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Click to enlarge About Fingerprint Recognition Technology

A fingerprint consists of a unique set of features on everyone’s fingertips. When a student enrols and their fingerprint is scanned for the first time, the reader records the unique details of their fingerprint. These are then converted into an encrypted digital code that is stored and matched on future scans – no actual image of the fingerprint is stored on the secured system or can be retrieved or reproduced in any way.

In July 2007 Becta issued a guidance document for schools considering implementing a fingerprint recognition system, particularly with regards to compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998. The main points of the guidance are:

  • Schools must comply with the Act when implementing fingerprint recognition systems – the data must be handled in the same way as any other personal data held by the school.
  • Whilst the Act does not explicitly require schools to seek the consent of parents before implementing a fingerprint recognition system it is recommended that schools involve pupils and parents in the decision.
  • Under the Act schools have a duty to ensure that all personal data they hold is kept secure.
  • It is good practice for schools to be clear and open with all parents when introducing the technology, explaining what technology will be used, what data will be held and stored, why it is required, how it will be secured and how long it will be kept.

Allegro Computer Services is willing to attend consultation meetings with school governors, staff, pupils and parents.

Download the full Becta guidance document here.

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has also issued a useful statement on the Commissioners views on the use of biometrics in schools – click here to download their statement.

Touch Registration includes a manual verification process for students who refuse to have their fingerprints scanned.