Schools are to get the go-ahead to fingerprint pupils as young as five, in new measures to be approved by the Government.
Minister Jim Knight, driven by European Commission guidelines will issue guidance telling schools they have the right to collect biometric data and install fingerprint scanners.
But the decision has angered opposition MPs who say collecting fingerprints from children will be a gift to identity thieves.
The guidance will say that personal data, including fingerprints and
eyeball scans, can be collected from pupils and used to monitor
attendance, so long as schools consult parents first and do not share
the data with outside bodies.
Schools will be able to place fingerprint scanners at the entrances to classrooms, the school gates and even in cafeterias.
Fingerprint and eyeball scans would make it easy for schools to
track children during the day, and tell if they are playing truant, or
even what they have eaten for lunch.
On the matter of the Tellus2 school questionaire, which I have already written about and called a Stasi information gathering exercise, a commenter has written via email, which I publish in full below, raising even more concerns about the abuse of the civil rights of our children, and parental rights.
The survey asks some very intrusive personal
questions and is supposed to be completed on-line by the children, to preserve
their (non-existent, see below) anonymity, but, due to problems with accessing
the Tellus2 website (big surprise), the children in my son's class (according to
my son and another boy in his class) were asked to provide their answers on
This raises some data protection questions.
1) What happens to the paper sheets – do they get
sent somewhere outside the school ?
2) Will they be retained by the school
3) Do they ultimately get destroyed ?
4) Will they be made available to
teachers and the head teacher.
5) Will a member of the school staff enter the
data on the children's behalf.?
6) If so, what happens if errors are made in
the data entry process ? – this could have serious consequences for the child
and his/her family.
It is important to note that a teacher was on-hand
(according to my son) with a list of the children's postcodes to ensure that
this information was entered for every child.
Apparently, quite a number of schools refused to
take part because of the intrusive nature of the questions.
It's a shame that the same sound judgement is not
apparent when it comes to fingerprinting our children !
However, it also appears that, in areas where
schools have refused to take part in the survey, people have been calling at
children's homes to try to get the same information.
you are no doubt aware, this survey has been widely reported in the national
(and international) media. Here are just a few examples (The Daily Express is
perhaps the most poignant one, since it gives real-life examples of the fears
and dilemmas this survey has caused):
The Times Educational Supplement:
The Daily Express
And Even in America (The Digital Journal)
If you google for “Tellus2” you will find a
plethora of other sources.
Officially, the survey is intended to solicit
children's views on their school and on the local area, but there is a more
sinister side to it:
“We have been working closely with Ipsos MORI,
the Department for Education and Skills, schools and local authorities to
develop the Tellus2 survey methodology to ensure that it addresses fully each of
the five Every Child Matters outcomes.”
“Every Child Matters” is, of course, the euphemism
for the Children's Index/Database. This is the database that will contain
personal information about every child in the country. It will be used by
police/social services to cause action to be taken if a child is believed to be
As with school fingerprinting, schools are advised
that they do not need to seek parental consent.
“Although there is no obligation for schools to
obtain parental consent for their child’s involvement in the Tellus2 survey,
schools may wish to seek this as a matter of courtesy, and especially if this is
a part of the school’s normal practice.”
Most of the questions are fairly benign, but some
are more personal and could potentially lead to an investigation by police or
social services e.g.
15a. And how safe or unsafe from being hurt by
other people do you feel?
(Children are asked to rate how safe they feel “In
school” and “At home” with possible responses varying between “Very safe” to
Prior to their child completing the survey,
parents are sent the following “letter from headteacher to parent/guardian”
This places great emphasis on the confidentiality
of the survey i.e.
“The survey is designed to ensure complete
confidentiality for those taking part.”
However, the survey is anything but
“9. Fill in the ‘teacher completion page’ on
the website. This needs to be done before participants activate the
questionnaire. This will generate a Class Password. To log on, pupils will need
to enter this Class Password and the school URN.”
i.e the system knows which class and in which
school the pupils completing the survey are from.
In addition, as part of the survey, the pupils are
asked to give their age AND POSTCODE i.e.
10. What is the postcode of where you
If you do not know your full postcode please fill in as much as you
This will help us see if children and young people in different areas
have different views. No one will see who you are from your postcode, so no one
will know this is your set of answers.
PLEASE FILL IN YOUR POSTCODE IN THE BOX
So now the system knows the school, class, age and
postcode of the child completing the survey.
Since a postcode uniquely identifies about 14
households, a quick check against the addresses in the school register will
easily identify the child.
It certainly appears to be the case that the
survey data can be traced to an individual child. A parent requested Ofsted to
remove the data entered by his children – and Ofsted claimed they were able to
do it! See:
Here is a link to the primary school
Here is a link to the secondary school
It is important to note that, since this survey is
done on school premises, parents will, of course, be completely unaware of the
intrusive nature of the questions their children are being asked.
The real test of confidentiality is this:
If, in response to question 15a, a child
answers “Very Unsafe” “At Home”, will this be ignored (and leave a potentially
vulnerable child to the mercy of abusive parents) or will the police and social
services be round the child's house like a shot ?.
What do you think ?
A giant electronic database containing sensitive information on all 11
million children in England will be open to at least 330,000 users when
it launches next year, according to government guidance.
final consultation on the plan reveals that the index, intended to help
children’s services work together more effectively following the death
of Victoria Climbié, will be accessible through any computer linked to
the internet, whether at work or at home, providing users have the
correct two-part security authentication.
Guidance on the
£224m project warns those authorised to use the system not to access it
in internet cafes or on computers in public reception areas, and
instructs them never to leave the database logged on in case of
Though it stresses the sophistication of the
electronic security surrounding the databank, it acknowledges: “No
system can be 100% guaranteed against misuse.” The government was
warned by family campaigners that parents would be concerned about the
number of people able to search the database, and about the potential
This is typical government knee jerk reaction to everything now. 1 child is hurt, so government puts the rest of the child population at risk in order to 'protect' them.
THIS CHILD ABUSE MUST BE STOPPED NOW.
NuLab – Destroying Britain from the inside out.