Biometrics for kids

July 31, 2007 at 9:01 pm Leave a comment

Any authentication system needs to pass a fit-for-purpose test. This is particularly true for public services and even more so when biometrics are involved.

From that perspective, using biometric authentication for UK school children as young as 5 fails the test.

UK schools can now take fingerprints; retina and iris scans; and record children’s voices, face shapes, hand measurements, handwriting and typing patterns.

Parents’ permission is required for every school trip but not for collecting their kids’ biometrics. Not only that, according to recent official guidance (pdf, 73KB), schools are only obliged to “engage fully” with parents but can proceed even over the objections of parents.

The explanation given is that, “There is nothing explicit in the Data Protection Act to require schools to seek the consent of parents before implementing a biometric technology system.”

What do kids get in return? Quicker lunch, library books, and taking attendance.

In my opinion, UK has much bigger problems than simply sleepwalking into a surveillance society.


Entry filed under: authentication, biometrics, government, identity, personal_info, privacy, security, strategy, trust, UK.

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