Feb 182011
 February 18, 2011  Posted by  Featured News, Non-U.S., Surveillance, Youth & Schools

Action on Rights for Children (ARCH) has produced a paper, “Biometrics in schools.” From the introduction:

… From small beginnings, biometric usage in schools has increased rapidly in the last few years. In 2001, a company called Microlibrarian systems (MLS) approached the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to ask for comments on the company’s plans to incorporate biometric fingerprint readers into school library systems, replacing the use of cards. The ICO raised no objections and in fact supplied MLS with a letter endorsing the use of fingerprints. MLS then approached the DfES (as it then was) with this letter, and the use of biometrics was approved.

By 2007, it had become clear that increasing numbers of schools were installing biometric technology. A councillor1 in Enfield, for example, found that 15 of the 92 schools in Edmonton were already using it, while MLS estimated that approximately 30% of schools had bought its library system. At that time we estimated that more than two million children were regularly using biometric systems and undoubtedly the numbers have since increased. There are now at least 34 companies selling biometric systems, and their use has gradually expanded from school libraries to schools meals, school lockers, zone control and registration. PFI schemes and the ‘Building Schools for the Future’ programme have led to the incorporation of biometric systems into the fabric of some schools.

Read the full report on ARCH.

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