We are campaigning to have the widespread use of biometrics in schools debated in Parliament, and henceforth strictly regulated and closely monitored, with a statutory requirement for explicit parental consent wherever biometrics are used.
Pippa King wrote:
Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2006 10:44:56 +0000 (GMT)
From: Pippa King
Subject: Leave Them Kids Alone Newsletter 1
To: Concerned LTKA
Thank you for signing up to the LTKA newsletter which brings together the most up to date news and ongoing features of this campaign. If you have any news of what is happening in your area please let us know, we'll put it in the newsletter.
We are aiming to get a newsletter out every 4-6 weeks.
Thank you for your support!
PARENTAL LEGAL ACTION
A lawyer, Phil Shiner, has offered to represent parents whose children have been fingerprinted without consent and is eager to move ahead with action. He has respectfully asked that he is not inundated with telephone calls and has asked LTKA to compile a list of interested parents that would like to pursue this. He would like a list as soon as possible so please contact us if you are interested. He has 10 hours of time to give initially. As far as we are aware there is an option to remain anonymous throughout the process in law.
Phil Shiner was voted Liberty Human Rights lawyer of the Year in 2004 and the company he works through have been ranked 1 in the Midlands for human rights law, 2 nationwide for environmental law and 3 nationwide for administrative and public law
Please email concerned@LeaveThemKidsAlone.com if you are interested or know anyone who would be.
We are urging as many people as possible to contact their MP about schools fingerprinting without explicit parental permission - see http://www.writetothem.com/ for details of your MP, MEPs, councillors, etc.
FILMING SCHOOLS WITH VERICOOL (cashless catering and registration)
We've just learned that schools require permission from the manufacturers of the Vericool fingerprinting system in order to allow filming of children using it on their premises. We feel this is outrageous since schools do not have the courtesy to ask permission from parents to fingerprint our children in the first place.
IT'S JUST A GAME!
At one primary school children were told "Let's play the game of spies. It's just a game, so there's no need to tell your parents." They were then split up into groups of five or six and every single child was fingerprinted and photographed. We feel this is an appalling breach of trust by the school in question.
CHILDRENS BIOMETRIC'S RAISES QUESTION IN PARLIAMENT
Sarah Teather, the Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson, recently asked in June this year
"To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the collection by schools of pupils' personal data, with particular reference to fingerprints."(no.82201), Beverly Hughes referred her back to an answer given to Nick Gibbs, (Cons) Shadow Schools Minister, by Jaquie Smith (Lab) in February this year:
Part of which reads:
"In collecting data of this type the school is likely to rely on the broad powers contained in paragraph 3 of Schedule 1 of the Education Act 2002. This enables a governing body to do anything which appears to them to be necessary or expedient for the purposes of, or in connection with the conduct of the school."
Please click link above to see full answer given by and the detailed question initially asked by Nick Gibbs which raises some valid issues surrounding biometrics in schools.
OUR POLL attracted more than 1400 votes over the summer, when most parents obviously are away. 1345 people voted against schools fingerprinting without asking parents (94%) 80 in favour (6%).
LTKA WEBSITE HITS
Without significant mainstream coverage we've had more than 30,000 page impressions on our site over the summer - 34,379 as of this moment in time, from more than 11,000 unique visitors).
COUNCIL WITHDRAWS "CONTROVERSIAL" WEBPAGE
Within 12 hours of LTKA highlighting a page on the Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council entitled "Tips For Fingerprinting Children", the page was hastily deleted and the menus on the site rewritten. Surely if Dudley have nothing to hide about what they are doing, they should have nothing to fear?
The page that was pulled is cached at:
If you're quick, Google still also has a cache of the old page:
SCHOOLS KEEN TO DENY FINGERPRINTING
Two schools, in Manchester and Warwickshire, threatened LTKA with legal action after we listed them as users of Junior Librarian (in each case they weren't using the optional fingerprinting module). Looks like head teachers are slowly getting the message that fingerprinting children without asking parents is wrong.
BIOMETRICS IS BIG BUSINESS
The manufacturer of Junior Librarian and Eclipse, Micro Librarian Systems is now worth £8 million, and say "The size of the UK market means there remains significant opportunity for growth."
TEACHING UNION STATMENT
A spokeswoman for the National Union of Teachers said on Thursday Sept 14th: "Fingerprinting has to be done in consultation with parents and teachers and not imposed. By consultation, we are talking about proper consultation, giving parents time to respond, not installing the machines and then asking parents."
DfES POSTION ON PARENTAL CONSENT
The latest position the DfES are taking on consent was reported in the Register
In a nutshell, if you're 3 years old in a nursery you ARE mature enough to consent to be fingerprinted and photographed, but in the sixth form you're NOT mature enough to opt out! That's what the students at Edgbarrow school in Crowthorne have been told by their deputy head. They were told they need to supply a letter from their parents if they didn't want their fingerprints taken.