Fingerprint taken against wishes

(81 Posts)
Clarabel22 Wed 14-Oct-09 22:03:25

A few weeks ago the school sent out a permission slip for allowing them to take a thumb print from my son (age 6 Yr 2) for the purpose of borrowing a library book. I am aware that many people aren't bothered by this sort of thing creeping in to our schools but I am absolutely against it. Anyway, happy to let them get on with it, and just opt out, I correctly filled out the permission slip and returned it. I also, suspecting the school might be inconvenienced by our non-compliance, had a talk with my son and made him aware of what to say if the teachers asked for his print (i.e. mummy doesn't want me to have my thumbprint taken).

Tonight I found out that they did it anyway. He told them twice that I didn't want him to have it done and the TA said to him that it was ok because mummy had written a letter to say they could do it.

If anyone else finds themselves being asked to give permission for this, first read up about it on the internet so you are aware of all the arguments for and against. Secondly, if you don't want to do it, write a VERY CLEAR letter to the head or they may just go ahead and do it anyway, as they did in our case.

Geocentric Wed 14-Oct-09 22:08:15

That's absurd, that you specifically denied permission and they did it anyway. Why did they even bother asking??!!

butterscotch Wed 14-Oct-09 22:28:27

You should complain to the school and ask for evidence of the letter, I would also complain to the local education authority. Complain about the specific TA and you want your child to have nothing to do with this untrustworthy person, how do you know if they might not do something else against your childs/your wishes?

I'm disgusted on your behalf!

mynamesare Wed 14-Oct-09 22:33:32

That is awful. I would definitely complain and take it further.

Dysgu Wed 14-Oct-09 22:38:12

I agree that that was appalling - if they asked for permission which was denied then they should not have taken his thumb print.

However, from experience of librarian systems used in primary schools, I just wanted to add that the thumb- or finger print is not actually stored by the computer system but is turned into a numerical code.

That said, if you denied permission then all they have to do is print him a system number out (easily done without thumb prints) and he simply has this scanned when borrowing a book instead of sticking his thumb onto the little scanner (although this is the bit the kids love!).

mumofsatan Thu 15-Oct-09 07:05:42

appalling and agree you should make a complaint, in particular with regards to the TA who appears to have lied to your DS.

That's outrageous. I don't know why you didn't want his thumb print taken, but that is your choice and you clearly made your decision felt. I too would complain and be sitting wondering what else they do against your wishes.

igivein Thu 15-Oct-09 10:48:04

I would make it plain to the school that you consider what they did to be an assault (as indeed it was). Might make them think twice in future.

PixiNanny Thu 15-Oct-09 11:06:30

Find out your rights immediately and screw them over for it. What they did was illegal as you did not give permission for it! I hate this f-ing nanny state country.

Clarabel22 Thu 15-Oct-09 11:44:13

I complained to the teacher this morning. She apologised and admitted it was an oversight and they didn't check the slips thoroughly.

What concerns me are two things. Firstly, if a school is to be entrusted with data like this (whatever your views on whether it's acceptable, it's still biometric data and highly sensitive) they have to demonstrate that they take this responsibility seriously and to fail to check the permission slips is a serious failing at the most basic step. They cannot be unaware of the ethical objections that a significant minority have to this sort of thing and therefore should have scrutinised the permission slips for anyone objecting.

My main problem however is that the TA put my son in a terrible position, lying to him about me giving permission, confusing him about who to believe and undermining my authority. It was sloppy in my opinion and I've made my feelings known.

I have also asked that they remove his details from the database. Although I think the risk of his data being misused is negligible (for example they aren't sharing the data with other schools... YET) I think that it will be a useful exercise for the school to ensure they are competent to cope with this kind of data collection and storage (and destruction). I will be extremely concerned if they struggle to do this and show me proof.

sunnydelight Thu 15-Oct-09 11:50:49

It is technically assault as you have specifically withheld permission. How far you want to take it is up to you obviously and I'm sure some people will say "get over it" but I would be equally outraged and I would not let it pass.

I would phone the school tomorrow and tell the head you are considering contacting the police to file a complaint, but you are giving her/him a chance to explain what happened before you do that. The TA needs to understand that what s\he has done is totally unacceptable.

sunnydelight Thu 15-Oct-09 11:51:45

Cross posted. I'm glad you got an apology, careless in the extreme though!

SuperSoph73 Thu 15-Oct-09 12:13:35

Hi clarabel22. Just wanted to post as I am a school Librarian and we too take fingerprints so that students can borrow books from us.

Firstly, I want to say that what the TA did was completely inexcusable in my opinion, especially as your child had already stated that you didn't want him to have his fingerprint taken. All she had to do was check the reply slips for his year group.

All reply slips regarding fingerprinting in this school come to me automatically as I'm the one who does the fingerprinting.

Secondly, the fingerprinting system that we use cannot be used for any other purpose than showing us the students name and year group. We use the option of fingerprinting because the students cannot lose their fingers (hopefully wink ) but they can and do lose their Library cards and have to pay for a replacement.

Fingerprints are not stored by the system and it is not possible to create an image of a finger from the information that is stored in the Library system. This means that we are not contravening the data protection act.

Hope I've made sense here and put your mind to rest.

Clarabel22 Thu 15-Oct-09 12:26:48

Thanks SuperShoph, I was really hoping I'd avoided debating the safety of the system, but have to reply to your post. The issues are complex and many have not thought beyond the simplistic nature of the school library id system. There are many of us who feel this country / government, whatever is gaining far too much control over individuals' lives and these things are a very slippery slope. Governments change, laws change, who's to say the data will be secure in 5 or 10 years time. and look at the polarised views about national ID cards. Parliamentary debates are had on privacy issues, it is a principle many feel strongly about protecting.

Ask yourself, would you feel comfortable if your local library insisted they took a scan of your fingerprint to store so that you could take a book out?

I don't like my child being conditioned to accept this as normal. Start them this early and when he's older he won't think twice about giving a DNA sample for a national database.

Anyway, I respect your views, but the implications run deeper than the school library.

clam Thu 15-Oct-09 18:44:28

Rant forthcoming.

You filled in a form expressly forbidding permission. Your DS re-iterated this.

They went ahead anyway, BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T READ THE SLIPS PROPERLY!!!!!!!!!!

So what was the bloody point of.... Oh, I give up.

ABetaDad Thu 15-Oct-09 18:53:48

Clarabel22 - very much agree with what you feel about thsi and apallled that your DS was subjected to this. Agree with thers - totally unacceptabel.

We threatened to take DSs out of a school where they asked permission if they could do it for library cards.

We have told DSs to never agree to give finger prints to anyone without asking us first. I was extremely annoyed when a police schools liaison officer came to DSs school and he set about encouraging the children to put their finger prints on a piece of paper like in the police station. He did not take copies but I just thought that was very clever social conditioning.

If DSs ever have have to do this compulsory we are leaving the country and we mean it. The implications for civil liberties are very significant.

sarah293 Thu 15-Oct-09 18:56:57

this is why, when the sine flu injections start, I'll keep dd home from school even though I will have refused permission.

Divvy Thu 15-Oct-09 19:05:21

I think finger prints for a school library book, is OTT! Dont they know the kids names that they have in there school? hmm

Whats wrong with cards! Its not like they are borrowing the crown jewels is it!

Ewe Thu 15-Oct-09 19:14:14

We just used to have a book! Write our name, the name of the book, our class and when it was due back - tres simple!

sarah293 Fri 16-Oct-09 08:00:41

its getting them used to this always being required in the total surveillance state!

Divvy Fri 16-Oct-09 08:05:18

Riven that is very wise, I would keep them off too, just incase!

teamcullen Fri 16-Oct-09 17:58:48

Sorry but I really cant see the problem of using fingerprint technology in schools.

I can understand your point about refusing permission on a permission slip and it being ignored, and am with you on that, but...

Why is fingerprint technology so wrong? DD has this for school dinner money, they pay their money into a machine and then when they get their dinner they pay with a finger print. I really dont see the problem!

piscesmoon Fri 16-Oct-09 18:02:05

I don't see why anyone could possibly object! If they asked permission I think they should have read the replies, but the system requires a fingerprint-don't you want them to have a library book?

stuffitllllama Fri 16-Oct-09 18:08:41

Glad there are mums like you Clarabel. It's no fun having to be prepared to make yourself seem stroppy and unpopular and making a fuss over nothing when actually it is a pretty big deal -- I think you've articulated it well.

wannaBe Fri 16-Oct-09 18:14:00

asalt? wtf? shock

So on one thread today I have encountered people that think that locking children in their bedrooms over night and washing their mouthes out with soap is perfectly acceptable practice and on another taking a child's finger print is asalt?

Fuck me, I've heard it all now. hmm

hotbot Fri 16-Oct-09 18:40:14

actually i really think that it is very poor for us to be giving any info like this needlessly, especially children ,on the other hand it doesn't bother dh at all - it will make for interesting discussions in our house in the future. I specifically rejected a nursery as they wanted to fingerprint parents for a thumbprint front door access.....

janeite Fri 16-Oct-09 18:46:53

Well yes, of course they should have read the slips properly and abided by your decision. However, I think many people are blowing the idea of thumb prints up out of all proportion and to call it "assault" is really paranoid and silly imho. But yes, the TA should be spoken to.

stuffitllllama Fri 16-Oct-09 19:01:00

I don't think it's assault but I think it's bang out of order.

piscesmoon Fri 16-Oct-09 19:03:31

How do you propose that he has a library book if the system needs a fingerprint? Are they supposed to have a system that everyone uses and something else for Clarabel junior? I think I would have worded the slip if your DC wants to borrow a library book please sign below. No fingerprint -no book.

WartoScreamo Fri 16-Oct-09 19:08:24

I don't really understand why you would want to refuse permission. Do you think the school is comparing their database with the local police? Fingerprints (or iris scanning) as ID is going to be the future. Many photocopiers for example have them these days. Scan your thumb - print out your stuff.....

piscesmoon Fri 16-Oct-09 19:19:37

I think that more and more places will have them-it seems a secure, easy system to me.

RustyBear Fri 16-Oct-09 19:28:15

Asuming this is the Junoir Librarian system, it doesn't actually need a fingerprint. We will be using this system when our new library is built & any child whose parents don't want them to give a fingerprint will have a card with a barcode. What usually happens then is that they feel left out because the fingerprint system is seen as cool, and most of them persuade their parents to allow it.

Clarabel22 Fri 16-Oct-09 21:58:42

The letter stated that is wasn't essential to provide a fingerprint but that it would make the system more effective. So I guess he'd have a card or something that would make the process of taking a book out a bit slower.

In response to all those who have questioned why I objected, please read my earlier explanation in the middle of page 1.

piscesmoon Fri 16-Oct-09 22:08:04

I can see that the school has made a real pig's ear of the whole thing and that you are annoyed. However I can't see why anyone is bothered about a finger print. You can't lose it-you can lose a card. If you are getting a whole class to change books it saves having to give out and collect in cards.

piscesmoon Fri 16-Oct-09 22:09:09

I wish our local library operated with a finger print-I wouldn't run the risk of not having my card with me.

ravenAK Fri 16-Oct-09 22:11:31

It's fairly harmless as a system IMO - the fingerprint generates a barcode, which the child can have anyway on a library card.

So as long as the encryption is sufficiently rigorous, my understanding is that the initial scan generates an ID number & each subsequent use of the finger scanner simply matches the number - no-one can reproduce the fingerprint from the data stored.

Equally, with the fingerprint entry nursery - honestly, all they are doing is generating an ID number. They could do it probably just as well by scanning the surface of your your bum or your cardigan, but fingerprints are a) more convenient but b) more emotive, presumably because they are associated with forensic uses.

However, there are massive concerns about the use of ID & data storage in this country, & I think the OP was entirely within her rights to object.

Whoever checked the permission slips (shouldn't BE the teacher, should be done centrally) should have flagged the OP's dc as not to have his print scanned, he should've been issued a card, job done.

I really don't think I'd be shouting assault, but I might be letting the school know that they have training issues - TAs should know this is a sensitive area & to check parental permission.

cripesalorky Fri 16-Oct-09 22:18:39

I think calling this assault is weird and unhelpful. I think that 'clever social conditioning' is reading far too much into some visiting police officers taking fingerprints on paper.

Fingerprint library systems are very useful when there are more than 2,000 students in a school who forget cards constantly.

Lots of people are sounding very us and them here. There was an oversight, which is bad, and which should be addressed, but what's with the hysteria?

ABetaDad Fri 16-Oct-09 22:19:30

By the way, don't believe the explanation of the system that says your child finger print is not stored in the system so it is safe.

Imagine a crime were commited in an area and an child finger print was found at the scene.

The police could theoretically feed the finger print they had found into a similar library scanning macine, get the digital signature of that finger print, then cross check it against the other digital signatures of fnger prints in the local school library machines. Working back up the school library databases they WOULD find the name of the child attached to that unique digital signature.

No court in the world would order the police to ignore that evidence.

edam Fri 16-Oct-09 22:26:20

Actually it is assault - touching someone when they and their parents had specifically withheld permission. The child was forced to have his fingerprint taken.

For me, the most serious aspect is that the TA told a bare-faced lie to the child, despite Clarabel's ds explaining that Mummy had objected.

I would expect abject apologies to parent and child and the destruction of the fingerprint.

RustyBear Fri 16-Oct-09 22:34:03

There's no 'finger print' to destroy - what you need to get deleted is the record in the main database which stores the biometric data. Then your DS can be re-registered with a barcode, like a normal library ticket.

ravenAK Fri 16-Oct-09 22:35:16

ABetaDad, I really don't think so.

There is a well established system of visual 'compares' used to decide whether a fingerprint is admissable in court.

Producing the same barcode when fed into a scanner is not the same thing.

Besides, it's news to me that the police actually have a right to demand the records of (all, it would have to be - else the hypothetical defence could clearly posit another child with an identical 'barcode') school libraries!

I don't know - I'm willing to be told I've missed something here, & of course it's a system that bears watching for possible future misuse as it gets more sophisticated.

But your scenario strikes me as decidedly farfetched for both technological & legal reasons, tbh.

janeite Fri 16-Oct-09 22:36:59

It hardly sounds like they held him down and forced him.

ABetaDad - I agree with Raven. It all sounds a bit hysterical to me.

edam Fri 16-Oct-09 22:43:43

They took his fingerprint against his very clear wishes and against his parents' very clear wishes. I'm guessing they haven't invented some magical method of taking fingerprints without actually touching someone.

Doesn't matter how relaxed you are about fingerprinting children, touching someone against their expressed wishes is assault. That is a fact.

This may not be the worst case of assault ever, but it is assault, nonetheless.

Probably contravenes the Data Protection Act as well - there are only specific circumstances in which people can be forced to hand over personal data to be stored against their will, and a school library system is not one of them.

ABetaDad Fri 16-Oct-09 22:50:53

ravenAK/janeite - surely they don't need a visual 'compare'? They just need to find the person on the library database who has the finger print them properly finger print then on arrest to do the proper visual compare later.

Read this story about NO2ID stealing the home secretary's fingerprint of a water glass and making a plastic foil stamp of it. The technology exists to make foils of fingerprints and that could theoretically be fed back into such a machine. It is only a matter of time.

RustyBear Fri 16-Oct-09 22:53:56

"I'm guessing they haven't invented some magical method of taking fingerprints without actually touching someone" Actually they have - the 'fingerprint' can easily be taken without touching the child, and usually is - the child puts their finger into an electronic reader, which stores the data.

edam Fri 16-Oct-09 22:57:00

Raven, what makes you think the police wouldn't be able to demand to see the records kept by school libraries? Of course they would, if it was deemed necessary in the course of an investigation.

The Met merrily trampled all over our constitution to search an MP's office and correspondence protected by parliamentary privilege because the home secretary felt embarrassed... I hardly think school libraries are going to be given more legal protection than the House of Commons!

ravenAK Fri 16-Oct-09 23:05:26

Edam, if he said 'My mum doesn't want me to have this done', then he was told that it was fine & his mother had signed a letter giving permission, whereupon he consented (whether he's competent to consent, especially since he was given duff information by someone in loco parentis & a position of trust, is a whole other ball game) - he wasn't assaulted.

Teachers are allowed to touch students against their expressed wishes for all sorts of reasons without it being assault, for that matter.

I'm not saying it doesn't stink - it does - but assault it is not. You could well be on the money on the Data Protection Act, but again, the child was not 'forced'.

ABetaDad: 'They just need to find the person on the library database who has the finger print them properly finger print then on arrest to do the proper visual compare later'

Big 'just', there. How are they going to compel every school within x miles to release its library database? & then they'd have to arrest the putative child criminal purely on that 'evidence' in order to fingerprint him/her.

It's an interesting idea & I can quite see that as a new technology it needs a beady eye keeping on it.

Usually I'm on supermarket 'Challenge under 90 year olds not accompanied by both parents' threads chuntering about ID cards by stealth, so it's instructive to find myself instinctively on the opposite side as it were.

wannaBe Fri 16-Oct-09 23:07:11

if you travel to the US you have to give a fingerprint for pretty much everything. i.e. if you go through imigration you give a fingerprint, if you go into a theme park your ticket is activated with your finger print. And it's all done electronically - no-one has to touch anyone.

ladymariner Fri 16-Oct-09 23:11:17

maybe i'm being really dim here but ....if a crime was committed and a child's fingerprint found at the scene then why not check all the fingerprints in the library??? If it catches the person who committed the crime then that is a a good thing, surely?

or is that just me?

edam Fri 16-Oct-09 23:14:09

Because leaving your fingerprint somewhere does not automatically make you the bad guy. Today I will have left my fingerprints in half a dozen places - if one of them is broken into, does that make me the thief?

edam Fri 16-Oct-09 23:15:46

And Raven, I take your point about co-erced consent (which is still a bad thing). Would be interesting to find out from Clarabel exactly what happened.

ladymariner Fri 16-Oct-09 23:19:08

really??? are you sure? Only the tone of your reply makes me want to be snotty back!
Obviously it does not make you "the bad guy", but it stands to reason that if fingerprints match the ones found at this totally hypothetical scene of crime then the police at least have something to go on.

edam Fri 16-Oct-09 23:21:43

Nothing snotty about my post, was an entirely reasonable straightforward couple of lines attempting to answer your question.

ravenAK Fri 16-Oct-09 23:22:23

Also ladymariner, because it could be used as a way to gather the nation's fingerprints aged 10 or whatever, in order to build up a mahoosive scary intrusive database. Which I'm instinctively agin.

In the instance of encrypted codes generated by fingerprints/any convenient scannable surface which a child can be relied to carry around, however, I think that is a very different thing. With instructive caveats from edam, but overall to be scrutinised rather than rejected out of hand (as it were! grin)

edam Fri 16-Oct-09 23:27:03

Raven, just don't tell the filth it was me what done over the Italian joint today, OK? wink

Did you see the NO2ID link about how easy it is to forge someone's fingerprint, btw? Scary stuff.

teamcullen Fri 16-Oct-09 23:29:56

Abetadad- what if the fingerprint was found at the scene of a rape and following the sinario you gave us, the fingerprint was traced back to a 16 year old boy who was found to have have other forensic evidence to relate him to commiting the crime?

Unless you are planning on breaking the law I really dont see the problem. If the government really wants to get a DNA profile on us Im sure they will be a bit more inventive than a school library pass.

Ouchhhh Fri 16-Oct-09 23:50:34

I don't like it either.

Put it this way (to those who can't see anything wrong with this)

If the software changed, and you COULD recreate a fingerprint from this library procedure, would it still be ok?

If the libraries were to require a full set of inked fingerprints from your DCs to take out a book, would you agree happily to that?

What about eye scanning, if they had that, instead of finger scanning? Would that be OK? After all, why is eye scanning any different to finger scanning?

Doesn't matter how you can't recreate a visual fingerprint <at the moment, possibly> yada yada; the fact is that each record stored is unique to your fingerprint, and requires your fingerprint specifically. It's the "new" "visual compare", as it were. We think it's more innocent because it's not taking a print with paper and ink the old fashioned way.

The information is still person-specific and to assume that there won't be a cross-referencing of this data with other data systems in the future is naive.

kid Fri 16-Oct-09 23:51:42

I haven't read all of the posts, but have read a few.
I think it was wrong of the TA to tell your son that you had given permission, I imagine that did confuse him.

But, maybe the TA didn't deliberately lie to him. Perhaps she saw the letter and assumed it was to give permission.

Do all of their request letters allow you to show you opt out of something? At my DCs school, if you return a letter, it is usually to give consent. If you don't agree, you don't return the letter.

The TA still should have checked, but it would be a better reson rather than she lied.

ravenAK Sat 17-Oct-09 00:30:10


'If the software changed, and you COULD recreate a fingerprint from this library procedure, would it still be ok?'

No. That's why I've said it bears watching, but my layperson's understanding is that the process - so it's not to do with the software, as there's perfectly adequate software on my home PC to produce high res scans of the whole town's fingerprints -is that you can't reverse engineer from a 9 or 12 digit ID number to an image of someone's fingerprint.

'If the libraries were to require a full set of inked fingerprints from your DCs to take out a book, would you agree happily to that?'

No. Why would they want to, anyway, if a computer-generated number from one fingerprint is sufficient to identify a student in a high school population of 1000 or so?

'What about eye scanning, if they had that, instead of finger scanning? Would that be OK? After all, why is eye scanning any different to finger scanning?'

Well, if it's a means of generating a number, it isn't any different. Fingers are probably easier though.

Look, I agree it's something that needs monitoring.

But in practical terms, I teach in a school of 800, & I could put a name probably to 500 faces. So could the school librarian, but if our Head wasn't too tight to pay for this system, it might speed things up a bit for her...

It's a bit of a toy at present, & I think it's part of a much bigger potential picture. Hmm.

Still wouldn't go gunning for the TA personally, though. I'd be tackling the governors about whether a) they should be introducing such a system & b) how they think 'opt-outs' should be protected from internal cock ups as in the OP.

piscesmoon Sat 17-Oct-09 08:26:02

I still don't see a problem. Someone could steal your library card and leave it at the scene of the crime. Anyone complaining obviously hasn't had to hand out 30 library cars to infants on a regular basis-and expected them to hand them in again.

piscesmoon Sat 17-Oct-09 08:26:29

sorry cards not cars!!

ABetaDad Sat 17-Oct-09 08:34:36

ladymariner/teamcullen - this is the bit that frightens me.

As edam rightly points out I have left fingerprints all over the place this week and most likely at a few scenes of crime unbeknown to me.

"what if the fingerprint was found at the scene of a rape and following the sinario you gave us, the fingerprint was traced back to a 16 year old boy who was found to have have other forensic evidence to relate him to commiting the crime?"

How convenient it would be then to just pick up every young person that happened to have left a fingerprint at a crime scene by just scanning through a ready made school library database - whether innocent or not.

The more serious the crime the more public pressure there would be to 'catch' the perpertrator by any means possible. This has got potential miscarriage of justice written all over it and it is just a matter of time before this kind of library fingerprint database technology is used help make an arrest. There is increasing concern that fingerprint and DNA 'evidence' is routinely being misused and misunderstood in court principally because it is often presented as infallible and irefutable evidence when it is not. It is merely circumstantial evidence in many cases. It is impossibe for lay people on a jury who do not have the technical knowledge or even the information put in front of them to decipher what is reliable hard evidence or what is circumstantial evidence and what is not evidence at all. Just because a fingerprint or DNA is found at a crime scene and it can be matched to a database does not prove a person commited the crime but that is often how it is presented.

More to the point, even being arrested for a serious crime on the off chance of a fingerprint match being found on a database has very serious implications as it leads to fingerprints and DNA being taken at the police station and it never being removed form the persons record even if totally innocent. The police increasingly arrest all young people at crime scenes as a matter of routine (e.g like after fights outside pubs) and they all end up on the police database even when innocent. It could happen to all our children.

I am not into conspircy theory stuff but I just do not buy the 'if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear' arguement. Most serious civil liberties people don't either.

My DSs are never going on one of these library fingerprint systems. We told he school we would buy books for them from a list provided by the school if necessary and create our own library.

piscesmoon Sat 17-Oct-09 08:57:24

Anyone can have my fingerprint-I don't see it as an issue.

teamcullen Sat 17-Oct-09 10:47:18

I agree piscesmoon- they can have mine and my kids too. I see it as moving with the times rather than thinking that the government is out to get me.

People thorght the same about using something called the internet 15 years ago.

I wonder if the peole who object to fingerprint technology dont go to their local town anymore because "big brother is watching"

purepurple Sat 17-Oct-09 11:16:49

DD had this system when she was at junior school. I don't remember having to give my permission.
She just came home and said they had all had it down.
It obviously doesn't work though. She has been left over a year and still has school library books in her room.
I don't have a problem with it, and don't see it as any sort of infringement.
When DS was at high school, a teen was stabbed and killed and the whole school had to have locker searches by the police. At first, I did think it a bit of an infringement to do it without the parents being there. But, I quickly realised that a child had been murdered. Infringement of human rights pales into insignificance when you put it into perspective.

piscesmoon Sat 17-Oct-09 11:26:16

I trust that those of you who want the school to adopt a labour intensive, time consuming method of running the library are going to volunteer to go into school and help?

ADragonIs4LifeNotJustHalloween Sat 17-Oct-09 11:37:02

Personally, I don't see the problem with fingerprint recognition like this. I would be happy to provide a fingerprint instead of using a library card.

WRT the OP, I do think the TA was wrong to lie (although I don't think she was lying, just misinformed) and they clearly handled the permission slips incorrectly which needs looking at.

Interestingly, I am certain DSs school used this for their library system, however, they now have a book which has a barcode next to their name and they scan this to take a book from the library. They would appear to have ditched the finger reader. Obviously the barcode system is not as "secure" but it's only a book, not a high value computer, they're borrowing

skidoodle Sat 17-Oct-09 11:53:14

I can't believe there are people so dim and compliant that they think being "modern" is a good reason to give up personal data.

Read the things the experts in data collection and storage have to say about these schemes. Just because technology makes something possible does not mean it is a good idea or that we should just go along with it.

Fingerprinting a child against a parent's express wishes is a very serious matter. I would be gunning for a ta who would lie to a child like that to coerce them into obedience in that way. She should not be anywhere near a classroom if she treats children with so little respect. This is the problem with having unqualified people in the classroom.

piscesmoon Sat 17-Oct-09 11:57:03

The way it was done was entirely wrong skidoodle and there is no excuse for it. I just fail to see what is wrong with anyone having your finger print. If parents object they should set up a rota to run the library, and to replace lost, bent and chewed cards!

scaryteacher Sat 17-Oct-09 12:14:32

The issue is also ignoring a letter which withheld consent. I refused to let my ds (12 at the time) have the hep b jab last year as he has an underlying health issue and I couldn't get hold of the military docs to discuss how this would affect him if he had it. I went to his school medical with him to ensure that he was NOT given the jab, and the bloody doctor tried to persuade him to have it, even though I had signed to say no; and I was sitting there saying no. If I had not been there I think she would have talked him into it, which irritates the hell out of me, as I had very definitely said no.

There is no point sending out forms for consent if the school is going to ignore what is written on it.

ADragonIs4LifeNotJustHalloween Sat 17-Oct-09 13:04:07

Right, so I'm "dim" am I? hmm Charming.

As for "gunning for the TA" I don't think she was lying. I bet she was told they had permission from the parents and this is the info she passed on to the child. The only person at fault is whoever misread the permission slip in the first place.

asdx2 Sat 17-Oct-09 15:52:17

After being thanked for drawing teacher's attention to the fact that I had refused permission for dd to be seen for a medical by school nurse because "they didn't check the slips because parents don't often refuse"
I then had to withdraw dd from school health programme because school nurse then informed me she wouldn't be checking for permission either but if I wrote withdrawing dd then she wouldn't be seen.
Which makes you wonder why the school or school health bother asking for permission in the first place hmm
Incidentally only refused permission because dd has a paediatrician so why would I need her to be seen by a school nurse?

clam Sat 17-Oct-09 17:58:46

I think that, when your DS said, quite emphatically by the sounds of it, that his mum had said that he wasn't to have it, the TA should have bloody well checked the forms. If he hadn't said anything, then it's more understandable (although not really excusable) that they could say they hadn't checked the forms properly (in which case what the hell was the point in having them?) but HE POINTED OUT THERE WAS A DISCREPANCY.
No excuses. The school (and specifically the TA) are out of order.

Dunno what I think about fingerprinting though.

dinasaw Wed 21-Oct-09 01:06:01

This has reminded me of a letter we had sent home from school a few years ago. The school wanted permission to pass on data to the Connexions service about my 15 year old son.

I refused on the grounds that I didn't want them having this information as I was unsure what they were going to do with it.

I was also unsure exactly what information they were going to pass on, they didn't specify. From the sound of it, it could have been everything and anything the school have ever known about my son and his family. I'm not entirely sure I wanted this service to have access to that. They also didn't specify how long they would hold this data for and what they intended to do with it.

BoffMonster Wed 21-Oct-09 22:25:36

I am often interviewed on this topic on the news and so on.

You should be worried.

1. The main organisation flogging the biometric software to your schools is invariably Verisign, who were involved in security at Guantanemo Bay. They make extravagent claims to schools about its benefits, for which I have been unable to find any evidence whatsoever.

2. It is relatively straightforward to forge a fingerprint using gelatine, or to recreate it from the software.

3. The algorithm used is often insecurely stored.

You can change a password, but not your fingerprints. Do not trust organisations with your personal biometric data unless there is a very good reason that transcends library books and school dinners (or indeed speed and convenience of passage through an airport).

ICantFindAFreeNickName Wed 21-Oct-09 23:44:50

Skidoodle - whilst I agree that the TA was in the wrong & should have checked all the permission slips, I don't understand your comment 'This is the problem with having unqualified people in the classroom' - what do you mean by this, in our school all our TA's are qualified.

eclectech Thu 22-Oct-09 00:15:36

I would be fuming, and you're unfortunately not alone. Schools aren't set-up to protect data to the extent needed (why should they be?). Fingerprints are critical, irreplaceable personal information.

ARCH have more information on the current situation, although I think the critical thing is that the "Information Commissioner is now advising schools that they should obtain the consent of parents if a child is aged under 12, and the joint consent of both parent and any child aged 12 or over, and that fingerprint records should be removed by a data cleansing service when a child leaves the school."

hocuspontas Thu 22-Oct-09 16:20:40

I'm spluttering at the abuse aimed at the TA. How do you know the TA was in charge? They could all have been standing waiting with the teacher, fingerprinter, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all, and it just happened to be the TA who the OP's son addressed his comment to. Why would the TA have to be the one to check? Maybe she did check with the teacher who said permission had been given. Why would she even see the slips? It's so easy to kick the 'unqualified' hmm one at the bottom of the chain. TAs assist the teacher and most certainly wouldn't 'lie' about permission slips.

As an aside, dd3's junior school did the fingerprinting for the library system. We weren't asked but I felt at the time we should have been.

hippipotamiHasLost72lbs Thu 22-Oct-09 16:38:02

I too am horrified at the way you are all blaming the TA.
I am a TA. Trust me, we would not even get to see the permission slips. We would be told 'Take class X to be fingerprinted'. Permission slips are dealt with by the office and then the teacher. So if the order came from a teacher then it is not the TA's job to double check. We generally have to accept what the teacher tells us and therefore I would have assumed the slips had been checked and the teacher was on the case.

If Mini Clarabel told the TA he did not want his fingerprint taken the TA would probably have assumed he was scared / reluctant and reassured him with 'It's ok, mummy signed a permission slip'.
If Mini Clarable told the TA he did not want his fingerprint taken because mummy did not want him to, then yes, the TA should have double checked the permission slips with the teacher / office.

But as it stands, it seems the TA carried out a teacher's instructions and got it wrong. I see no evidence of her lying. Unless she is really a secret government agent ordered to obtain the nations's youngster's fingerprints at all costs hmm

DeepnGreen Mon 19-Nov-12 22:27:54

About 30% of schools are using this technology. It has many administrative advangates for the school.
A couple of days before DD1 started at grammar school I had a chat with her: "If they ask for your fingerprints, tell them no. If they ask why not, tell them to phone your Daddy." Sure enough, first day at school, I got a phone call "Your daughter says you want some more information about the Vericool system. I replied "I don't need any information, I just don't want you to take my child's fingerprints." The class teacher said it wasn't the whole fingerprint, just the fingertip. I said I didn't care and I didn't want her to take them. She said she would get someone who knew more about the system to phone me back. I phoned No2ID.
When the Dep Head phoned back we were both very polite (first day at new school etc) and she explained that no fingerprint would mean no ability to use the canteen. I replied that under the PROTECTION OF FREEDOMS ACT 2012 (Chapter 2) parents and/or children can refuse to allow the school to record and use biometric data and, what's more, wherever a school uses biometric data (inc fingertips) to deliver a service there has to be an alternative delivery method for those who opt out. I said that for the first couple of weeks I would send DD1 in with packed lunch, but suggested the Dep Head ask the peddlers of Vericool about the law and the alternatives. Surely I couldn't be the 1st person in the County to ask the question? (Surely...).
What made me laugh was the Dep Head asked if I why I hadn't had the same conversation about my other daughter. I replied that my other daughter isn't at the same school. 'Oh' she said, 'We have a child in Year 9 with the same surname and assumed they were sisters'. Now that's what I call secure data protection/data management!

I followed up the conversation with a polite but firm letter saying that the school had better make sure they hadn't got my child's biometric data.

The school confirmed that there is no biometric data on any system. They have also provided an alternative means for DD1 to use the canteen. It is very high tech. When she arrives at the till she tells the dinner lady her name and the dinner lady writes the transaction down in a book. Simples.

At another local school I've heard that each time student has tried to sign in to the fingermachine it pops up with the name of someone with a similar fingertip. Brilliant.

Worley Tue 20-Nov-12 18:47:20

ds1 had his fingertips done for their register and canteen whislt he was in yr 7, ready for when he started the new school going in to yr 8. he's now in yr 9 and they want the whole school done again as they lost them all. I havnt signed the slip to let them do it again. they can just find them all... and they still don't have the system set up anyway.. so taking his prints when he was still in yr 7 was useless..

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