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Physical Security Thread, 13 year old refuses to store fingerprint data for canteen tills. in Technical; 13-year-old defies...
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    gwendes's Avatar
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    13 year old refuses to store fingerprint data for canteen tills.


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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    She has a vague point. I think the worst of it is down to the "big brother" fear and therefore an automatic assumption that said fingerprints will be sold onto X agencies, Y companies and Z third parties, when the reality is rarely any more than a fancy new cashless catering system or perhaps follow me printing designed to help both them and the school.
    It's not worth reading into too much. I think students/parents should be given a choice in the matter rather than having it enforced. Abuse of this sort of system is, I'm fairly certain, more likely than claims made about wireless signals giving you brain cancer.

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    Let her starve

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    Grey-gear's Avatar
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    So the news story is basically about a teenage being rebellious, like that's never happened before.

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    aleach2's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure it is now law to get explicit approval from parents when storing biometric data for minors. We had to get permission from all parents in the summer to store biometric data for our cashless catering system. We had around15-20%of our parents come back and say they wouldn't like the school to store biometric data on their children. Not a big deal, just gave them another way of paying for their meal (ID card). The only difference is that those children/parents didn't come to school in anonymous masks. Not sure why it is a story really.

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    Good for her.

    She is probably quite correct that the school will not delete the data as soon as she leaves. We are obliged to retain some data for 7 years and I'm sure many organisations don't sift that to only retain the absolute minimum. I was also under the impression that schools must seek parental permission and that students must be given a choice in relation to biometrics.

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    I didn't think biometrics store the fingerprint in a way that can be viewed, printed or reproduced? I think lack of understanding / education causes a lot of problems like this.

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    Fair enough. The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 gives her the right to verbally withdraw her consent at any time. The dinner lady shouldn't have tried to force her finger down - that's the one really stupid action here, probably due to a lack of training/communication - but all in all, it's not a big thing and shouldn't be blown up beyond what it is.

    A lot of people are ridiculously paranoid about this sort of thing - I read enough guff about it online when researching the PoF Act for our own biometrics system, and indeed a lot of the most hyperbolic nonsense was on Big Brother Watch - but people are entitled to their stupidity. If they want to imagine a great conspiracy where we as a school are in cahoots with GCHQ and are secretly fingerprinting everyone to track their movements for the rest of their lives, you'll not convince them otherwise. As it happens it is just the stated intent of "it makes things easier for us", but logic doesn't work in these situations.

    You sent the school a letter stating that you didnít consent, what was their reaction?
    "No reaction as of yet , though from what Melody tells me their general attitude is to down play the entire thing like it's no big deal and anyone who thinks otherwise is being dramatic or paranoid."
    Well, yes. You're being exactly that, and the school is playing it down because it isn't a big deal.

    There's also some worrying carte blanche support given to Anonymous by the girl, when a great deal of what they do isn't honourable or for the greater good - it's the nature of such a fragmented organisation, after all.
    Last edited by sonofsanta; 12th February 2014 at 08:24 AM.

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    hardtailstar's Avatar
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    Sounds like a bright kid causing trouble.

    The fact shes brought Anonymous into is why its made the news.

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    Galway's Avatar
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    She has a point.
    To be honest any school that sends a form home to get permissions for something has not thought it though correctly if 1 non signed form causes this to happen.
    I think the peoples trust in the safe storage and use of personal data and information will erode the willingness to freely give it. Soon your face walking down the street will be targeted to fire off targeted adverts as you walk past the local bakers. Safe in the knowledge there is a 60% chance you will buy a apple and cream turnover and a can of orange.

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    Quote Originally Posted by glen_j View Post
    I didn't think biometrics store the fingerprint in a way that can be viewed, printed or reproduced? I think lack of understanding / education causes a lot of problems like this.
    What does that matter? It stores a 'hash' which given the algorithm can be used to identify an individual (with some defined unreliability) given their finger.

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    Theblacksheep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glen_j View Post
    I didn't think biometrics store the fingerprint in a way that can be viewed, printed or reproduced? I think lack of understanding / education causes a lot of problems like this.
    It's not that hard to reverse it. I doubt the hashes are salted and some of the software used to do this, isnt the most up to date.

    She can now legally refuse even though her parents have given permission (which some don't bother with) and databases don't often get pruned. Schools need to move on from biometrics.
    Last edited by Theblacksheep; 12th February 2014 at 08:32 AM.

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    JJonas's Avatar
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    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.

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    She's totally within her rights to refuse and the school should not legally try to take fingerprints without explicit parental consent.

    However, her response is a little out of proportion. These biometric systems only store 3 or 4 preset points of a fingerprint. You could not take those points and use them to identify a fingerprint taken from, say, the scene of a crime - there's not enough data for it to be considered 100% accurate. Outside of the system it is used with, the fingerprint fragment stored is useless.

    So, fair enough she refused to provide prints but the Guy Fawkes/Anonymous thing is a little cringe-worthy when you take in to account how useless the data stored really is - the name, address, telephone contacts, medical details, attendance reports etc. that are returned to central government 3 times per year via census reveal a lot more about the girl.

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    To confirm from a point above - yes it is the law now that parents must opt into this type of system it has been for a year or two. But a student themselves can opt out at any point even if the parent has consented. Unsure if its a law but I believe you have to offer an alternative method should the parent or student opt out - say a pin number or a card etc.

    Sounds like the parents and students haven't really been educated on what happens when the scan is taken nor why the biometrics have been introduced. Some people take an instant dislike to this type of thing generally because of media hype, we cant change that, just educate in a hope people understand what you are trying to achieve and why.

    Also as @pcstru points out you can identify someone from the algorithm but no finger print or image of the print can be retrieved.

    Our biometric data is removed when the student has left and nor do we share the information with anyone (which we tell parents).

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