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Physical Security Thread, 13 year old refuses to store fingerprint data for canteen tills. in Technical; Some of the comments are predictably scary: Other than surveillance what possible reason does the government have in reading emails, ...
  1. #16

    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Some of the comments are predictably scary:
    Other than surveillance what possible reason does the government have in reading emails, personal data, internet histories, or biometric data? The fact that you can find uses doesn't mean the information should be collected. All of this information is available to government security forces. It's information they should not have.
    Why must public services be forever conflated with government? We are funded by the government. We are not the government itself. The government isn't reading anything on any of that list, and frankly nor am I, except where there is cause for concern as flagged up by police/pastoral. If we didn't do that, we'd have the other story where a student harms themselves and the school is excoriated for not intervening and identifying the problem.

    "All of this information is available to government security forces", good lord! We're not living in Mega-City One. It's astonishing the level of competency people ascribe to our government when coming up with these conspiracies, when a brief glance across the papers on any given day shows how spectacularly useless they are at achieving anything. Look at how long it took Theresa May to get Abu Hamza out the country; that was hardly an omniscient, all-powerful government/military complex at work, was it?

    If Giles Wendes is anyone here, by the way, well done. You're a braver man than I popping your head above the parapets in that conversation.

  2. #17

    Norphy's Avatar
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    I sympathise but I do think they're being over paranoid

    Innocent children whose prints are now in the system
    What system? They're in the school's MIS system. They're not in some global government system that "they" run. The NSA don't have them. GCHQ don't have them. My mate Dave from the market won't have them either. They're not in the police's criminal database. They're not anyway but in the school's IT system. Considering the state of government run IT, they're not going to go any further any time soon either.

  3. #18


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    Quote Originally Posted by JJonas View Post
    I believe it stores it as a very long unique number. This number cannot be turned back into a copy of the fingerprint nor can it be used by the authorities for finger printing purposes.
    If they have the ID/Hash and the algorithm that produced that, then it can be used by the authorities for "fingerprinting purposes" in that, they can given your finger, generate a match.

    Given the recent revelation by Snowden on the amount of snooping our governments actually do, why would anyone trust that data would only be used for the purpose which it was intended? If someone in a black hat walks into your school and wants the biometric data from 5 years ago and they have a court order, are you going to refuse?

    It is her data and good on her for taking control of it. The only way to control it is not to let other people have it in the first place. I always say to account managers IF I give them my main email address that it is only for their use and it should not go onto any CRM system and used to spam me. How often to people break that undertaking? Much, much more than they keep it.

  4. #19

    GREED's Avatar
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    So let's assume that the fingerprint is used in a cashless catering system ergo the food costs money. Given this is not a free meal, is the school legally obliged to offer it to every or any students (do they have to have a canteen?)... Therefore tell her to have packed lunch or go to the shop...

    Age old bandwagon jumping, what about when she wants a bank account but refuses to give her details... fine go find a bank that will give you an account for no information.

    Can she refuse to have fingerprints taken by the police on the same grounds?

  5. #20

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    I don't agree with some of the more paranoid "fingerprints in the system" stuff about this, but she's entitled to refuse. The obvious next step would be to simply bring a packed lunch.

  6. #21

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJonas View Post
    I believe it stores it as a very long unique number. This number cannot be turned back into a copy of the fingerprint nor can it be used by the authorities for finger printing purposes.
    Not really relevant, it can be used for identification. Eg. Police have a fingerprint, they use the same algorithm used to hash the prints in a school and run a match against the school database and get their match.

    No, they can't just hit print and get a picture, but there was a researcher a couple of years ago who showed a way to reverse a stored hash to an image. Not easy, but they managed it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Norphy View Post
    What system? They're in the school's MIS system. They're not in some global government system that "they" run. The NSA don't have them. GCHQ don't have them. My mate Dave from the market won't have them either. They're not in the police's criminal database. They're not anyway but in the school's IT system. Considering the state of government run IT, they're not going to go any further any time soon either.


    If a school holds biometric data, police and security services can get hold of that information silently, without the people in the database being notified. So, fine, its not some global government system, but the data is as good as accessible in that manner. Don't underestimate our police and security services desire for data, or our government's love for overreaching laws giving too much access.
    Last edited by localzuk; 12th February 2014 at 10:08 AM.

  7. Thanks to localzuk from:

    JJonas (12th February 2014)

  8. #22

    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Relevant to the on-going discussion (and you should all be familiar with it anyway, to be honest): http://media.education.gov.uk/assets...012%202012.pdf

    Of particular note:
    Reasonable alternative arrangements must be provided for pupils who do not use automated biometric recognition systems
    The alternative arrangements should ensure that pupils do not suffer any disadvantage or difficulty in accessing services/premises etc. as a result of their not participating in an automated biometric recognition system.
    The above is, in our system, a four digit number they can type in on the till and coin machine. Works just as well, no skin off my nose if they want to use that instead of a fingerprint.

    Schools and colleges must not process the biometric data of a pupil (under 18 years of age) where:
    a) the child (whether verbally or non-verbally) objects or refuses to participate in the processing of their biometric data;
    b) no parent has consented in writing to the processing; or
    c) a parent has objected in writing to such processing, even if another parent has given written consent.
    So she was well within her rights to refuse, whatever her grounds.

    From a school's point of view, all of the above is a right pain in the wotsit; I have no disagreement with the spirit of the law, but making it opt-out instead of opt-in would have saved a great deal of administrative work and postage costs. But no-one complains about the wasted money on that count, do they?

  9. #23
    Fazza's Avatar
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    To be honest it all depends on how good the schools IT Security is. We have a cashless catering system and you can either have your fingerprints taken, be issued a swipe card or bring in your own food and drink.

  10. #24
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    The answer to all of this is - having your prints taken by anyone other than the police is a choice, and that is your choice. If you choose to not allow it or allow it that's fine, it's your choice.

    Personally I did not allow either of my schools to take my prints, or any hash of them (back when all of this was 'cutting edge new'). I got funny looks from staff but it's my choice, and I made my choice. Did throw a spanner in their works as it was for registration of sixthform, and as soon as I said NO, alot of other people followed.

    GOOD ON HER I SAY!

  11. #25

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    This is a complete non story. Only highlighted due to her wearing a mask.

    Before we introduced biometrics we had a consultation period with parents. We arranged a number of information evenings and there was lots of information sent home.

    We only had 10 parents refuse for 10 students out of 1200. Our alternative option is a lookup at the till. If this girl had worn a mask at our school she wouldn't have got any food because staff would not have been able to recognise her from the photo that pops up on the screen and she would have got into trouble for wearing a non uniform item.

    It does seem the school did not consult or inform the parents correctly.
    We did take biometric data before the new regulations came in but then got retrospective permission. We removed any data where parents refused permission.

  12. Thanks to fiza from:

    aleach2 (12th February 2014)

  13. #26

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Thing is, I did have a fingerprinting system here for a while - but we found the young age of our kids caused it to malfunction somewhat (their fingers are just too darn small! Some didn't even make the light turn on in the readers!). So, I don't actually have anything against fingerprinting in schools. But at the same time, I don't like the little lies being used to justify their use.

    The data gathered can be accessed by the police. The data can be used to identify you (that's the point). The data is likely to not be deleted immediately due to processes used in schools (in my experience, it can be a couple of months after leaving if at the end of a year, or if in the middle of a year it would be the end of the year.

    The thing is, if we want to use this technology we need to promote it on its merits, not try to defend its flaws.

  14. #27

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    That's the "media" for you, doing their "best" to peddle the sort of carp the punters want to read.

    Refusing to give a fingerprint is entirely reasonable but in my view it is a real shame a 13 year old girl has to live with such paranoia in her head, as revealed in her interview.

  15. #28

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    It's quite simple - get the head to write to all parents stating that for the purposes of security of the students; all students will have their fingerprint (one of only) stored on the school's systems.... problem then goes away

  16. #29
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    cashless systems dont store the fingerprint

    they store a pattern made up from the fingerprint

    if they dont want it scanned they can be searched on the systems by name.

    not a big deal

  17. #30
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    I say good for her. She shouldn't have to submit her fingerprints for something that'll make it "easier on everyone" apparently. I don't get why they even bother with new technology anyway. It causes more drama than solving it, and it wasn't around when I was in school. People just need to relax themselves. Why spoonfeed life?



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