Monday, February 05, 2007


Looks like the company that sells fingerprinting machines for schools has been telling some porkies

The managing director of one of the firms supplying fingerprint scanners to British schools has vowed to come clean to parents about the arguments against the use of such biometric technology on children.

In an interview with The Register Alisdair Darrock, managing director of Softlink, a firm that sells fingerprint scanners to schools, said he would change his advice for parents so they can make an informed decision about whether they want the school to take their children's dabs.


"What we tell schools is under review at the moment," said Darrock. "Our letter - we don't make people aware of what the issues are. We might go some way to outline some of the issues. We should list the concerns and then address them."

The standard letter that Softlink sends to schools that buy its fingerprint scanners dismisses the "media speculation" about school fingerprinting and claims that its own devices "do NOT compromise individual freedoms."

It provides schools with a standard letter they can send to kids. It talks about the implementation of fingerprint scanners in the school library as though it were a done deal and makes a strong case for parents to accept it as such.

"We are planning on having biometric devices in the school library to the improve the service," it opens.

Though it does say parents have an "opportunity to decide not to be involved in the system", it does not help them understand why this unfamiliar technology has caused enough concern for other parents to launch campaigns against it. It does explain why parents should be as happy about having their children's fingerprints scanned into a database as the school head and governors are.

The real problem with such systems is of course that they will lead to the entire population, over time, being on the fingeprint database.


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