Monthly Archives: December 2012

UK Schools banned from fingerprinting pupils without parental consent

The UK Department of Education has announced that schools will no longer be permitted to take pupils’ fingerprints or other biometric data without gaining parents’ permission.

I am a firm believer in the use of biometric technology to further public safety and efficiency.

However, a key consideration in the use of this technology should be proportionality; is the collection of such sensitive data justified for the benefit realised?

Biometric data by its very nature is sensitive and absolute assurance must be provided that it will managed, secured and used appropriately. Given this, the consent of those whose data will be captured should be sought, and the use of such systems should not be mandated without such consent (with caveats for government, law-enforcement and public safety deployments).

Minors, by definition, are unable to supply consent, so the responsibility to do so (or to withhold consent) must fall upon the parents AFTER they have been given the opportunity to ensure they are satisfied that their child’s data is appropriately safeguarded and all privacy concerns have been considered within the context of the benefit to their child.

I absolutely applaud this move.

Man Films People in Public. Interesting Statement on Surveillance and Privacy 2

A very interesting piece to spark debate regarding safety versus privacy.

WARNING: There are one or two minor instances of less than desirable language, mainly due to the state of annoyance of those being videoed.

I do not believe (though I’m not a legal expert) that the person filming did anything illegal, yet people clearly took offence at his actions. The point the cameraman is obviously trying to make is why then do people so willingly accept being recorded by surveillance cameras?

I think the main point this film misses, in my opinion, is that people do not understand the purpose or intent of the cameraman’s actions, and they then assume malfeasance, which then understandably provokes a negative response.

In contrast, for the most part, most people understand the intent and purpose of a surveillance camera in a public place (such as a store or train station): to protect public safety.

The main lesson to be learnt from this (in my opinion) is the importance of education and awareness, and ensuring your users / key stakeholders are aware of proceedings and bought into the concept from the outset.

Thoughts or comments?