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School biometrics in the City and Notts

Roger Geowell | 21.05.2007 11:05 | Education | Technology

A recent article in the local rag contained the news that Big Wood School will be employing retina scans for class registration. Here's the latest on what schools are and aren't doing with biometrics in the region.

The article suggested that Big Wood School in Warren Hill were planning on using eye-scanning for the school register. The rapid introduction of other Biometrics technology like fingerprinting for library books and school meals is very disturbing. The organisation LeaveThemKidsAlone already lists four schools in Nottingham and seven in Notts that use fingerprinting and are convinced this is only the tip of the iceberg, because private companies promoting this technology are selling so many scanners.

Worse still, no one seems to understand quite how this has happened, apart from individual schools deciding to adopt fingerprinting themselves, with very little concern about what this means for privacy and dignity of children. LTKA have used the Freedom of Information Act to ask both Nottingham and Notts councils about any policy they have on Biometrics in schools. None, it seems, plus John Hemstock, Business Manager, Children and Young People's Services, replied that "at this time no schools use this technology" in Notts as of April this year!

Not all headteachers are happy with the technology though. Barry Day, head teacher of Greenwood Dale in Sneinton is quoted as saying: "I feel it's a step too far. I don't think as a rule the population should be fingerprinted. It's an intrusion of people's right to privacy. I cannot see any reason for schools to go down that route. There are other ways." Glad to see someone’s hanging onto his sanity! It seems like he could be saving money as well, as The Register reports that the technology is somewhat less than ‘world-beating’.

It doesn’t seem like the parents are happy either. Maria Wright, who has a 15-year-old daughter at Big Wood School said “I don't like the idea. It's another Big Brother thing. You can't go anywhere without cameras following. It's getting far too much. It is an excellent school… But school kids having their eyes scanned and being fingerprinted? It's all wrong." Exactly!

The threat of Big Brother technology like biometrics is huge. Once it gets a hold more widely in British society, we will be tested and tracked wherever we go. Fingerprinting in pubs and clubs is already happening in some towns. And if the government gets away with its ID scheme which will involve fingerprinting all of us, companies and public sector organisations will find even more uses for it. Getting children used to biometrics will only make this easier. Fingerprinting and iris-scanning in schools must be stopped in its tracks.

Previous articles on biometrics in schools on Indymedia:-
Alarming rise of Children’s ID databases and biometrics in schools
Student fingerprinting - not so VeriCool

Roger Geowell
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Display the following 3 comments

  1. As a complete middle class twit — Alex_b
  2. unions & community groups — Max mee
  3. Evening Post Letter Here — Nottingham Defy-ID Person