Register reports that The Irish Information Commissioner's Office has come
down on the notion of school fingerprinting and taken early action to prevent
the technology being deployed arbitrarily.
It has told the
first handful of Irish schools known to be establishing biometric systems that
they ought to have a good reason for doing so and has said it will use its
powers to order schools to rip out systems it considers excessive.
In its guidance for schools issued this month, the office said if
it wasn't necessary then the Data Protection Act said it shouldn't be done.
Elsewhere in the
guidance, head teachers were told they should seek parental consent before
fingerprinting any child below the age of 18, contrary to the position taken by
the Information Commissioner in the UK, who s allowing schools to rely on
children's consent if it thinks they are old enough to understand the
guidance also said schools must give pupils the means to opt out of a school
biometric scheme at any time without fear of discrimination or denying them
access to services.
stated that consent must be “obtained fairly”. This might require
Irish schools to give more impartial advice on deciding whether to use
biometrics than that given to parents in some British schools.
have used standard letters drafted by biometric systems suppliers to tell
parents about their plans to install biometrics. These state why the school
thinks biometrics are desirable and ask parents to raise any concerns they have
about the technology with the head teacher.
managing director of Softlink, a supplier of biometric library systems for
schools, promised nearly two months ago to draft more impartial
advice that schools could send parents. He said yesterday he was still
planning to do it.
Time to outlaw this disgusting practice in UK schools.
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