The intrepid Mark Ballard at The Register has more on the Irish fingerprint story:
The Irish Information Commissioner’s Office has come down on the notion of school fingerprinting and taken early action to prevent the technology being deployed arbitrarily.
It has told the first handful of Irish schools known to be establishing biometric systems that they ought to have a good reason for doing so and has said it will use its powers to order schools to rip out systems it considers excessive.
All very interesting, and makes the UK position look increasingly untenable.
Meanwhile, Baroness Walmsley has taken two good swipes at the issue during the past week. The first was in an unstarred question in the Lords on Monday, well-supported by half a dozen other Peers, and the second during a longer debate on Thursday on public sector accountability:
…the DfES has really no idea what is going on out there. It does not know how many schools are doing this or how many children are affected. The noble Lord, Lord Adonis, in answer to a question from me earlier this week, revealed that his department is unaware that most of those schools are flouting good practice by not getting the parents’ permission for this infringement of their children’s rights. That is the sort of thing that can happen when services to the public sector are not properly monitored. The Government are walking blindfolded into a future identity fraud crisis, and the parents and children do not even know about it or realise the implications of the practice.
Early Day Motion 686 on the use of biometrics in schools is steadily gathering cross-party signatures. If your MP isn’t on the list and you think s/he should be, then send the URL and ask them to sign up.