UK Schools Fast To Adopt Biometrics: 1M+ Pupils Registered

New research has been published that shows more than one million children in England have had their fingerprints taken by their school, demonstrating a high demand for the technology despite possible privacy concerns. The figures come from a Big Brother Watch report "Biometrics in Schools" which calculated that over 1.28 million students had been fingerprinted in secondary schools and academies (based on data from the 2012-13 academic year).

The research, gathered from Freedom of Information Requests to more than 3,000 schools, shows that at the start of the academic year 2012-13 an estimated 40% of schools in England are using biometric technology.

Laws governing the enrolling of biometrics in schools were enshrined in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. Before that Act came into force, Big Brother Watch estimates that 31% of schools did not consult parents before enrolling children. Under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, the rules for schools and colleges that use biometric recognition systems, such as fingerprint identification and facial scanning, now state: For all pupils in schools and colleges under 18, they must obtain the written consent of a parent before they take and process their child’s biometric data.

They must treat the data with appropriate care and must comply with data protection principles as set out in the Data Protection Act 1998. They must provide alternative means for accessing services where a parent or pupil has refused consent. […]