I am a parent from the UK whose children were nearly fingerprinted in 2005 when they were 6 and 7 years old for a school library system. After asking the Head Teacher when the school was going to obtain consent from parents I was told that the school did not need to ask our permission to take the children’s fingerprints. The Head Teacher was rightly informed by the biometric system’s vendors.
The UK Data Protection Act 1998 does not consider biometric data as Sensitive Personal Data. In order for schools to store and process a child’s Sensitive Data, parental consent must be sought. As biometric data is not considered to be ‘sensitive’, schools can take a child’s biometrics without informing parents.
I campaigned from 2005 along with other parents, with the help of some very good people in the privacy sector, for parents to have openness and transparency from schools with an option to ‘opt in’ and schools not to presume parental consent by (sometimes) offering an ‘opt out’.
The Protection of Freedoms Act was passed in May 2012 which requires, in chapter 2 clauses 26-28, for schools to gain written parental consent if they wish to store/process a child’s biometric data as of 1st September 2013.