Feeds

UK to review school fingerprinting

Leave them kids alone, as they say

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

The Department for Education and Skills is to reconsider the fingerprinting of school children after a four year campaign by parents.

Jim Knight, schools minister, told Greg Mulholland, campaigning LibDem MP for Leeds North West, in a letter sent on 12 December, that he would "update the guidance on the use of biometric technologies" by schools.

The letter said that the DfES had called for help on the guidelines from BECTA, the technology procurement quango, and the Information Commissioner.

A spokesman for Mullholland said that the DfES had persistently said in answer to Parliamentary questions that school fingerprinting would not be reviewed. But now, he said: "This is a U-turn."

The DfES today issued a statement saying: "This is not a U-turn," and that it was always revising and improving its guidance, after The Sun today published an article saying the government had done a u-turn on school fingerprinting and started to draw up some guidance.

Knight, The Sun claimed, had "agreed to draw up strict guidelines with watchdogs", and that he understood parents' concerns. The Sun's report was wrong, said the DfES, and Jim Knight himself had said so.

The anti-school fingerprinting campaign bus had all but reached the gates of Westminster anyway. Pippa King, a lead campaigner against school fingerprinting, and David Clouter, who runs the group Leave Them Kids Alone, have meetings scheduled next week with the Libdem MP Sarah Tether, Conservative MP Nick Gibb and Labour MP Tom Watson.

Terry Dowty, spokeswoman for Action on Rights for Children, said the government needed to do more to reassure parents than merely issue guidelines about the non-consensual fingerprinting of school children.

"Guidelines are just not good enough," she said, "The whole thing needs a much fuller debate. Given that parents have strong feelings about this, you can't just say, we've done a review and decided that these are the rules. There must be a proper debate."

Simon Davies, a director of campaign group Privacy International, said it had taken four years to get the government to budge on school fingerprinting.

"When we first broke the story to The Times in 2002, the Information Commissioner refused to recognise it had a responsibility and schools just went into collaboration with industry," he said.

The DfES said in a statement: "Schools have always had to comply with human rights, data protection and confidentiality laws in collecting data on their pupils."

"We already provide specific guidance to schools on handling all pupil information under the Data Protection Act," it added.®

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.