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
Services is willing to
attend consultation meetings with school governors, staff, pupils
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