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English Students Able to Opt-Out of Biometrics at School

 

New guidelines for English schools will make clear that they will no longer be able to use pupils’ biometric data without parental consent. Pupils themselves will also be allowed to refuse to submit biometric data. The guidelines come into effect in September 2013.

U.K. Schools Minister Nick Gibb said children’s biometric data was sensitive personal information and parents must have the right to prevent its use by schools and colleges. “In the age of the internet, identity and the integrity of biometric data are of increasing importance,” stated Gibb.

Some schools and colleges use biometric technologies such as fingerprint identification and facial scanning. Schools can use fingerprinting or face scanning for recording attendance, checking out library books, paying for lunch or accessing school buildings. The benefits to schools include site safety and the speed and ease of access to services.

Last year, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) estimated that about 30 percent of secondary schools in England were using biometric data.

The guidelines have been updated to take into account new measures in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. The guidelines also direct schools to treat biometric data with appropriate care and makes them comply with the data protection principles set out in the Data Protection Act 1998.

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