This written consent becomes enforceable legislation as of September 1st 2013.
Leave Them Kids Alone site still exists on the Internet Archive
|Andy O'Brien, managing director of Micro Librarian Systems, quoted in the Cambridge Evening News, 12 March 2007|
"Ultimately, [the fingerprint scanner] is an optional module - the system works perfectly well without it." Andy O'Brien, The Guardian, 11 January 2005
"This can make libraries a really cool place to go for children." Andy O'Brien, Daily Mirror, 03 July 2006
|School fingerprinter repents>The Register Alisdair Darrock, managing director of Softlink, a firm that sells fingerprint scanners to schools, said he would change his advice for parents so they can make an informed decision about whether they want the school to take their children's dabs...|
Softlink, which sells systems that help run school libraries, has been selling biometric scanners to track school lenders for seven years. In all that time it has supplied a standard letter that schools can use to tell parents about the fingerprint scanning.
The letters are meant to give parents the power of consent over the fingerprinting of their children, but examples seen by The Register are biased in favour of using biometrics to regulate the behaviour of kids.
"The 'Honest' Truth [sic] on Biometrics in Schools" ??Kim Cameron, Microsoft's Identity Architect writes the following on his Identity Weblog:
"It is disturbing to read statements like the following by Mitch Johns, President and Founder of Food Service Solutions - whose company sells the system featured in the full Fox news video referenced above:"
"When school lunch biometric systems like FSS's are numerically-based and discard the actual fingerprint image, they cannot be used for any purpose other than recognizing a student within a registered group of students. Since there's no stored fingerprint image, the data is useless to law enforcement, which requires actual fingerprint images.""Mitch, this just isn't true. I hope your statement is the product of not having thought through the potential uses that could be made of templates. I can understand the mistake - as technologists, evil usages often don't occur to us. But I hope you'll start explaining what the risks really are. Or, better still, consider replacing this product with other based on more mature technology and exposing children and schools to less long term danger and liability."
by Jack Straw MP, Leader of the House of Commons25 Jan 2007 "I am not aware of the practice [school fingerprinting], but obviously people have accepted it... Security in libraries is a big issue for younger and older people."
School biometrics (extract)
by Alan Johnson MP, Secretary of State for Education09 October 2006 "The mark of a civilised society is how they treat their most vulnerable." (interviewed on BBC Breakfast Time)
by Jim Knight MP, Minister of State (Schools and 14-19 Learners), DfES10 Jan 2007: "The governing body of a school [has] the power to do anything which appears to them to be necessary or expedient for the purposes of, or in connection with the conduct of the school."
29 Jan 2007: "The Department has no estimate of the number of schools that collect biometric information from pupils."
by Jacqui Smith MP, Minister of State for Schools in the DfES (2005-2006)"It will be for the school to establish that it is acting lawfully in collecting data and is, on a case-by-case basis, compliant with Human Rights and Data Protection duties and the common law of confidentiality."
by Ivan Lewis MP, Under-Secretary, Schools (until May 2006)"Ultimately, it is for schools to decide whether they wish to use this software or not and, if so, whether they wish to use the thumb print technology as part of it."
by Lord Adonis, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, DfES19 Mar 2007 "We believe that the controls are adequate... We do not have the data on individual schools. We regard it as the duty of the school to see that the material is properly safeguarded."
The Identity Weblog (extracts)
by Kim Cameron, Microsoft's Identity Architect
by Andrew Clymer, senior identity management security expert
Fingerprinting Children (extract)
by Paul Squires, Identity Solutions Architect at Enline plc06 April 2007: "Identity data and biometrics in particular need to handled with sensitivity (even more so when it concerns children), but even with the right political and economic safeguards the technology has to be correct. As things stand we have a scenario where inadequate technology is being used for unsuitable purposes under the umbrella of a “higher goal” that is ill advised at best."
Fingerprinting Students (extract)
by Bruce Schneier, founder and Chief Technical Officer of BT Counterpane Managed Security Services, the world's leading protector of networked information11 Jan 2005: "Have these people lost their minds? Tracking kids as they get on and off school buses is a ridiculous idea... We are raising children who think it normal that their daily movements are watched and recorded by the police. That feeling of privacy is not something we should give up lightly."
Remember that security is always a trade off, and a good security system is one where the security benefits are worth the money, convenience, and liberties that are being given up. Quite simply, this system isn't worth it."
04 Jan 2007: "It's important that schools teach the right lessons, and “we're all living in a surveillance society, and we should just get used to it” is not the right lesson."
19 May 2006: "If we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness. We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that -- either now or in the uncertain future -- patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. We lose our individuality, because everything we do is observable and recordable... This is life in former East Germany, or life in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. And it's our future as we allow an ever-intrusive eye into our personal, private lives."
Get 'em while they're young (extract)
by Ralf Bendrath, privacy, security and internet researcher04 January 2007: "Why not start fingerprinting all pupils, taking their DNA, putting surveillance cameras in the classroom and forcing them to not let their bags unattended or else they will be blown up by a SWAT team? By establishing this kind of stuff in schools, you create little monsters and authority-obeying subjects, not people who have fun being curious and learning."
Evidence to support claims needed (extract)
by educationalist Dr Sandra Leaton Gray, Director of Studies, Sociology of Education, Homerton College, Cambridge20 Feb 2007: "I have not been able to find a single piece of published research which suggests that the use of biometrics in schools promotes healthy eating or improves reading skills amongst children. I am concerned that these reasons are being given as a justification for fingerprinting children. There is absolutely no evidence for such claims."
Thumbprinting children in schools (extract)
by Professor Emerita Leone Burton, University of Birmingham, visiting research fellow, Cambridge University14 June 2006 "The issue, for me, is two fold:
(1) socialising children into the benign effects of technology on their existence...
(2) encouraging technological developments that are apparently trivial... when those engaged in these developments are extremely wary of their effects and deny that they are necessarily benign or, indeed at the moment, even controllable."
School Biometrics (extract)
by Patricia Deubel, Ph.D., adjunct faculty member in the graduate School of Education at Capella University10 April 2007: "States, such as Illinois and Iowa, have enacted legislation to control the use of biometrics in schools. Such legislation is important, needed, and I suspect has set the precedent for other states to follow."
02 May 2007 "Biometrics are so new that they have not been sufficiently tested in the courts. Maybe for schools, decisions regarding use will ultimately rest on those tight budgets and a philosophy, “If it's not broken, don't fix it”, which translates to, “If other solutions have been working for you, continue to use them--at least in the near future.”
18 April 2007: "Biometrics don't really save time, do they? The cafeteria staff can only put food on a plate so fast. Students take a while to make up their mind about what they want to order. And what's wrong with teaching students some responsibility? ... These are high security measures. So, biometrics in schools seemed to be a questionable and costly solution for security--like technology looking for another home."
25 April 2007 "Most K-12 schools probably don't need the level of security provided by biometrics. Is their use overkill? At least one parent in Irvine Unified School District (CA) would agree, as the high school scrapped plans to implement fingerprint technology in its lunch program when angry parents voiced privacy concerns."
Fingerprinting primary school children (extract)
by Dr James Atherton, learningandteaching.info13 Jul 2006 "Primary school children have a lot to learn about "borrowing" and the obligations that entails. Writing your name on a card, to acknowledge the loan, and being able to see that evidence directly, if you failed to honour those obligations; or seeing a line drawn through that signature, as evidence of a completed contract... All those things serve to bring alive a world of civil obligations. They are part of the curriculum of the primary school."
"The more we use technology in the interests of efficiency, the more we alienate children from a fundamental understanding of agreements, promises, contracts and bargains."
"It's a crucial part of the social curriculum, and it is at primary school that it matters more than anywhere, because primary schooling covers those developmental stages at which children begin to appreciate these issues."
Fingerprinting primary school children
by Jon Crowcroft, Marconi Professor of Communications Systems, University of Cambridge04 Jul 2006: "I would be extremely upset if the primary school that my children attended decided to start using biometrics such as fingerprints without a serious informed discussion with guardians and parents about the risks, as well as cost/benefits of such systems. Frankly, using fingerprints without parental consent is at the least insensitive, and at worst, quite possibly illegal - think of this - How would the school staff feel if the parents were to have the teacher's fingerprints and home addresses without permission?"
Fingerprint Library Cards (extract)
by Terrance Boult, University of Colorado03 June 2005: "This obscure phrasing [“The data cannot be used to reconstruct the fingerprint”] is common among biometric vendors... to make people feel its more private and/or safer. Minutiae-based templates can be easily reused by the government, and there is an official interchange standard (M1) to help ensure systems can share and inter-operate... to ensure one company's templates work well in other peoples' matching."
Information Commissioner Warns Schools on Biometrics (editor's note)
by Eugene Schultz, Ph.D., CISM, CISSP, CTO of High Tower Software, co-founder and original project manager of the US Department of Energy's Computer Incident Advisory Capability (CIAC)23 March 2007: "Obtaining fingerprints from students for the purpose of recording school attendance seems very extreme... I fear that it will create a backlash against the use of biometric authentication."
Biometric Identification (extract)
by David French, 30 plus years in IT, Wellington NZ02 April 2007: "Relying on a school to manage the acquisition and storage of such sensitive data as identity is not sensible."
quoted on Kim Cameron's Identity Weblog "Even if the systems where 100% trustworthy and secure, governments; law enforcement officers; and lunch monitors certainly are not."
by Brian Drury, IT security consultant12 March 2007: "If a child has never touched a fingerprint scanner, there is zero probability of being incorrectly investigated for a crime. Once a child has touched a scanner they will be at the mercy of the matching algorithm for the rest of their lives."
by Brian Honan, independent security consultant based in Dublin, Ireland23 March 2007: "This welcome move by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner [guidance on biometrics in educational institutions] sends a clear message to organisations that they need to determine all the implications implementing technology can have on the rights and privacy of individuals."
School Fingerprints Under The Microscope (extract)
by Dom Devitto, information Security consultant15 October 2006 "It is almost certain that in the near future our children will use their thumbprints to authorise payments - replacing the PIN. Theft of the PC from a school would effectively be the identity theft of every one of the pupils... However, our children are VERY unlikely to be told that there biometric information has been stolen - as this would be highly embarrassing to the Head Teacher and governors"
October 2006 "I would never condone holding large amounts of biometric information on almost any school site. Fundamentally, such information may be used one day to legally validate the individual, e.g. on a passport. Consequently the value of this information, and the length of time it has this value, is high."
October 2006 "I am sure all schools will be encouraged to backup the data to avoid having to re-enroll all the students in case of failure. This has to therefore pose the question of where the backup media will be stored, and how easily it could be lost or stolen - or worse, simply sold - without anyone really noticing."
How to steal our kids' biometric data (extract)
by Rufus Evison MA (Cantab), senior IT consultant and company directorSeptember 2006 "If 3,500 educational establishments are currently using biometrics there is considerable cause for concern."
October 2006 "Claims that the child giving a fingerprint in an insecure area cannot result in identity theft is reminiscent of the claims that the banks used to make in the early days of cash machines. Now of course we know to look out for additions to the cash machines that strip our cards and so allow access to our bank accounts. Perhaps schools need to train teachers in the technology thoroughly enough that they can spot non-standard hardware concealed behind the library computers?"
School fingerprinting in context (extract)
by a Police Fingerprint Officer (15+ years' experience)"If you have not been asked explicitly for your signed consent to allow your child's prints to be taken, kick up a huge stink immediately... I would assume that before printing kids (especially under 10 - age of criminal responsibility) schools would have to provide a detailed and explicit set of guides, rules and exceptions, for what purposes prints are taken, how and where they will be stored, and a policy for their eventual destruction. Criminal prints have this, so innocent persons should be at least as well governed."
Is school fingerprinting out of bounds? (extract)
by Stephen Groesz, a partner with the law firm Bindmans30 March 2006 "Absent a specific power allowing schools to fingerprint, I'd say they have no power to do it." Police legislation, for example, is specific about when, by whom and how fingerprints may be taken and what they may be used for. "The notion you can do it because it's a neat way of keeping track of books doesn't cut it as a justification."
ruling by The Austrian Supreme Court"Biometric checks can constitute an affront to human dignity, the Austrian Supreme Court has ruled. It was giving the final judgement on a biometric system for clocking in and out of a workplace. The "intensity of intervention and control" within these systems makes them different to more "usual" work time checks, such as punchcards, the court found... This is the first time that the highest court in an EU country has found biometrics to be demeaning. The judgement means that biometric timekeeping now requires the prior agreement of Austria's workplace-level industrial democracy bodies, the works councils. That consent is unlikely to be given. In the view of one leading consultant, the case “basically means the end of biometric timekeeping systems”. In Austria, at least."
Biometrics: US legislation (extract)
by The States of Michigan, Illinios and IowaMichigan, 12 December 2000: "The Child Identification and Protection Act prohibits a school district from using electronic fingerprinting technology to identify a child for school-related purposes." Jennifer M. Granholm, Attorney General
Illinois (2007 bill): statutory minimum requirements for school districts that collect biometrics: written permission from parents/guardians; rules for discontinuation / destruction of biometric data; restrictions on the use and disclosure of biometric information; no discrimination for students that refuse fingerprinting. (effective 01 August 2007)
Illinois (2005/6 bill): requirement for written permission; prohibition of refusing any services; conditions for collecting and using the information. (effective 01 August 2006) )
Iowa: "The Child Identification and Protection Act", House File 685 was enacted in 2005 and prohibits the fingerprinting of children by a governmental unit except in certain circumstances and under specific conditions.
Iowa: Senate File 2001 introduced in 2006, amends HF 685 by allowing school districts to "use biometric fingerprint identification systems for certain restricted purposes."
Ireland pounces on school fingerprinters (extract)
by Tony Delaney, The Assistant Irish Data Protection Commissioner23 March 2007 "We wouldn't see [fingerprinting] becoming the norm either in schools, workplaces or elsewhere. School attendance has been recorded manually in Ireland since the 19th century."
Delaney said he would ask schools "whether they have tried less invasive systems" of taking registration.
Halt to school fingerprinting (extract)
by Roderick Woo, Justice of the Peace at the Hong Kong Office of the Privacy Commissioner"It was a contravention of our law, which is very similar to your law, which is that the function of the school is not to collect data in this manner, that it was excessive and that there was a less privacy-intrusive method to use."
Note that the wording of Hong Kong's data protection principles is very close to that used in the UK.
by George Radwanski, The Privacy Commissioner of Canada"If these measures are allowed to go forward and the principles they represent are accepted... we will all be fingerprinted or retina-scanned by the government, and this biometric information will be placed on compulsory national ID cards that we will have to produce to police on demand."
Will biometrics grow up? (extract)
by Ann Cavoukian, The Privacy Commissioner of Ontario31 March 2007 "A compromised database of individual biometrics or their templates affects the privacy of all individuals."
Schools fingerprinting children (extract)
by Damian Green MP, Conservative Home Affairs spokesman01 March 2007 "How many schoolchildren in Ashford have had their fingerprints taken at school? You might assume, as I did, that this serious intrusion into the privacy of children would only happen to those who had committed an offence."
"You would be wrong. Thousands of schools around the country have quietly started using biometric recorders to take the fingerprints of their pupils. Many of these are doing so without even informing parents, let alone getting their consent."
"If this happens to a child under the age of 12 it is a breach of the Data Protection Act, but my unease about this growing practice goes wider than that. It looks to me like another move towards assuming we are all guilty until proved innocent; the exact reverse of the traditional basis of British justice."
"It is bad enough when adults are treated like this. It is really disturbing when young children are brought up to believe that this is a normal part of life. This all started a number of years ago, but there are still no national guidelines about how and when schools should be allowed to do this."
"The excuse given is that this allows children to access libraries and buy canteen food. There are two reasons why using fingerprints like this is wrong. The first is that it conditions children to accept the loss of any privacy. The second is that the information is being stored on databases which may not be secure."
Fingerprinting of children (extract)
by The Rt Hon David Davis MP, Conservative Shadow Home Secretary27 July 2006 "I am astonished to learn that fingerprinting of children is done at schools and for such a relatively minor matter of borrowing books from the school library. A major concern must be who would have access to this data and what happens to it after children leave the school. It is particularly wrong that this is being done without parents' consent."
"This can of course be viewed as the thin end of the wedge, softening resistance before people are asked for biometric data such as eye-scans to put on compulsory identity cards."
School biometrics (extract)
Nick Gibb MP, Conservative Shadow Minister For Schools13 October 2006 "There really are some civil liberty issues... [Schools] should not be doing this. They should find another method of identification for borrowing library books."
Peers slam school fingerprinting (extract)
Baroness Carnegy, Conservative19 March 2007 "Are you not concerned about the impression children are going to get of what it is to live in a free country and what it is to be British if, in order to get the right school meals, they have fingerprints taken? It seems to me completely astonishing."
MPs investigate school fingerprinting (extract)
Sarah Teather MP, LibDem Shadow Education Secretary20 January 2007 "I believe that the collection of biometric data from young pupils without parental consent is illegal and must cease. The DfES needs to consult with parents, pupils, and local authorities. This can't be a decision made by ministers behind closed doors."
Fingerprinting In School (extract)
by Greg Mulholland MP, Lib Dem Schools spokesperson"The Government delay in acting on this issue is utterly appalling. It's outrageous that Ministers have allowed schools to continue this potentially illegal behaviour for so long without stepping in."
Peers slam school fingerprinting (extract)
Baroness Walmsley, LibDem19 March 2007 "The practice of fingerprinting in schools has been banned in China as being too intrusive and an infringement of children's rights. Yet here it is widespread."
Peers slam school fingerprinting (extract)
Baroness Howe, Crossbencher19 March 2007 "Most people would be somewhat alarmed by the idea of having fingerprints taken and would have connected it with criminal offences."
83 other MPs from all parties, signatories"That this House is alarmed at the growing practice of schools collecting and storing the biometric details of children as young as three; notes that up to 3,500 schools use biometric software to record the data of approximately three quarters of a million children; shares parents' concerns that children's data, often including photographs and fingerprints, is stored on unregulated data collection systems and potentially insecure school computer networks and could therefore potentially be misused; notes that collecting the data from children under 12 without parental consent directly contravenes the Data Protection Act; believes that no child should have biometric information taken without the express written permission of their parents; further believes that no child should be excluded from school activities where this permission is not forthcoming; welcomes the decision by the Department for Education and Skills to update guidance to local authorities and schools; and calls on the Government to conduct a full and open consultation with stakeholders, including parents and children, on this issue as part of their redrafting process."
83 signatories as of 01 May 2007: Greg Mulholland, Sarah Teather, Stephen Williams, Bob Russell, Bob Spink, Adrian Sanders, Paul Holmes, John Leech, Andrew Pelling, Lynne Jones, Tom Brake, Colin Breed, Derek Conway, Don Foster, Peter Bottomley, Daniel Rogerson, Evan Harris, Rob Marris, Michael Moore, Edward Davey, Andrew George, Lynne Featherstone, Martin Horwood, John Pugh, Alan Simpson, Annette Brooke, Danny Alexander, Nick Harvey, Lorely Burt, David Howarth, Eddie McGrady, Vincent Cable, Nick Clegg, Nigel Evans, Paul Keetch, Norman Baker, Tony Baldry, Julie Kirkbride, Dr William McCrea, Malcolm Bruce, Paul Burstow, Alasdair McDonnell, Bill Etherington, David Jones, Andrew Stunell, Desmond Swayne, Rudi Vis, Norman Lamb, Mark Field, Jo Swinson, Michael Fallon, Matthew Taylor, Mark Williams, Martyn Jones, Alan Meale, Mark Oaten, Richard Taylor, Harry Cohen, John Barrett, John Bercow, Richard Younger-Ross, David Burrowes, Susan Kramer, Mark Lancaster, Sandra Gidley, John Hemming, Richard Shepherd, Anne Main, Janet Anderson, Michael Ancram, Katy Clark, Fabian Hamilton, Christopher Chope, Brian Binley, Ian Gibson, Jenny Willott, Helen Goodman, Sammy Wilson, Mike Wood, Paul Goodman, Paul Rowen, Austin Mitchell, Diane Abbott
by More than 1500 parents, voted against kiddyprinting without consent03 July 2006 - 31 August 2006 "Should primary schools ASK parents BEFORE they fingerprint trusting young children?"