Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fingerprint Systems Meet Scrutiny in UK Schools

Fingerprint systems for school children? Have we gone a little too Big-Brother? That's what people are asking in the UK, where biometric identification of school children is on the rise.  Already more than a quarter of Scotland students are being identified this way - having to use thumbprints to access restrooms, acquire library books, obtain lunch and even check in their attendance throughout the day.  And even more schools have the capability and are yet to start using it.
The use of tracking mechanisms is poised to become mainstream within the British education system -- that is, as long as the critics don't get their way.  And there are plenty.  Parents and legislators alike are arguing that this unnecessary breach of minors' privacies is not only dehumanizing, but is also in violation of EU laws.

Salford University Researcher Dr Emmeline Taylor found that in 2010, 3,500 schools in the UK — one in seven — are using fingerprint technology.  It is evidently gaining acceptance even though the dissenters are expressly against the practice.


It is not so offensive as the RFID chips that are being used in school children’s ID cards in Texas and California (people have likened this to the tracking of cattle or warehouse inventory).  Yet still, there seems to be no logical reason why children as young as 4 need to be exposed to thinking that the government will be tracking their every move throughout their lives.


Many feel that just because the technology and efficiencies exist, there is no reason to replace human involvement and physical monitoring (not to mention ‘teaching’) of our children with them.  Are the schools so surplused with budget money that this was the expenditure of choice? I am sure we could all think of a few other, more education-centric ways to spend this.


What do you think? Leave us a comment below  telling us how you feel about the biometric tracking of school children.

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