describing why legislators felt the need to ban the identification technologies instead of providing an opt-out provision.

Arizona SB1216 -  July 2008, Consent using biometric technology in schools Link broken, see:

Illinios SB1702 - 2007, Consent using biometric technology in schools

Illinios HB1559 - School Code amended. Re: biometric consent

Illinois SB2549 - 2005/2006, Consent using biometric technology in schools

Iowa HF685 bill as it used to, see ACLU report here (original link broken but can be found here with more information here) included in Iowa Code 726

Michigan Opinion No. 7069  - 2000


Missouri HB1849 - January 2016, "Prohibits school districts from collecting biometric information on students without the express written consent of parents or legal guardians" Died in committee

Maryland - SB855, Feb 2013, Public Schools – Collection of Biometric Information from Students Prohibited - Halted in the House Ways and Means Committee, May 2013.