Thousands of North parents unaware their children have been fingerprinted at school, claims Big Brother Watch (From The Northern Echo)
For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Thousands of North parents unaware their children have been fingerprinted at school, claims Big Brother Watch
THE fingerprints of thousands of North-East children may have been taken by schools without their parents' consent, it has been claimed.
Based on Freedom Of Information requests sent to North-East secondary schools, the Big Brother Watch campaign group found that the technology - typically used to track access to school meals by ‘swiping’ fingerprints – was being used by 17 North-East schools and by 18,328 pupils in the region.
But the group found that only 47 per cent of the region's secondary schools had parental permission to use the technology.
Big Brother Watch is urging all parents to check whether their child is subject to biometric technology and whether their consent has been sought.
Since September 2013 it is illegal to use biometric technology on school pupils without the consent of the parents. The child can also object.
The North-East figures were part of a national survey which showed that the largest number of secondary school pupils being monitored by biometric technology was in the South-East – where 105,593 were subject to fingerprint checks on a regular basis.
Yorkshire and Humberside had 60 schools and 65,275 children subject to biometric technology while the figure for the North-East was actually the lowest in the country.
The key national findings were:
- An estimated one in four secondary schools (807 in total) in England were using biometric technology at the start of the 2012-13 academic year.
- An estimated 866,423 pupils were enrolled in secondary schools using biometric technology at the start of the 2012-13 academic year.
- An estimated 31 per cent of schools did not consult parents before enrolling children into a biometric system before the law changed.
The Government changed the law from September 2013 to ensure no child was fingerprinted without parents first being asked, but the report highlights that one in three schools did not seek parental consent to use the technology before the law changed.
Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “Parents will be rightly concerned to hear so many schools did not seek their permission to fingerprint their children, while pupils may not have been made aware they now have a legal right to ask to use a system that doesn't require a fingerprint to be taken.
"The Government was right to change the law but it’s up to parents to make sure the law is being followed."
Approaches to schools and teaching organisations for comment were not responded to.
Comments are closed on this article.