Feeds

UK to review school fingerprinting

Leave them kids alone, as they say

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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.®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft exits climate denier lobby group
ALEC will have to do without Redmond, it seems
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.