School pupils to be fingerprinted

Pupils will have their fingerprints taken at their £20,000 high-tech new school canteen in a bid to reduce queues and monitor pupils’ diets.

Redhill School in Stourbridge will bring in the controversial technology as part of a plan to implement a cashless system throughout the school.

The system requires pupils to press a finger against a machine which converts the print into biometric data.

This can then be used to identify individual pupils accounts.

The 1,200-pupil school in Junction Road detailed its plans in a letter to parents last month. Headteacher Stephen Dunster said the scheme was part of a long-term plan to allow parents to pay for any school related fees over the internet.

Would you be happy for your children to be fingerprinted? Leave your comments below.

He said: “We are aiming to have a cashless system throughout the school. The catering system is better for parents because they don’t have to provide children with lunch money every morning. From our perspective it is far more efficient as it reduces waiting times.”

“We will also be able to monitor what children are buying to make sure they are eating a healthy diet.”

Is it the responsibility of the school to ensure that pupils are eating healthily? Leave your comments below.

The system is due to go live in November. Since a change in the law last year schools have been required to consult parents before they bring in the technology. The law also allows parents to refuse to allow their children to have their fingerprints taken.

Around half of Dudley’s secondary schools use some form of biometric system. But its use has come under fire from civil liberties campaigners, who fear the information could be stored on school databases. Mr Dunster added: “We don’t hold fingerprints on file. This is about using technology to benefit our pupils and parents.”

We have had a lot of comments on this story on Twitter already, but comment on the page so that your comments are not missed.

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Comments for: "School pupils to be fingerprinted"

JohnWishbear

Absolutely disgraceful! This should not be allowed to happen. Why not introduce a system whereby they have a smart card or barcode device? What will they want next, DNA samples??? Disgusting behaviour and I for one totally disagree. If my child attended this school then I would enrol them somewhere else pronto!

Woody65

A smartcard or barcode device can be lost or stolen, your fingerprints can't.

JohnWishbear

No, but your fingerprints can be passed on to other agencies without your knowledge. Big Brother is watching you!

Woody65

He's been watching you for years! We have more CCTV in this country than anywhere else.

Boinggobaggies

Not if you opt out if they still do it they are breaking the law.

Woody65

I believe, in my own opinion, that this is a good idea.

This way, as fingerprints are unique, the parents can see what there children are buying for lunch etc. and manage their finances without the need for their child to carry cash.

This is the future, so unless you have something to hide, embrace it.

AC

No problem with it as long as that data is destroyed once the pupil leaves and that it is not used for any other purpose than that for which it was intended.

ianw1959

I fully agree with cashless payments, especially in schools, having been the subject of a few dinner money robberies by bullies in my school days, but a couple of things occur to me.

Firstly collecting fingerprints for school dinner control is a bit of a sledgehammer to crack a nut solution. There must have been less complex albeit less trendy and less techy ways to achieve the same thing. Unless of course the schools have some deeper motive and further development is on the agenda for the use of this technology.

Secondly, why is it that whenever these days any organisation wants to monitor peoples activities, they almost inevitably resort to the collection of deeply personal data or contact data? I even had to connect to this site with an email address/facebook/twitter account. Why not just a good old fashioned anonymous username?

Why? Because your data is saleable, and if you can monitor what kids are eating, you can use the data to market to them, and to their parents. After all if a school wants to check that kids are getting a healthy diet, surely the best way is to only sell healthy food to them.

Boinggobaggies

You can opt out of them selling or passing your details on to partners.

Danimal

This has been used in schools for a few years now. It works.

Steve_Lockstep

I have yet to see a school biometric system fully and frankly explained, without the science fiction, such that parents can make a proper informed decision. I doubt that the schools themselves have been fully briefed. Here are some truths:

- Biometrics are NOT unique. There is little scientific evidence that fingerprints are inherently unique, and they are most certainly not unique-as-measured. All biometric fingerprint systems in practice exhibit a false detect rate of around 1 or 2%.

- The system DOES retain biometric data. Perhaps not photographic images retained by police and forensic system, but electronic 'digests' of the print, known as "templates". Do not believe the biometric industry line that templates are private; reversing templates to produce synthetic fingerprints clones is a sport amongst hackers.

- If a biometric template has multiple points of access (like more than one canteen checkout) then the templates are being held centrally somewhere, either in a database run in the school office, or in a cloud database run by the vendor. Does a school IT manager have the security skills to safeguard these templates against conceivable attacks? [Does the school even have an IT manager? And if not, where are they getting their advice about the risks of a vendors' biometric solutions?] If the world's biggest banks and IT companies get hacked, schools need to ask themselves whether they want to be in the firing line.

Most people get all their understanding about biometrics from science fiction movies. These expensive systems are being foisted upon schools, as if there is no alternative to streamline the canteen queue, along with unreal promises that the schools and parents are utterly unable to evaluate. In my professional opinion it is unethical.

arthur.blurton

If the government are making all UK schools & their own pupils have fingerprints to eat normal meals at dinner time or getting bullied during the day & skiving during school & not turning up & missing science lessons where it can be dangerous why can't the education secretary or government find any company across the UK & design or develop any ID card database technology for all schools across the UK & personal Identity of themselves & also design a digital school timetable for all pupils at school & also using this technique would it make the registry office more accurate & more efficient by all school operating staff & also with CCTV & more security why can't the government find any school vendors or companies to design & develop the technology it requires & keeping all personal details correctly identified as on a personal ID card!