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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.
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    Friday, July 27, 2007

    Schools and biometric data

    The Times Online (July 24) had a brief news item:
    Pupils fingerprinted

    Schools will be able to fingerprint pupils for the dinner queue, library and registration, in accordance with data protection guidance issued yesterday. Jim Knight, the Schools Minister, said the move would clarify matters for head teachers. Parents will be able to exclude their children from the system.

    ... and Guidance on how the Data Protection Act 1998 applies to the use of biometric data in schools has been published by Becta, the Government's schools ICT agency. Crucially, Becta's press release states:
    It advises schools to fully involve parents in any decision to introduce biometric or fingerprint technology to run cashless lunch queues, school libraries and attendance systems.

    And the guidance underlines that headteachers and governing bodies should be clear and open with all parents and pupils about this and all aspects of their education.

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