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Frequently Asked Questions

Fingerprint Recognition Technology

How does the technology work?
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 a digital code that is stored in a secure database on the network server, not locally on the PC or laptop, 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.

How does the Data Protection Act 1998 affect the use of the data?
The Data Protection Act covers fingerprint data in exactly the same way as it covers all other personal data held by the school and must be kept secure in the same way. Sentinel contains a secured database which is stored on the network server and does not allow access to non-authorised personnel. Becta have issued a guidance document for schools considering implementing a fingerprint recognition system which you can download here.

How can we make sure that parents and pupils understand and accept the system?
The best way to ensure that you get support from parents and students for this system is to involve them from the beginning. The more information and opportunities to ask questions they are given the more likely they are to accept the system. We are willing to help with providing technical information and can also attend consultation meetings on request.

What happens if a parent or pupil refuses to use the system?
In the unlikely event that this should happen the system includes a manual verification option that enables the teacher to log the student in.