Children's Digital Rights

"If I wanted to create a surveillance society, I would start by creating dossiers on kindergarten children so that the next generation could not comprehend a world without surveillance." - Andre Bacard, author of 'The Computer Privacy Handbook'

Personal information should stay personal.

Police will be able to request archived data from the children's database for a number of reasons, such as "the prevention or detection of crime" and "the prosecution of offenders". [1]

Children’s Databases

Children Act

The Children Act 2004 allows the details of every child in England and Wales to be placed on a Universal Child Database. That's approximately 12 million children. All children in England and Wales will be given a unique identity number at birth, and entered into a database where their personal files will record every "concern" that a professional has about them. It will also record "concerns" about their parents. The Bill allows this to happen without the knowledge or consent of children and parents. Police are to be given access to the Government’s new children’s database, in order to search for evidence of criminal activity.

Children Act 2004 centralised databases to cost £244 million to set up?

There are widespread fears about this massive centralised database, which, amongst other things will destroy the confidentiality of professional medical, social worker or legal advisors to Children.

There is no sign of any of the proposed safeguards that were promised.

Partly due to her backing of the Child Database, Privacy International awarded Margaret Hodge MP the 2004 Big Brother Award for "Worst Public Servant".

Children Bill to introduce surveillance of every child and record "concerns" about their parents The information-sharing goes far beyond concerns that a child is at risk of significant harm. It is the Government's intention that it should include youth offences, educational issues and medical information about each child. It will also include information about other family members that may be considered relevant, such as suspected drug and alcohol misuse or mental health problems.

Why Social Workers Oppose the Child Database The Children Act 2004 makes provision for a national child database which will contain records for every child under 18 and include contact details of parents/carers and education and health services involved with child. More alarmingly the database will also include information about the existence of any undefined 'cause for concern'. Social workers are being told that this database would help them identify children at risk and make it easier for them to keep families under surveillance. The truth is that the database is unnecessary, unworkable and uneconomic and the problems created by it would far outweigh the benefits. It is also a distraction from the real problems in children's services.

wikipedia: Universal Child Database

Integrated Children’s System

The ICS hold the records of every child who comes into contact with social services for any reason. This database will be able to communicate with many other databases containing children’s records.

The ICS Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights have issues with the ICS. They believe that the information-sharing powers contained in the new Children Act 2004 may breach the Human Rights Act.

The official ICS website.

DNA Database

Police files hold the DNA of more than 50,000 children who have committed no offence.


PLASC (Pupil Level Annual Schools Census) requires schools in England and Wales to supply information about all students.

Required All Schools Primary Secondary School-based Sixth Forms Special Schools
Unique Pupil Number (UPN) x x x x x
Name x x x x x
Gender x x x x x
Date of Birth x x x x x
Entry Date x x x x x
Part-time Indicator x x
Whether the child is solely or dually registered at the school x x
National Curriculum Year x x x x x
Nursery/Ordinary Class Indicator x
Whether the child is studying any A'level courses x
The number of A, AS or A2 subjects being studied x
The level of any GNVQs the child is studying x
The GNVQ precursors being studied x
The level of any NVQs the child is studying x
Other courses the child is studying x
SEN Stage x x x x x
Eligibility for Free School Meals x x x x x
Mother Tongue x x x x x
Ethnicity x x x x x
Source of Ethnicity Code x x x x x
Boarding Status x x x x x
Postcode x x x x x

Some head teachers and school governors think the annual school census amounts to an invasion of privacy.

This data is exempt from the Data Protection Act, which means that the consent of the pupil's parents, or the pupil if over 16, need not be sought.

"Isn't PLASC an invasion of pupils' privacy?" Official answer from teachernet

The submission of a PLASC return, including a set of named pupil records, is a statutory requirement on schools under section 537A of the Education Act 1996.
The reason for putting PLASC on a statutory basis is only partly to help ensure compliance by schools. It also means that schools do not need to obtain parental or pupil consent to the provision of information (which would be a major burden for them), and they are protected from any legal challenge that they are breaching a duty of confidence to pupils.

Why does the Department need named pupil records?

The Department has absolutely no interest in the identity of individual pupils as such.
However it does, for statistical purposes, need to be able to link together different pieces of information relating to the same pupil but collected at different times. For example information on pupils characteristics (such as their ethnic group or special educational needs) contained in the pupil records submitted for PLASC, which needs to be linked pupil by pupil with information collected separately on Key Stage assessment results in order to be to analyse the achievement levels of different ethnic and other groups.
The linking of pupil records across different data sets will be based in the first instance on UPNs. However UPNs alone are not sufficient there will be a significant minority of cases where UPNs are missing or inaccurate and it is necessary to have pupil names and dates of birth to fall back on to link pupil records in such cases.

The plan is to soon be able to obtain all this information automatically from the schools own databases without any teacher being involved.

The Secretary of State for Education confirmed in a written parliamentary answer in February 2001 that the DfES was planning to introduce a 'tracking' system for all children and young people.

ARCH has the full story here.

BBC Privacy fears over school census What is causing most alarm is the requirement to include pupils' full names, along with their home postcodes. The Department for Education says this information is needed only by technical staff and anything that is passed on to other agencies will be anonymous.


As ARCH points out “The ‘Connexions’ database has already introduced what is effectively a national identity scheme for teenagers. The implications for all citizens if it is maintained into adulthood are extremely worrying.”

"If you want information and advice designed just for you, or just someone to talk to, then Connexions has it all – and if you’re 16 why not sign up for an exclusive Connexions Card?" Connexions official web site

Organizationally, Connexions is undergoing transition.

Connexions is currently going through a process of transition. Following the publication of Every Child Matters and Youth Matters, children's trusts are being established in each local authority area and the funding that currently goes directly to each of the 47 Connexions partnerships will go directly to each of the 150 local authority areas by April 2008.

Every Child Matters - Strategy and Governance - Connexions

Every Child Matters has published some material about their information sharing index.


Ryogens (risk of youth offending generic solutions) is a profiling tool for identifying children who may at some time in the future break the law.

RYOGENS provides a checklist of the issues that should cause a professional to "flag" a child's record. These include, "frequently moving house", "non-constructive spare time/easily bored", "criminal area of residence", "negative home influence on education" and "Poor General Parenting Skills"

The full RYOGENS check list


The Integrated Children’s System will be able to access data held on the SureStart database.

Sure Start is a Government programme which aims to achieve better outcomes for children, parents and communities by:

  • increasing the availability of childcare for all children
  • improving health and emotional development for young children
  • supporting parents as parents and in their aspirations towards employment.

SureStart is a very good scheme where children have been recognised as a defined client group with specific needs. The problem is that now its database will be exposed to the Integrated Children’s System.

Listen to the bbc woman's hour on Sure Start

The first report on Sure Start is published today. It is the response to overwhelming evidence that the futures of most children are set by family circumstance long before primary school. Sure Start provides drop-in mother-and-toddler groups, parenting classes, health visitors, IT classes, childcare, speech therapy and so on.
Jenni is joined by Professor Ted Melhuish, Sociologist at the University of Kent Ellie Lee and journalist Polly Toynbee to discuss whether we now have evidence that the scheme has fatal flaws.

Guardian. Doubts over value of £3bn Sure Start

NHS Database

There will be a link between some of the information held in the NHS databases and The Integrated Children's System.

NHS electronic medical records "data spine" privacy and security worries Remember that the Common Law Duty of Confidentiality for professionals in a position of trust, with respect to the medical records of Children, has been destroyed by the passage of the Children Act 2004 Section 12 Information databases , which

(11) Regulations under subsection (5) may also provide that anything which may be done under regulations under subsection (6)(c) to (e) or (9) may be done notwithstanding any rule of common law which prohibits or restricts the disclosure of information.

Bolton kick-starts child database pilot Guardian, David Batty, 2003

The government's controversial plan to keep a file on every child in England has received a boost after an NHS trust reversed its decision to withhold information about local children from social services.
The board of Bolton primary care trust (PCT) decided last night that they had the statutory power to put the name, address, date of birth and gender of every child on its records onto a database accessible to other agencies.

From Wikipedia: wikipedia: National Programme for IT which is being delivered by the new Department of Health agency NHS Connecting for Health, is an initiative in the British National Health Service to connect England's 30,000 GPs to 300 hospitals, allowing access to all patient records by health professionals and patients. It is said to be the world's biggest civil information technology programme.

ID Card database


Good retorts

How do you answer when someone asks "does that mean you accept sacrificing children to abuse in order to preserve a little freedom for yourself?".

If it would save just one child, it must be worth it, right? Well, hundreds of children die on the roads every year, yet we do not ban motor vehicles; many children fall down flights of stairs and break their necks, yet we do not ban multi-storey buildings; and dozens of under-age drinkers are hospitalised every weekend, yet we do not ban alcohol.
If we did all these things, the results would be amazing: child casualty figures would drop through the floor. So why do we not? Surely, if it would save just one child…
Our society does NOT make protection of its members its first priority, to the exclusion of all others. It is a system of carefully balanced benefits and disadvantages. In the case of wholesale surveillance of the population, the benefits are massively outweighed by those disadvantages. That's why it's still a bad idea, even if children die who might have lived if they were being surveilled.
— Richard King to, 28 June 2006

Organisations and People Active On These Issues

Action on Rights for Children

ARCH has been dealing with all kinds of different issues that have a common theme: children’s independence and right to a private life. At the moment this is under attack from all sides. It’s easy to forget that children have a human right to privacy when the IT industry is so busy dreaming up ever more ways of tapping into the lucrative children’s market, and the Government uses the mantra of ‘child protection’ to promote its child-surveillance policies to the public.

ARCH list of Children’s Databases


Liberty has published a guide to the rights of children and young people.

The Children's Commissioner

Peter Clarke is the Children's Commissioner for Wales

Children's Commissioner for England

Education and Skills select committee

Education and Skills Committee parliamentary web page.

Heard evidence from Eileen Munro saying "At present, professionals only alert others without the family's consent when they have a concern about abuse or neglect. Extending the practice to include flags of concern about any aspect of a child's health or development will lead to a vast increase in the amount of data being shared. There is a real danger that concerns about significant harm will be overlooked in this mountain of data," January 2005

Joint Committee on Human Rights

See Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights report on ICS states that they have issues with the ICS. They believe that the information-sharing powers contained in the new Children Act 2004 may breach the Human Rights Act.

Children's Rights Alliance for England

CRAE is an alliance of over 360 voluntary and statutory organisations committed to children's human rights.


Barnardo’s concerns about the proposed database and Notes on the slides

Leave Them Kids Alone

Leave Them Kids Alone (LTKA) an organisation against schools fingerprinting children - a practice sometimes referred to as "Kiddyprinting". This is now taking place on a massive scale with an estimated 5000 schools taking prints, mostly without parents' consent, sometimes without their knowledge.

Quick list of people who has shown their concern on this issue.

Privacy International

Privacy International says schools fingerprinting children is illegal and breaches the human right to privacy.

London School of Economics

Information Commissioner

Information Commissioner memorandum expresses concerns over the Children Act 2004 section 12 Information databases

The Information Commissioner Richard Thomas has published an 11 page Memorandum to the Education and Skills Select Committee (.pdf) which criticises the Government's plans for a massive database on all children and their parents in the UK, under the controversial powers the Government granted to itself in the Children Act 2004 section 12 Information databases and section 29 Information databases: Wales, which destroys the Common Law duty of professional advisor / client confidentiality.

Commercial Service Providers

A list of companies providing services that impact on childrens rights, and a description of their role.

Forensic Software

Offer a tool [2] which, when installed on IT lab computers, monitors the screen for keywords. When detected a record is created including username, time, and a screenshot showing the context. Since the information checked does not need to be sent or stored incidents are actionable that would not otherwise be detected and in which it is difficult to identify any harm at all. This amounts to the regulation of thoughts by school staff.

Children are required to accept a click-through agreement waiving any right to privacy before applications can be used, therefore, children, presumably including those under 16, are effectively forced to agree to an additional legal document in order to take a full part in their legally mandated educations.

(The above was demonstrated at a trade fair by members of FS staff)



2009-08-03 - The Telegraph - ContactPoint database could put 11 million children at risk
Author: Heidi Blake
Summary: Every child in England could be at risk because of security failings in the Government’s controversial children’s database, experts have claimed. ContactPoint is designed to help protect England’s 11 million children by giving officials a single register of their names, ages and addresses as well as details of their schools, parents and GPs. But the database is riddled with security failings so serious that "even a child" could steal sensitive information from it, according to Overtis Systems, the data safety specialists. The £224m system has already been delayed three times over security fears, but 800 pilot workers are currently using it and 390,000 teachers, social workers and other professionals will have access by the end of the year.
2009-07-17 - Kable - Playing politics
Author: Mark Say
Summary: The Conservative party leadership has kicked the issue onto the political playing field over the past year, with attacks on the NHS National Programme for IT, the ContactPoint children's directory, the National Identity Scheme, and government procurement strategies. In some cases it has made accusations of mismanagement and wasting public money, but it has also picked up the protests of the privacy lobby with claims that the government has an excessive appetite for large databases and is collecting too much information on individuals.
2009-07-14 - Kable - Two factors for access
Author: Mark Say
Summary: The DCSF has begun the roll out of an authentication system that could become a cornerstone of public sector IT. People are becoming more familiar with the idea of two factor authentication. It is already being used by a number of staff in the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) for access to the departmental intranet, and will soon face a stiff test when the first staff to use the controversial ContactPoint database on children will be equipped with EAS tokens and passwords.
2009-07-13 - The Telegraph - Beware Labour's quest for a database state
Author: Philip Johnston
Summary: Here is a good idea. Instead of handing over personal information to the state, why don't we keep it and control it ourselves? Simple, eh? .... Damian Green, the Tory frontbencher ... has identified 28 state databases on which personal information is kept, from the obviously necessary, such as the PAYE collection system, to some that are impossible to justify, like ContactPoint, which will hold the details of everyone under the age of 18 in England. The Conservatives have promised to scrap or modify many of these if they win power; but they might find in office that the temptation to hang on to the data is too tempting.
2009-07-07 - The Telegraph - Database to track vulnerable children scrapped by Government
Author: Heidi Blake
Summary: Local authorities have spent the past four years implementing the Government's £72m Integrated Children's System (ICS) amid threats that critical funding would be cut if they did not comply. But the system, described by staff as "an unworkable monster", generated stacks of paperwork 6ins thick for every child, had no way of tracking the siblings of abused children, and absorbed up to 80 per cent of social workers' time. In response to a damning assessment of ICS by a group of Government-appointed experts, Baroness Morgan, the children's minister, has written to councils telling them they can abandon the controversial record-keeping system. She has left the responsibility for its replacement in their hands.
2009-06-09 - Kable - DCSF launches ContactPoint access tokens
Summary: The Department for Children Schools and Families has begun to roll out the authentication process for access to the ContactPoint database. Under the EAS, staff with approved access to ContactPoint will be issued with a token, smaller than a credit card, on which they can type in their personal identification numbers. It will then generate a code on an LCD display which they can use one time for access to the database through an authorised computer. The extent of access depends on what has been approved for the individual. ContactPoint will provide details of contact with the state for every child in England. It has attracted intense criticism from privacy campaigners, but the DCSF has said the EAS provides a robust method of authentication which will protect the system from abuse.
2009-05-22 - The Telegraph - Life under Labour: the worst of worlds
Author: Philip Johnston
Summary: ... Our children are all to have their details placed on a database known as ContactPoint because one appalling set of relatives killed a little girl who should have been watched by social services. For the failings of the system, all children have to be considered potentially "at risk". In addition, we are all to be considered potential suspects in a crime, too. Why else would the government want us to be on an identity register, other than to know where we are all the time? And why should it? I have nothing to hide and I have nothing to fear but I fail to see why that means I should be on a state ID database.
2009-05-18 - Kable - ContactPoint opens to first users
Summary: Some 800 people have been given access to the ContactPoint online directory of contact information about children and those working with them. Staff including social workers, health professionals and head teachers will start using the system this week. They work for 17 local authorities in the north west of England, and for two charities, Barnardo's and KIDS. Built by Capgemini, ContactPoint was due to go live in 2008. The government delayed the project, however, after a review by auditors Deloitte Touche raised concerns about the safety of personal data on government databases. The Conservative Party is set to close or greatly reduce the coverage of the system if it wins the next election.
2009-05-12 - The Telegraph - Child protection database to be launched
Author: Graeme Paton
Summary: A controversial database featuring the details of every child in England will be officially launched next week, despite lingering concerns over safety. The Government said the ContactPoint system would be used by 800 social workers, head teachers and health officials. It is the first time staff will have open access to the network which contains information about children's schools, parents and GPs. The move comes even though the system - covering 11 million under-18s - has already been delayed three times because of faults. Contactpoint has also been described as "almost certainly illegal by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, a civil liberties group, following privacy and security concerns.
2009-03-23 - The Telegraph - Controversial ContactPoint database delayed again amid new security fears
Summary: ContactPoint is meant to help protect England's 11 million children by giving council officers, health care professionals and police a single register of their names, ages and addresses as well as information on their schools, parents and GPs. But its planned launch has been put on hold once again after local authority staff discovered loopholes in the system designed to hide personal details of the most vulnerable young people – meaning that adopted children or those fleeing abusive homes could be tracked down. This is the third time that the £224million computer index has been delayed, prompting fresh calls for it to be scrapped.
2009-03-16 - Kable - Laming says IT obstructs children protection
Summary: A new report by Lord Laming says that progress of the Integrated Children's System project is being hampered by current technology. Child protection specialists who gave evidence to Lord Laming said that an over-complicated, lengthy and tick-box assessment and recording system is making it more difficult for them to exercise professional judgement about cases. The report says that although practitioners and managers are committed to using new technology and have no desire to return to paper-based case management, there is a wide variation in the time it takes staff to put data into their Integrated Children's System (ICS).
2009-03-12 - Kable - DCSF hikes ContactPoint's annual cost
Summary: The government has revealed that the ContactPoint children's directory will cost just under £44m a year to run, £3m more than previously stated. Children's minister Beverly Hughes provided the figures in a parliamentary written answer on 9 March 2009. "Most will go directly to local authorities to fund staff to ensure the ongoing running, maintenance, operation and security of ContactPoint," she wrote in answer to a question from Conservative shadow justice minister Eleanor Laing.
2009-01-27 - The Times - Vast databases 'no longer the answer to social work failures'
Author: Rosemary Bennett
Summary: Much has changed since ministers first thought it would be a good idea to keep sensitive details on millions of children in one place. That followed the death, in 2000, of little Victoria Climbié, who might have been saved had key professionals passed their concerns about abuse to one another. No piece of evidence had been in enough in itself to sound the alarm; taken together they would have built a compelling case for the child to have been removed from harm. But big databases are now distinctly out of fashion. The loss of many big data sets has destroyed public confidence that vast amounts of information should be held together. Five million child benefit records, unencrypted data sticks containing details of 84,000 prisoners and information on three million learner drivers have all disappeared in the past two years. There are simply too many doubts about security for the public to have faith in this ContactPoint project, despite government assurances about PINs and passwords. That is not all that has changed. Voters are questioning why all this information is needed in the first place.
2009-01-26 - BBC - 390,000 to access child database
Summary: A child protection database containing the contact details for all under 18-year-olds in England will be accessible to 390,000 staff, say ministers. The ContactPoint database is intended to improve information sharing between professionals working with children. Children's Minister Baroness Morgan said parents would not be allowed to remove their children from the list. The Conservatives attacked the £224m database as "another expensive data disaster waiting to happen". The Liberal Democrats have also previously opposed what they called an "intrusive and expensive project".
2009-01-26 - The Register - opens up delayed child protection database
Author: Chris Williams
Summary: The government said it had today finally begun training local authority officials to run the new ContactPoint database, which will contain personal information all 11m children in England and Wales, after months of delays and political controversy. About 300 council workers will learn how to adminster the database, and will be responsible for the quality of the information it contains, officials said. From spring, people who work with children in 19 "early adopter" organisations* will be trained as the first ContactPoint users. ContactPoint should be fully available nationwide early next year, a spokeswoman added
2009-01-26 - The Guardian - New children's database faces criticism
Author: Jessica Shepherd
Summary: Doctors, social workers and police can look up details on every child in England on a controversial database from today. The £224m directory, called ContactPoint, holds the name, address, date of birth, GP and school of all under-18s, and is aimed at helping professionals reach children they suspect are at risk. ... it has attracted controversy from the outset, with civil liberties groups, children's campaigners and the Information Commissioner concerned about its scope and role.
2009-01-26 - Kable - Government starts ContactPoint pilots and training
Summary: 17 local authorities in the North West and two national voluntary sector organisations, Barnardo's and KIDS, will begin intensive pilots of ContactPoint. ... An incoming Conservative government would replace the comprehensive ContactPoint system with one covering only those considered to be vulnerable. The Conservative Party said this would cost "substantially less". A House of Lords select committee warned in July 2008 that "the enormous size of the database and the huge number of probable users inevitably increase the risks of accidental or inadvertent breaches of security, and of deliberate misuse of the data… which would be likely to bring the whole scheme into disrepute".


2008-12-29 - Daily Mail - Big Brother CCTV to spy on pupils aged four - complete with CPS evidence kit
Author: Jason Lewis
Summary: Schools have installed CCTV cameras and microphones in classrooms to watch and listen to pupils as young as four. The Big Brother-style surveillance is being marketed as a way to identify pupils disrupting lessons when teachers' backs are turned. ... Classwatch is set to face further scrutiny over the role of Shadow Children's Minister Tim Loughton, the firm's £30,000-a-year chairman. ... Last night, Tory frontbencher Mr Loughton insisted there was no conflict between his political role and part-time job. He said: "I am not the Shadow Minister for Schools, I am the Shadow Minister for Children. I don't speak on school security." He declares his involvement with the firm on the MPs' register of interests and added: "I have never sought to advocate this. I went through this very carefully before I got involved in it and it doesn’t conflict with anything I do."
2008-11-29 - Biometrics in schools - Biometric systems 100% safe?
Author: Pippa King
Summary: As far as BECTA carrying out rigorous research on biometric systems in schools - they simply haven't. Their advice given July 2007 was given with no research into these systems whatsoever, I know that as a fact as the Freedom of Information Act was used to see what research they had done - zilch. So for all you Head Teachers out there thinking that BECTA know about these systems, think again.
2008-11-21 - The Register - DCSF reins in ContactPoint scope for police and A&E staff
Author: John Ozimek
Summary: The Department for Children, Schools and Families is resisting broadening access to the ContactPoint database for police officers and A&E staff, two groups most people would consider to be the frontline of spotting child abuse. Staff from the department admitted that this was for politcal expediency rather that to prevent overly wide access to the controversial database.
2008-11-19 - The Guardian - The fear of children
Author: Henry Porter
Summary: The government has a near complete contempt for children’s rights and privacy. How else are we to explain the access to be granted to a million people to the children’s database ContactPoint, which launches in January, or the 1 million children now on the Police National DNA database.
2008-11-19 - Kable - Child protection overshadowed by computer system
Summary: University research has found that social workers typically spend more than 10 hours to complete initial assessments on the Integrated Children's System. ICS, launched in 2005 following the death of Victoria Climbié, was intended to improve the handling of child abuse cases. But it has led to social workers having to spend more than 100 hours for every case filling out forms, cutting the time they have to make visits, reports The Guardian. A "core assessment" takes a further 48 hours on average, according to government commissioned research by York University. ICS, which cost £30m to implement, creates deadlines that further restrict the time available for family visits.
2008-11-17 - The Telegraph - More than one million added to the DNA database as children
Author: Christopher Hope
Summary: Campaigners said the revelations showed how children are being criminalised and treated as "suspects for life". Official figures show that, since the DNA database was created, 1.07million profiles of children have been added. This is nearly a quarter of the 4.4million profiles on the database. Anyone who comes into contact with the police, as an offender or a witness, can have a DNA sample taken for the database. Ministers and the police say the database is a vital tool in solving crimes, and has helped detectives crack major cases including murder and rape. A breakdown of the figures shows that the profiles of more 100,000 children had their DNA taken when they were under 13, and the profiles of more than half a million children were added to the database when they were aged between 13 and 15. In the past three years, 48,500 children under-13 and 204,666 children aged between 13 and 15 were added.
2008-10-13 - Liverpool Echo - No thumbs-up over school fingerprints
Summary: A meeting of the full council will be asked to express its formal "opposition to the fingerprinting of childrenŠby schools" and a ban on any local authority-led promotion of its use save for a criminal investigation. Picton ward councillor Andrew Makinson who is behind the motion said the £20,000 average cost of installing it could be better spent on school staff. He said government mishaps with personal information was proof all systems were vulnerable. Council leader Warren Bradley stressed it had always been down to individual schools to adopt the technology. He added: "It would be wrong to implement a policy and support something which could potentially be of detriment to the protection of our children."
2008-10-08 - Kable - Tories plan streamlined children's database
Summary: An incoming Conservative government would replace the ContactPoint database of all children in England with a system covering only those seen as vulnerable. Its central system would cover only groups such as those in care, on the child protection register or with backgrounds of domestic violence, according to Tim Loughton, the shadow minister for children and young people.
2008-09-29 - The Register - Byron Review's internet enforcer goes into action
Author: John Oates
Summary: The UK government is today launching the UK Council for Child Internet Safety with support from BT, Microsoft, Facebook and over 100 other organisations and companies. The talking shop will deliver a "Child Internet Safety Strategy" to the Prime Minister early next year. It will also work to improve public awareness of issues surrounding child safety online, and promote responsible online advertising to children.
2008-09-28 - The Telegraph - Conservatives would scrap controversial ContactPoint child database
Author: Andrew Pierce
Summary: The £224 million ContactPoint database, which has been delayed twice because of security issues, will include the names, ages and addresses of all 11 million under 18s and detailed information on their parents, GPs, and schools. The Conservatives fear that the database, which will be accessed by 330,000 people working in education, health, social care, youth justice, and the voluntary sector will be exploited by paedophiles. They also believe that there is a real danger of sensitive data being mislaid or lost. ... A report by Deloitte and Touche on the database was not released by the government despite calls from the Tories and Lib Dems., Only the executive summary was released which admitted that "risk can only be managed , not eliminated, and therefore there will always be a risk of data security incidents occurring".
2008-09-16 - Computing - For the children's sake
Author: Janie Davies
Summary: With the latest deadline for vital enhancements to the Integrated Children’s System looming, Computing asks whether the troubled project, which aims to enhance protection for vulnerable children, is finally on the right track ... In 2007, a deadline for the first set of system enhancements was met by only 58 out of the 150 councils in England and Wales with social care responsibilities. ... A second deadline of 31 March 2008 passed, with 90 councils failing to implement the fundamental phase 1B requirements of the ICS project, such as ensuring that assessments are not made until the child has been seen. Suppliers were blamed for failing to deliver the necessary software in time. A new 30 September deadline was introduced, and councils that fail to meet that target face having to return unused funding to the government and surrender the capital assets already purchased with the funding. ... A survey of users examining the practical elements of ICS by the University of York concluded: "Our evaluation raises serious reservations about the design and use of ICS and we believe that ICS has yet to demonstrate the degree to which and how it is fit for purpose." And it is widely felt that managers are not listening to users' concerns.
2008-09-12 - Computing - PA Consulting keeps children's database contract
Author: Janie Davies
Summary: The consulting firm responsible for the loss of personal details on 84,000 prisoners will continue to work on the children's database, sparking fresh concerns about the controversial project. PA Consulting was recently dismissed by the Home Office after losing a memory stick containing information on all prisoners in the UK. The ContactPoint children's database was delayed last year following a separate incident, in which discs containing information on 25 million families were lost. ... "Serious concerns have already been raised about the security of the database," David Laws, Liberal Democrat Shadow Children, Schools and Families Secretary, told "The revelation that PA Consulting Group is also involved will do nothing to reassure parents that their children's personal details will be secure. This intrusive and costly project must now be scrapped altogether."
2008-08-27 - e Health Insider - Police to get access to national child database
Summary: Police are to be given access to the Government’s new children’s database, in order to search for evidence of criminal activity. The Government confirmed last night that police would be able to apply for access to the system, which was originally conceived as a means to help protect every child in England from the risk of harm or abuse. However, in a move likely to dismay privacy campaigners, police will be able to request archived data for a number of reasons, such as "the prevention or detection of crime" and "the prosecution of offenders"
2008-06-04 - The Clitheroe Advertiser - Biometric ID introduced at Bowland High School
Summary: Ribble Valley school headteacher Mr Stephen Cox said "Although biometric identification has been used in schools for library use for a number of years, we are one of the first schools in Lancashire to embrace the technology for use in paying for school meals, while it is early days the pupils have embraced the technology and we are hoping it will enhance their lunchtime experience by speeding up service."
2008-05-12 - Journal Live - £15,000 system to beat dinner money bullies
Author: Jule Wilson
Summary: A North Tyneside school is spending £15,000 on the latest fingerprinting technology to curb bullying at lunchtime. Every child attending Churchill Community College in Howdon, has had their thumb prints scanned ahead of the launch of the new cashless payment system after the half-term break.The biometric system is designed to reduce bullying in schools and any potential stigma suffered by those receiving free school meals.
2008-05-12 - Bex Hill Observer - New William Parker head roars into action
Author: Sandra Daniels
Summary: Biometric fingerprints will be used by both pupils and staff to pay for everything from school dinners to theatre trips. "We will be the first school in the town to be a cashless college," said John. "All our catering and anything that parents have to pay for will be paid for from online student accounts."
2008-05-11 - Denbighshire Free Press - AM criticises fingerprint plan for pupils
Summary: The AM for the Vale of Clwyd has slammed Denbighshire County Council's plans to fingerprint children at Ysgol Glan Clwyd. Denbighshire Catering Services has installed a biometric cashless system into canteens at the St Asaph school, which will go live on May 15. But AM Ann Jones says she has been approached by a worried parent of a pupil at Ysgol Glan Clwyd and is very concerned about the scheme. "I believe that it is wholly wrong for the privacy of our children to be intruded in this way," said Ms Jones.
2008-05-09 - Times Educational Supplement - Council accused of 'Big Brother' tactics over use of fingerprint technology in schools
Author: Nicola Porter
Summary: A row over fingerprinting pupils using the latest biometric technology has erupted in Denbighshire. Pupils at Blessed Edward Jones in Rhyl, the former school of TV presenter Carol Vorderman, are among the first in the Welsh county to use the system, which confirms payment for school lunches with fingerprints instead of cash. But education officials are being accused by campaigners of using Big Brother tactics. They say the system was brought in without sufficient consultation with parents
2008-05-08 - Keighley News - Parents' shock as school takes thumb scans
Author: Miran Rahman
Summary: A system which scans children's thumbprints to allow them to take out and return library books is at the centre of a row between parents and a school. Mums and dads of children - aged between five and ten - at Long Lee Primary School claim they never gave their consent to their children's left thumbs being scanned. They have demanded any data obtained in this way is removed from the school's computer.
2008-04-25 - Flintshire Standard - Fingerprint system on the menu for school canteens
Author: Laura Hughes
Summary: Two schools in Llangollen are introducing biometric cashless system, which involves using pupils' fingerprints in the school canteen instead of money. The system is due to go live at Ysgol Glan Clwyd in St Asaph on May 15 and the council will be rolling it out at other schools, including Llangollen's Ysgol Dinas Bran, as and when their current systems need updating. The council said headteachers, parents and governors of both schools were fully informed and consulted before the introduction and are supportive of the scheme. But parents of some pupils at the schools have voiced concerns about their children's fingerprints being taken, including Sophie McKeand of Mold, who is seeking talks with Flintshire Council after refusing to let her two children have their prints recorded at Mold Alun High School.
2008-04-09 - The Register - UK child database is 'not fit for purpose'
Author: John Oates
Summary: The government is pressing ahead with its "Integrated Children's System" despite a review of four pilot projects which call into doubt the database's design and its benefits - if any - for care workers. The ICS review was carried out by two academics from the University of York and nine researchers. They examined progress in two local authorities in England and two in Wales. The review of the database - which will include entries on any child with serious illness, disability or contact with social services - only came to light as the result of a Freedom of Information request by Action on Rights for Children.
2008-04-07 - Kable - LibDems protest over children's DNA
Summary: Under 18s now account for one in four people added to the National DNA Database. Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Jenny Willott released the figures, obtained from a parliamentary question, with the claim that the government is dragging children into the criminal justice system. They show that between October 2007 and January 2008 25% of those added were 18 or younger, compared with less than 11% of those already on the database. Willott said that under 18s are being added at the rate of 5,000 per month. "There is something horribly Big Brotherish about a society that is adding over 5,000 kids a month to a DNA database when they're not even old enough to get a National Insurance Number," she said.
2008-03-18 - The Telegraph - CCTV in class spies on teachers, says union
Author: Graeme Paton
Summary: Schools are becoming "Orwellian" societies where CCTV cameras in classrooms monitor pupil behaviour and staff performance, teachers will warn today. Schools are believed to have first installed classroom CCTV four years ago They are relying on "Big Brother-style" tactics to crack down on assaults on staff and fellow children, it is claimed. Many of the Government's semi-independent academies have installed cameras and two-way mirrors to let senior staff monitor pupils, they say. But the 160,000-strong Association of Teachers and Lecturers fears that the systems are being used by heads to monitor staff performance, putting teachers' ability to work independently at risk.
2008-02-24 - The Observer - MPs must thwart the dark plans of the state
Author: Henry Porter
Summary: Parliament has never been less vigilant about the many measures to increase Home Office power. In the name of the great democrats of the past, act now. ... If you want to know how Britain will be in 20 years' time, the best place to look is the legislation affecting children. An excellent report produced by, among others, Action on Rights for Children, Liberty, the Open Rights Group and No2ID, paints a horrific picture of the intensive surveillance of our children who are being conditioned to tolerate the collection of biometric data (fingerprints for library use) and the endless attention of these faceless monitors.
2008-02-21 - NO2ID - Government tries to ignore security risk to millions of families
Summary: A report commissioned by the government following the HMRC Child Benefit data breach last year confirms that the ContactPoint database, intended to contain the details of every child and parent in the country, can never be made secure. This confirms objections that NO2ID and other campaigners have been pressing since the passing of the Children Act 2004. The report by Deloitte and Touche, of which a summary was published this afternoon, says: "It should be noted that risk can only be managed, not eliminated, and therefore there will always be a risk of data security incidents occurring." The government has refused to publish the full report, 'for security reasons'. In essence it is trying to ignore the problem. It appears from the Executive Summary that has been published that Deloitte confirms some of the issues identified by campaigners well before the legislation had been passed. Phil Booth, NO2ID’s national coordinator, said: "If the report identifies problems in ContactPoint, then the government should face up to them – not try to keep them secret. Ministers can no longer say, "You’ll just have to trust us". We know we can't." "If the governmen's own report says no system accessible by over 300,000 people can ever be made secure, the answer is not to ignore it and hope everyone forgets. What will they do when - not if - the system is abused? Hide that too?" "ContactPoint is just one more case where official face-saving trumps the basic rights of the general public. Behind the cosy slogan, 'every child matters' seems to mean putting every child equally at risk. If the government cared about more than sloganising, it would scrap the whole scheme immediately."
2008-02-22 - The Telegraph - Child database 'will never be fully secure'
Summary: Ministers faced calls to scrap a controversial database containing the personal details of every child in England yesterday after warnings that it would never be completely secure. An independent report called for tighter security to be put in place for the £224?million ContactPoint system, which is due to be introduced later this year. Ministers asked the consultants Deloitte to review arrangements for the database after the lost computer discs scandal at HM Revenue and Customs last November. MPs called on the Government to release the report in full after ministers decided to publish no more than a five-page summary for security reasons.
2008-02-13 - The Register - Government wants every English child on 'secure' database
Author: John Oates
Summary: The government will announce plans tomorrow to give every English child an identifying number and a database entry of their school qualifications. The idea, if that's not too strong a word, is that the database will include a mini-CV which employers will be able to check.
2008-02-13 - BBC - Anger over pupils database plan
Summary: The government is being urged to scrap a database of all pupils' school records amid data security fears. Every 14-year-old in England will have their exam results and personal details held on a central database. Officials insist the system is secure but critics say the government can not be trusted with personal data. Anti-ID card campaigners also claim will be used as a step towards introducing identity cards, although this is denied by officials.
2008-02-07 - The Mirror - PM Gordon Brown gives the OK for some phone tap evidence
Summary: ... But he was accused of creating a "snooper state" after it was revealed 5,000 schools fingerprint children for ID checks in canteens and libraries. Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg claimed Britain is now the world's "most spied upon" country.
2008-01-31 - Evening Leader - Mum's outrage at fingerprints for school dinners scheme
Author: Amy Illingworth
Summary: A mother is setting up a parents' action group because she says she is "shocked and outraged" that children's fingerprints are being scanned when buying their school meals. "I strongly disagree with ID cards and feel this is the perfect way to institutionalise our children and get them to accept this level of monitoring from an early age. They will not then complain about ID cards when they reach adulthood." "To have such important and sensitive biometric data being taken from children for a matter as trivial as buying lunch is absolutely absurd."
2008-01-23 - the Inquirer - Children are human beings too
Author: Wendy M Grossman
Summary: Any time politicians want to justify an unpopular policy these days they invoke child safety: anti-terrorism laws, the ID card, speed cameras, GPS tracking, Internet censorship. Terri Dowty also wants to protect children in this high-tech era, but in a different way: "Children are the crash-test dummies for so much new technology, particularly where databases are concerned," she says.
2008-01-13 - Red Pepper - Generation ID : lessons in kiddyprinting
Author: Tamanna Kalhar
Summary: Thousands of children across the UK have had their fingerprints and DNA taken without explicit informed parental consent. Tamanna Kalhar speaks to Terri Dowty of Action on Rights for Children. The innocuous term ‘kiddyprinting’ refers to the controversial practice of routinely fingerprinting schoolchildren. Many parents are unaware of it because they have not been asked for their explicit consent, or in many cases even notified that it is taking place.
2008-01-11 - Daily Mail - Row as school takes pupils' fingerprints before they can have their dinner
Summary: A row has erupted as it emerged that pupils' fingerprints are being scanned before they buy dinner in a new "cashless" catering system at two schools. A headteacher at one of the schools in Suffolk insisted the controversial new practice was not an infringement of the kids' civil liberties. But the pressure group Action on Rights for Children (Arch) accused teachers of being unwise to encourage children to allow fingerprints to be taken for such an everyday activity.


2007-12-27 - The Guardian - Primary school pupils' personal data 'at risk'
Summary: Personal details of 2 million primary schoolchildren in England are being put at risk by staff taking home unprotected data. A survey of almost 1,000 primary schools found that 49% were backing up pupil data on to discs, memory sticks or tapes which were taken off the school premises, exposing the material to loss or theft. IT experts RM School Management Solutions, which carried out the survey, said that only 1% of respondents encrypted the data. A further 4% of schools were leaving sensitive and unprotected data at unsecured locations on the school premises.
2007-12-19 - The Guardian - This spate of crises speaks of a bloated, broken Whitehall
Author: Simon Jenkins
Summary: With costs on the ID card and NHS computer projects accelerating beyond the power of audit, there is no sign of improvement. In areas such as child support, doctor recruitment, defence coordination, illegal immigration and farm subsidies, not millions but billions of pounds are being wasted. Next year the senseless ContactPoint computer of all child records will go online, costing £40m a year just to operate. It is a racing certainty that this project will collapse from over-complexity and insecurity.
2007-12-07 - The Guardian - In the age of leaky data, there is no such thing as a secure online computer
Author: Simon Jenkins
Summary: The groups most eagerly awaiting the government’s ID computer are criminals and terrorists. The home secretary, Jacqui Smith, will supply them with detailed, supposedly confidential identification, including digitised biometrics, of every British citizen and visitor passing through immigration. …NHS hackers will be able to offer employers and insurance agents any patient’s full medical records. The government’s ContactPoint child database is about to go online at an annual cost of £41m. It will identify and locate all Britain’s 11 million children under 18, including those of celebrities. No opting out will be allowed and the base will be legally accessible to 330,000 officials - which means to everyone.
2007-11-28 - Ideal Goverment - ContactPoint: the basics and the basic questions
Author: William Heath
Summary: They announced a security review of ContactPoint yesterday but the LibDems are asking for a review of whether ContactPoint is fit for purpose, and that’s surely the deeper question. The security review announcement was already planned before the HMRC debacle, I’m told. The Minister referred to HMRC in his statement to da House but the media suggestion it is a reaction to the lost CDs is misleading.
2007-11-28 - The Register - UK database of children delayed
Author: John Oates
Summary: The UK's proposed child database has been delayed after "feedback from stakeholders" and not obviously in response to the government's loss of the UK's child benefit database on two CDs. ContactPoint will contain details on every child in the UK including name, address, gender and a unique identifying number. The database will contain information on every organisation involved with the child.
2007-11-27 - Channel 4 News - Child database delayed for review
Summary: Ministers are revising their plans for a controversial database containing personal details of every child in the country, the Government announced. The £224 million ContactPoint database will be delayed by five months while a security review takes place and changes are made to the system.
2007-11-27 - Liberal Democrat press release - Review should ask whether child database is fit for purpose
Author: Annette Brooke MP
Summary: The Liberal Democrats have called for a security review of the ContactPoint database, announced today, to be expanded to investigate whether the entire project is ‘fit for purpose’. On Monday, the Liberal Democrats called for a review of the security of the controversial online database that will hold personal details of every child in the UK. Commenting, Liberal Democrat Children, Schools and Families Spokesperson, Annette Brooke MP said "It is a shame that it has taken the disastrous loss of HMRC data to convince ministers to reconsider this vast database." "The announced review of security should be expanded to ask whether ContactPoint will actually help to coordinate children services better rather than creating another expensive bureaucratic mess." "The ease with which local government employees can access personal details of any child in the country is only one reason why this database simply isn’t fit for purpose."
2007-11-27 - Action on Rights for Children - Contactpoint delayed
Summary: This has to be one of the most successful pieces of spin ever devised: even when the government makes perfectly clear what some of us have been saying all along, journalists keep right on parroting the original mantra.
2007-11-27 - BBC - Child database system postponed
Summary: Children's minister Kevin Brennan told MPs there would be a five-month delay to the £224m system, ContactPoint. The security review was ordered after the loss of child benefit discs. ... Shadow Children’s Minister Maria Miller said: "The government should also use this opportunity to see whether it really is necessary to have a database for every single child in the country, accessible to 330,000 people, given the significant amount of concern that this could overload the system and lead to a dumbing down of information." "We have always supported, as an alternative, a slimmed-down tightly controlled database which focuses on those genuinely vulnerable children."
2007-11-26 - The Register - Gov pushes token security line on child database
Author: Joe Fay
Summary: The government is bending over backwards to try and calm fears that a new database of every child in the country will inevitably go the way of HMRC's child benefit database when it goes live next year. ContactPoint will feature name, address, gender, date of birth, and a unique number for every child in the country, as well as basic identifying information about parents or carers. It will also feature details, including school and doctor, of all organisations "involved" with the child. The planned database has already sparked concern, both that it will amount to a national ID registry in training, and that it will provide malefactors with unparalleled access to details on children, particularly the most vulnerable. In the wake of the HMRC debacle, the LibDems have called for the database to be encrypted.
2007-11-26 - The Independent - Child database plan under attack following missing discs debacle
Author: Colin Brown
Summary: A review of security has been ordered over Government plans to put the personal details of 11 million schoolchildren on to a database. The move comes in the wake of the HM Revenue and Customs missing discs debacle. Information about every child's name, address, their parents or guardians as well as contact details for each government service they use, including which GP they go to, are to be held on a £224m database called ContactPoint planned for the new year. The information is to be made available to 330,000 government workers on the internet and only a two-part security authentication will be needed to access the data. Parents' groups have protested against putting their children on the database, fearing it could be dangerous. But the loss of the personal details of 25 million people receiving child benefit prompted fresh demands from parents for a rethink of the entire scheme.
2007-11-26 - Liberal Democrat press release - New multi-million pound database puts children at further risk
Author: Annette Brooke MP
Summary: The Liberal Democrats have called for a review of the security of a new database containing the details of every child in the country. Information about every child’s name, address, their parents or guardians, as well as contact details for each government service they use, will be on the ContactPoint database, available online, by next year. The security of the database has come under fresh scrutiny following the loss of details of child benefit recipients by HMRC. Commenting, Liberal Democrat Children, Families and Young People Spokesperson, Annette Brooke MP said "The Government has proven itself not to be trusted with large databases containing personal details." "The failure of security procedures by HMRC has left millions of parents extremely worried and raises questions about the safety of other records stored by the Government." "Ministers must urgently review the security of the ContactPoint database as its highly sensitive information could be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands." "The Government has said that extra unspecified safeguards will be put in place for children of celebrities but why shouldn’t everyone enjoy this privilege?" "There could be more than financial costs if the addresses of vulnerable children from a family separated because of domestic violence, for example, are not kept secure."
2007-11-24 - The Times - Child database under threat after security fiasco
Summary: Tim Loughton, Shadow Children’s Minister, has written to the Children’s Minister Beverley Hughes asking her to put the whole project on ice, amid fears about the security of the information. "After the Revenue and Customs fiasco this week, there are question marks over whether the security around ContactPoint is watertight,"
2007-11-24 - The Action on Rights for Children - Security assessment of Contactpoint
Summary: Come on, get with the programme. Even the government has stopped pretending this is about Victoria Climbie. ... A child identified as at risk of significant harm will, of course, already have been referred immediately to social workers, as per the government’s ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children' guidance. I've just tracked down a briefing I prepared on the early plans for Contactpoint, back in 2003 when I did some work for the Children’s Rights Alliance for England. ... It's been a long four years. At some point my hair turned grey.
2007-11-23 - Kim Cameron's Identity Blog - Childrens' birthdates, addresses and names revealed
Author: Kim Cameron
Summary: Last year Terri Dowty co-authored a report for the British Information Commissioner which highlighted the risks to children’s safety of the government's policy of creating large, centralised databases containing sensitive information about children. But he says the government chose to dismiss the concerns of the report’s authors. Dowty’s experience is a clear instance of my thesis that reduction of identity leakage is still not considered to be a "must-have" rather than a "nice-to-have".
2007-11-23 - The Guardian - Security checks for new child database
Summary: An independent security check is to be carried out on a Whitehall database carrying details of every child in England after the loss of discs holding personal data on 25 million people, it was revealed today. The children's secretary, Ed Balls, ordered an external assessment of the ContactPoint system on Tuesday, as the loss of child benefit data by HM Revenue and Customs was made public.
2007-11-21 - Kable - Children fear ContactPoint abuse
Summary: Children and young people have expressed fears that the ContactPoint database will not be secure and could be targeted by paedophiles. Children's rights director for England, Dr Roger Morgan, has published a report highlighting the views of 62 children the government has consulted in relation to how its new ContactPoint database will work.
2007-11-20 - Action on Rights for Children - Children's Rights Organisation "stunned" by HMRC data loss
Author: Terri Dowty
Summary: Action on Rights for Children is stunned to learn that HMRC has lost computer disks containing the details of the UK’s 15 million children. Terri Dowty, Director of ARCH said: "This appalling security lapse has placed children in the UK in immediate danger especially those who are already vulnerable. Child Benefit records contain every child’s address and date of birth. We are not surprised that the Chair of HMRC’s Board has resigned immediately." Last year Terri Dowty co-authored a report for the Information Commissioner which highlighted the risks to children’s safety of the government’s policy of creating large, centralised databases containing sensitive information about children. The government chose to dismiss the concerns of the reports authors. "The government has recently passed regulations allowing them to build databases containing details of every child in England. They have also announced an intention to create a second national database containing the in-depth personal profiles of children using services. They have batted all constructive criticism away, and repeatedly stressed that children’s data is safe in their hands." "The events of today demonstrate that this is simply not the case, and all of our concerns for children’s safety are fully justified."
2007-11-20 - The Register - Pressure group: perverts will use tech to track your kids
Author: Lewis Page
Summary: A pressure group has warned of worsening threats to children's rights in the UK from biometric and tracking technologies. ARCH, Action on Rights for Children, is a not-for-profit organisation run by a group of concerned citizens. ARCH is concerned that UK schools, parents and educational authorities are too inclined to use tech-based solutions without considering the consequences. In particular, they believe that use of biometric ID systems in schools is getting out of hand, warning of the danger inherent in routinely recording and storing children's fingerprints - or identifiable signatures derived from them.
2007-11-19 - Computerworld UK - Government policies threaten data privacy, warns information commissioner
Author: Tash Shifrin
Summary: Information commissioner Richard Thomas has listed a string of government policies that he feels threaten data protection rights. The data protection watchdog provided the list to the House of Lords constitution committee as part of its inquiry into the impact of surveillance and data collection. ... Thomas was also "sceptical" about the need for a database on all children from birth "for rather vague purposes" of safeguarding their entitlement to education or healthcare, he told the peers. The ContactPoint database emerged from moves to improve child protection, but will cover all children not just those considered to be vulnerable to abuse.
2007-11-14 - Pulse - Social workers to access new child health record
Author: Nigel Praities
Summary: A new comprehensive electronic health record is planned for all children, to be accessible by GPs, nurses and even social workers. But the ambitious Connecting for Health proposals have prompted concerns among some doctors at the prospect of broadening access to sensitive information about young people.
2007-11-05 - Liberal Democrats press release - Almost 150,000 children on DNA database
Author: Nick Clegg MP
Summary: Almost 150,000 children currently under the age of 16 have their details on the Government’s DNA database, figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have shown. The headline figure masks extremely wide variations between forces, with Northamptonshire retaining just 845 DNA profiles of under-16s, whilst West Midlands Police have over 10,000 and the Metropolitan Police have over 16,000. The number of samples taken may be even higher, as figures show the current age of the individual sampled, rather than their age at the time. Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, Nick Clegg MP said: "These figures underline the shocking extent to which this database has intruded, often without parental consent, into the lives of our children." "Thousands of these children will have been found guilty of no crime, yet samples of their DNA will remain on file for life." "The disturbing and illiberal policy of adding a child’s most personal information to a massive government computer system, simply on the grounds of an accusation, must stop immediately." "The Government has to come up with a proportionate and sensible way of using this technology, not the unfair scattergun approach that currently prevails."
2007-10-20 - The Times - Microchip gives staff the lowdown on pupils
Author: Nicola Woolcock
Summary: Children are being tracked by micro-chips embedded in their uniforms in a trial at a secondary school. The devices are used to monitor pupils’ movements and register their arrival in class on the teacher's computer. Supply teachers can also be alerted if a student is likely to misbehave. The chip connects with teachers' computers to show a photograph of the pupil, data about academic performance and whether he or she is in the correct classroom.
2007-10-11 - Daily Mail - The sinister truth about what they do with our children's fingerprints
Author: Sue Reid
Summary: Fionna Elliot does not look like a firebrand. A hard-working mother, she has never had the time or the interest to dabble in politics. Yet when the local primary school wrote to her saying they were about to fingerprint her son Alexander, eight, and daughter Jessica, only six, she was furious. The 29-year-old housewife from Balby in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, saw it as a dangerous step towards a Big Brother society.
2007-10-09 - The Times - Web porn and video games review launched
Summary: The clinical psychologist Dr Tanya Byron today launched a review of the risks to children and young people exposed to potentially harmful material on screen. Dr Byron, the parenting expert and Times columnist best known for her BBC series House of Tiny Tearaways, was appointed by the Government last month to head an inquiry into the impact of violent video games and internet pornography on children.
2007-10-09 - BBC News - Games violence study is launched
Summary: The government is asking for evidence for a new study of the effect of violent computer games on children. Psychologist Tanya Byron will head the study, which will also examine how to protect children from online material. The review is due to be launched by Dr Byron - together with Schools Secretary Ed Balls and Culture Secretary James Purnell - at a school in east London. The games industry's association Elspa said it would co-operate - but it was too often blamed for society's ills.
2007-10-06 - Sunday Herald - ‘Kiddyprinting’ takes off in Scots schools
Author: Adam Forrest
Summary: Almost half of all local authorities in Scotland have schools using fingerprint or palm-print machines to record the identity of pupils. A Sunday Herald survey revealed the speed at which biometric systems have spread since a palmprint reader was piloted at a Paisley primary school just one year ago. Since then, 14 educational authorities have introduced biometric identification, with at least two others planning to put such systems in place. The technology is currently used to record information about library accounts and register pupils' school meal status in the hope that anonymity will help tackle the stigma of free school dinners. Despite fears that such systems are eroding civil liberties by creating unnecessary banks of identity data, experts believe "kiddyprinting" will continue to expand in the near future.
2007-10-05 - Kable - 'No prints, no food' policy slammed
Summary: The government has warned one British school that its policy of not providing pupils' with meals unless they provide their fingerprints could be illegal. The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) said this week, in a statement to the BBC Radio 4 Programme You and Yours, that schools who refused school dinners to children who don't want their fingerprints scanned might be in breach of the law, reports The Register. This contrasts with the overdue guidance note it issued on school fingerprinting in the summer. This application of fingerprint technology at Morley High School, Leeds, had forced one parent to make her child packed lunches, since the school provided no alternative way for children to receive their dinner. John Townsley, head teacher of Morley High School, told You and Yours: "We have given parents an opt out. The opt out is that you don't have to have anything to do with the system whatsoever and that you then have the responsibility as a mum, dad or carer to provide a very healthy alternative to your child."
2007-10-02 - Glasgow Daily Record - Kids Age 5 Get Prints Scanned At School
Author: Mark Mcgivern
Summary: A fingerprinting scheme for school dinner payments could be extended. Trials of the scheme - under which kids as young as five are given school dinner accounts accessed by scanning their fingerprints - have proved successful. ... A spokesman for the Green Party said: "We feel children should be taught the importance of civil liberties and fear practices such as this could teach the next generation to surrender them without question." But a spokesman for the council insisted fingerprinting youngsters is safe and has helped reduce bullying.
2007-09-29 - Highland News - Big Brother fear in school
Author: Cameron Hay
Summary: Kids as young as five are having their fingerprints taken at a city school – just so they can borrow library books! A politician and a civil liberties group have raised serious concerns about the capture of personal data, which has been likened to the novel 1984, where everyone's movements are tracked and monitored.
2007-09-28 - Perthshire Advertiser - Fingerprint payment scheme set to expand
Author: Andrew Welsh
Summary: Every pupil in Perthshire could be fingerprinted under a new school meals security system being considered by education chiefs, it emerged yesterday. The PA can reveal that the futuristic biometric scheme, which has raised civil liberties concerns, is likely to be rolled out across the county following a successful trial period at Perth’s Viewlands Primary
2007-09-05 - The Guardian - Brown widens review of impact media violence has on children
Author: Patrick Wintour
Summary: PM rules out censorship, but wants new controls. New look at pre-watershed TV advertising urged. The impact of media violence on children will be the focus of a wider than expected government review being launched today. It may lead to new voluntary controls over excessive violence and sex on children's television and the internet and in video games.
2007-09-04 - 10 Downing Street - PM outlines consultation on children and media
Summary: Gordon Brown has promised a government consulation on the effects of the media on children, announced yesterday, will not be an exercise in censorship. Speaking at his monthly press conference in Downing Street, the Prime Minister said that parents were right to expect the Government to do "everything in its power" to protect children from "harmful material" in a multi-media age. Mr Brown added that the explosion in sources of information was "a good thing in so many different ways" and that he was "not interested in censorship at all", but rules were needed to promote appropriate use. The Prime Minister said: "The sources of information for children from a very young age now are the internet, television, commercial advertising. That is a good thing in so many different ways, but where there is pornographic or violent material, any parent is going to be concerned." "The whole purpose of this review would be to draw advice from all sources so we can look at this in a sensible way. [The review will aim] to make sure that our children, while given every opportunity to benefit from new technology and the new media, are also protected against some of the malign influences that are trying to operate through that media'. Mr Brown said that the review would also cover television and aspects such as the watershed hour and advertising. More details of the consultation are expected tomorrow
2007-08-27 - The Times - Safety fears over new register of all children
Author: Francis Elliott
Summary: Senior social workers have given warning of the dangrs posed by a new government register that will store the details of every child in England from next year. They fear that the database, containing the address, medical and school details of all under-18s, could be used to harm the children whom it is intended to protect.
2007-08-27 - The Times - Uncontactable. A ‘complete’ list of Britain’s children turns out to be anything but
Summary: The added benefit of a new national children’s database is arguable at best. Public confidence in it will be undermined from the start if some information is withheld on such subjective grounds as who qualifies as a celebrity. What information is included may be too basic to be useful, and it may not even include nonpermanent UK residents — such as Victoria Climbié. The Government should spend the money on child safety measures that are less invidious, and less invasive.
2007-08-21 - The Telegraph - School uniforms to be tracked by satellite
Author: Graeme Paton
Summary: School uniforms could be fitted with satellite technology to allay parents' fears A Mother is outraged that her son was fingerprinted at his primary school without permission.Roberta Smart only found out her nine-year-old son Kelsey had his thumbs scanned when he overheard her talking about fingerprinting.
2007-08-21 - This is Gloucestershire - Is it right to finger print our children?
Summary: Gloucestershire schools have been fingerprinting children as young as four. The biometric scanning is used so children can take books out of school libraries. over child abduction. Trutex, a specialist supplier, is considering putting GPS tracking devices in new clothes amid increasing concerns over safety. The company surveyed 800 parents and found that more than two in five feared their young children were at risk of being snatched. In addition, 59 per cent said they would be "interested" in some form of tracking device being added to school uniforms....
2007-08-10 - Bloomberg - U.K. Churches, Scouts May Fingerprint Leaders, IDs Chief Says
Author: Kitty Donaldson and Robert Hutton
Summary: James Hall, chief executive of the Identity and Passport Service, said "While people are still nervous about fingerprints and still have a concern that fingerprints are associated with criminality, we're gradually moving away from that," Hall said. "It's amazing how many schools are starting to use fingerprints just as a simple mechanism for checking kids in and out."
2007-07-24 - Kable - Schools biometric guidance 'lacks clarity'
Summary: An MP has attacked the government's biometrics advice to schools for failing to enshrine in law a parent's right to be consulted. Lib Dems MP Greg Mulholland told the Commons on 23 July 2007 that the guidance failed to introduce a legal requirement for schools to acquire parental consent before collecting their child's biometric data.
2007-07-24 - Kable - Becta gives schools biometric data guidance
Summary: The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency has published guidance for schools on how to implement biometrics in line with data protection laws
2007-07-04 - BBC News - School scans children's prints
Summary: A Bristol academy is to scan students' fingerprints to allow them to get their lunch. The £20,000 scheme will be launched at the City Academy - the first to be built in the city - from September. The school said the biometric system did not keep a photographic record, could not be used for police evidence and did not infringe civil liberties. It also plans to introduce biometric controls to get into the school from next term and to control printing. But Clare Stephenson, 43, who has a daughter in year 10 at the school, said she was outraged by the lack of discussion.
2007-06-22 - Norfolk Eastern Daily Press - School adopts fingerprint canteen
Summary: Fingerprint recognition systems and mathematical algorithms may sound like something from a hi-tech spy film. But for pupils at a Lowestoft school, they are to become simply part of the daily routine of ordering their school dinners. The new technology is part of a “cashless catering” drive, giving students the opportunity to pay on account and avoid the daily scramble for dinner money. ... The school's IT manager, Toby Hacker, said: "The scan plots up to 45 points on the fingerprint, then turns them into a long, unique number, like a barcode." "Only this number will be stored, not the image itself, so there can be no worry of anyone passing fingerprint information on."
2007-06-22 - The Guardian - Schools warn of abuse risk from IT database
Author: James Meikle
Summary: Misuse of an electronic database holding sensitive information on 11 million children in England could lead to millions of breaches of security each year, it is claimed today. Privacy campaigners and independent schools have warned of the "enormous" potential for abuse of the huge IT system to be launched next year. ... But today's letter, signed by representatives of the Independent Schools Council, Action on Rights for Children, the Foundation for Information Policy Research, the Open Rights Group and Privacy International, says that the problems of "a potentially leaky and inadequate system" must be solved before the plan goes further. It claims that evidence from Leeds NHS trust last year suggested that in one month staff logged 70,000 incidents of inappropriate access. "On the basis of these figures, misuse of the ContactPoint system could run to 1,650,000 incidents a month."
2007-06-20 - This is Hertfordshire - Is your child being fingerprinted?
Author: Martin Buhagiar
Summary: Children as young as five are being fingerprinted by their schools. A survey of Local Education Authorities (LEAs) in England has revealed that at least 285 schools are fingerprinting children. However that figure is believed to be higher and will rise substantially with schools expected to be told by Ministers that they have the right to collect biometric data and install fingerprint scanners this week. Critics say collecting fingerprints from children will put them at risk of identity thieves. The Government wants personal data, which could also include eyeball scans, to be used to monitor attendance.
2007-06-18 - The Guardian - 330,000 users to have access to database on England's children
Author: Lucy Ward
Summary: A giant electronic database containing sensitive information on all 11 million children in England will be open to at least 330,000 users when it launches next year, according to government guidance. A final consultation on the plan reveals that the index, intended to help children's services work together more effectively following the death of Victoria Climbié, will be accessible through any computer linked to the internet, whether at work or at home, providing users have the correct two-part security authentication.
2007-06-18 - The Telegraph - Schools can take pupils' fingerprints
Author: Graeme Paton, Education Correspondent
Summary: Schools can take fingerprints of pupils as young as five under new measures unveiled by the Government. Ministers are preparing to issue guidance for the first time telling headteachers they have the right to collect biometric data for security reasons. The information could be used to monitor attendance, control entry to the school building and allow pupils to take books out of libraries. But the move has been criticised by civil liberty groups and opposition MPs, who fear that data may be stolen by identity thieves. Official guidance will say that personal data, including fingerprints and eyeball scans, can be collected from pupils, although schools must consult parents before installing the technology.
2007-06-18 - The Independent - Fingerprinting and eye scans for children as young as five
Author: Marie Woolf
Summary: Schools are to get the go-ahead to fingerprint pupils as young as five, in new measures to be approved by the Government. Ministers will issue guidance telling schools they have the right to collect biometric data and install fingerprint scanners. But the decision has angered opposition MPs who say collecting fingerprints from children will be a gift to identity thieves. The guidance will say that personal data, including fingerprints and eyeball scans, can be collected from pupils and used to monitor attendance, so long as schools consult parents first and do not share the data with outside bodies.
2007-06-12 - The Weston Mercury - School scanner watches pupils' diets
Summary: The latest fingerprint scanners are being introduced at a new state-of-the-art school restaurant. From September, the new system at the £1.6million restaurant at Worle Community School means pupils will no longer use cash to pay for meals at the till, but will have their fingers scanned instead.
2007-06-08 - Biometrics in schools - Local Council issues guidelines to schools
Author: Pippa King
Summary: Portsmouth City Council are the first council in the UK to issue guidelines to their schools regarding using biometric fingerprint technology with pupils.
2007-06-06 - Oxford Mail - Father bans school from fingerprinting daughter
Author: Chris Buratta
Summary: A father has refused permission for his daughter's Oxford school to take her fingerprints - fearing it is step towards a 'Big Brother' state. ... "There may be advantages in having a fingerprint database, but the price you pay is too high." He refused to allow his daughter's fingerprints to be taken and was also concerned that the school had not contacted parents. He added: "It is as if they know it is wrong and have done it secretly, hoping no-one finds out."
2007-06-04 - - 'Hundreds' of schools fingerprint pupils
Summary: Thousands of school children are potentially being fingerprinted, the Liberal Democrats claim. A survey of Local Education Authorities (LEAs) discovered 285 schools regularly fingerprint pupils and store their biometric details on record, adding the real figure could be higher. Despite this, the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) has not issued any guidance on when and how biometric data should be collected and stored.
2007-06-04 - Oxford Mail - Five schools hold pupils' fingerprints
Author: Chris Buratta
Summary: Parents at five Oxfordshire schools have been promised that fingerprint data held on their children is secure. Headteachers have defended the use of fingerprint recognition software following national calls for tighter controls.
2007-06-04 - The Guardian - Call for controls on school fingerprinting
Author: Liz Ford
Summary: The government was criticised today for not setting clear guidelines for fingerprinting pupils after figures showed that nearly 300 schools in England were using some form of biometric system. ... The party's concerns go back to March, when in questions to ministers in the House of Lords, the Lib Dem education spokeswoman Lady Walmsley was among several peers to express concerns about how many schools were operating biometric technologies. ... The party also claimed that education authorities did not know if parental consent had been obtained in four-fifths of the schools that collected fingerprinting. The survey found that of the 285 schools, 48 had asked for parental consent, 12 had not and 225 had no information on whether consent had been obtained.
2007-06-04 - Daily Mail - 300 schools fingerprinting their pupils
Summary: At least 285 English schools are fingerprinting pupils without any Government guidance, a Liberal Democrat investigation revealed today. The report claims only a quarter of local education authorities (LEAs) had details about the use of fingerprinting and the Government has no idea how many children have their information stored.
2007-06-04 - Evening Standard - 300 schools fingerprinting their pupils
Summary: At least 285 English schools are fingerprinting pupils without any Government guidance, a Liberal Democrat investigation revealed today. The report claims only a quarter of local education authorities (LEAs) had details about the use of fingerprinting and the Government has no idea how many children have their information stored.
2007-06-04 - Liberal Democrates - Figures reveal hundreds of schools that fingerprint children
Author: Sarah Teather MP
Summary: The Liberal Democrats are urging parents to check whether their children attend one of nearly 300 schools in England that are fingerprinting pupils. A Liberal Democrat survey of Local Education Authorities (LEAs) in England has revealed that at least 285 schools are fingerprinting children, but the figure is likely to be much higher. Schools in Alan Johnson's own constituency are amongst those collecting biometric data of their pupils, without any guidance from the Government. The survey also revealed that: * Only a quarter of LEAs had details about the use of fingerprinting in schools; the Government has refused to issue guidance on the issue and has no idea how many children are being fingerprinted. * Education authorities did not have information regarding whether parental consent had been obtained in four-fifths of the schools that collect fingerprinting. * Schools are also fingerprinting pupils in the constituencies of former Education Minister David Miliband and Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.
2007-06-03 - The Sun - 1m pupils' dabs filed in schools
Author: David Wooding
Summary: Nearly 300 schools have fingerprinted pupils without parents’ consent, it was revealed yesterday. A probe reveals that at least a million children — some as young as five — have had their prints taken. The dabs are used to identify pupils in computerised class registers or library systems. Last night an angry MP called for laws to ban schools building up a dabs database. Last night Schools Minister Jim Knight agreed to draw up strict guidelines.
2007-06-03 - The Telegraph - Schools fingerprint pupils without guidance
Summary: At least 285 schools are fingerprinting pupils without any Government guidance, an investigation by the Liberal Democrats discloses today. The party's report claims that only a quarter of local education authorities (LEAs) in England have details about the use of fingerprinting and the Government has no idea how many children have their information stored.
2007-05-28 - New Statesman - Are our lives safe in their hands?
Author: Victoria Macdonald
Summary: ... I firmly believe that before committing any of this information to a national database, the public must be assured that it is secure. The children’s index is, after all, a system that will store the details of 11 million children and be available to teachers, social workers and others with a “need to know”. The checks and balances, we are told, include ensuring all users undergo training and an enhanced criminal records bureau check. Every request will be audited. But if these security fears are groundless, why has the education minister, Lord Adonis, said: "Children who have a reason for not being traced, for example where there is a threat of domestic violence or where the child has celebrity status, will have their details concealed?"
2007-05-23 - Shropshire Star - Fingerprints for school dinner
Summary: Dinner money is set to become a thing of the past at a Shropshire school due to fingerprint technology which will help pupils pay for their meals.
2007-05-11 - This is Nottingham - A look into our schools' futures?
Author: Chris Birkle
Summary: Having your fingerprints scanned so you can take out a school library book might make some pupils feel like James Bond. Critics would call it another step closer to a surveillance society. Now Big Wood School, in Warren Hill, is looking at taking the process even further - by scanning children's retinas for class registration. It has opened a debate among parents and education leaders.
2007-05-11 - The Register - Half a million kids' DNA on UK police database
Author: Mark Ballard
Summary: Half a million children have had their DNA recorded on Britain's police database, the government admitted yesterday. The number of people being added to the police DNA database is rising rapidly, with a total of 667,737 people added to the database last year, home secretary John Reid said in a parliamentary written answer yesterday.
2007-04-11 - PC Pro - Schools fingerprinting kids without parents' consent
Author: Nicole Kobie
Summary: As many as three-quarters of school authorities allow students' fingerprints to be held in databases - for use as identification for libraries and canteens - according to Conservative Party data. According to media reports confirmed by a conservative party spokesperson, a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that 132 of 171 local education authorities - some 17,000 thousand schools covering 5.9 million children - in the UK allow fingerprinting of students.
2007-04-09 - The Sun - Schools to fingerprints kids
Author: Tom Harvey
Summary: Almost six million children at 17,000 schools could have their fingerprints taken. Soaring numbers of schools require pupils to have biometric checks to register, borrow books or buy food. It emerged that less than one quarter of local education authorities have banned collecting fingerprints.
2007-04-09 - The Independent - Schools may fingerprint six million children
Author: Nigel Morris
Summary: Almost six million children at 17,000 schools could have their fingerprints taken, intensifying fears of the growth of a "surveillance society" where personal information is gathered from cradle to grave. ... Damian Green, Tory home affairs spokesman, said: "This is very disturbing. Most parents would be horrified to know their children might be fingerprinted without their knowledge and without knowing what happens to that information in the future. As a country we need to wake up to what's happening - we're getting more and more surveillance of our lives without a proper public debate about what's happening." ... Phil Booth, spokesman for the NO2ID group, said: "As fears grow about adults' biometrics being taken, now the next generation is being targeted before it even leaves primary school." Pippa King, a Hull teacher who is campaigning for tighter controls on fingerprinting in schools, said: "Our children are going to grow up in a world where biometrics are very important. They need to know they have to be careful with their personal information and be in control of it. I don't think making children desensitised to that is a good thing." Seventy-nine MPs of all parties have signed a Commons motion registering alarm at the growth in numbers of schools collecting biometric data.
2007-04-09 - Evening Standard - Schoolchildren to be fingerprinted in Big Brother-style shake-up
Summary: Up to 5.9million children face having their fingerprints taken by schools in another move towards a 'Big Brother' society. Pupils will have to hand over their biometric details simply to borrow library books or gain access to school dinners. A million children's fingerprints are believed to have been taken already, some without parental approval and even by 'con tricks' such as pretend spy games.
2007-03-23 - The Register - Ireland pounces on school fingerprinters
Author: Mark Ballard
Summary: The Irish Information Commissioner's Office has come down on the notion of school fingerprinting and taken early action to prevent the technology being deployed arbitrarily.
2007-03-21 - York Press - School 'prints upset in Lords
Author: Haydn Lewis
Summary: Fingerprinting pupils in schools has come under attack in Parliament. The practice of fingerprinting schoolchildren, which is used for smart cards to speed up the attendance register and to give children easier access to libraries and school meals, came under strong cross-party attack in the House Of Lords.
2007-03-20 - The Register - British Lords applaud Chinese on civil liberties
Author: Mark Ballard
Summary: The UK government faced questions on school fingerprinting in the House of Lords yesterday, led by the accusation that they had a worse track record on civil liberties in this regard than the Chinese.
2007-03-19 - Liberal Democrats - Fingerprinting in UK schools more authoritarian than in China - Baroness Walmsley
Author: Baroness Walmsley
Summary: Government ministers will today [Monday] be forced to confront criticism about the practice of fingerprinting of children in school, following questions by the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords. There is currently no government guidance for schools about the controversial practice, which is even being banned in schools in China on privacy grounds. Commenting, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson, Baroness (Joan) Walmsley said: "The Government is walking blindfolded into a perilous situation. "Insecure school computers holding precious unique personal information are a gift to potential identity thieves. "I only hope it’s not too late to reign in these dangerous practices before children’s identities are compromised for life." "The fact that the Chinese Government is more concerned with children’s privacy rights than our Government is appalling." "The Government needs to wake up and listen to the very real concerns of parents and produce strict regulations for schools using these technologies."
2007-03-19 - House of Lords debates - Schools: Biometric Data
Summary: A debate in the House of Lords on the use and collection of Biometric Data in schools.
2007-03-10 - Daily Mail / UPI - Children tricked into giving fingerprints... by headmaster
Author: Glen Owen
Summary: A primary school headmaster has outraged parents after he tricked his pupils into recording their fingerprints by telling them they were playing spies. Children were persuaded to give their prints after being told by Mark Woodburn that it was 'just a there's no need to tell your parents'.
2007-03-10 - Evening Standard - Children tricked into giving fingerprints... by headmaster
Summary: A primary school headmaster has outraged parents after he tricked his pupils into recording their fingerprints by telling them they were playing spies. Children were persuaded to give their prints after being told by Mark Woodburn that it was 'just a there's no need to tell your parents'.
2007-03-05 - The Register - UK gov wants to fingerprint kids
Author: Mark Ballard
Summary: Home Office minister Liam Byrne told ITV1 television's The Sunday Edition that the Identity and Passport Service wanted to fingerprint all children over the age of 11 and keep their particulars on a database.
2007-03-05 - The Mirror - Kids to be fingerprinted at 11
Author: Oonagh Blackman
Summary: Children as young as 11 may have their fingerprints taken when they apply for a passport. Immigration Minister Liam Byrne yesterday confirmed a plan - branded by critics as "sinister" - was being considered to record 11 to 15-year-olds' details for biometric passports and ID cards.
2007-03-05 - The Telegraph - Why Labour would fingerprint 11-year-olds
Author: Martin Beckford
Summary: Children as young as 11 could have their fingerprints taken and stored on a Government database in a move described as a sinister step toward a surveillance state. Critics said the plan, being considered as part of preparations for biometric passports and identity cards, could herald the end of the presumption of innocence.
2007-03-04 - This is London - Children's fingerprint database plan 'sinister'
Summary: Ministers are considering setting up a database of fingerprints of children aged 11 to 15, it has been confirmed. Immigration minister Liam Byrne said that the idea is being considered as part of the preparations for the introduction of biometric passports and ID cards.
Note: Also covered by Children's fingerprint database plan 'sinister', Daily Star Child fingerprint database plan and The Guardian Child fingerprint database plan
2007-03-04 - The Times - Children of 11 to be fingerprinted
Author: David Leppard
Summary: CHILDREN aged 11 to 16 are to have their fingerprints taken and stored on a secret database, internal Whitehall documents reveal. The leaked Home Office plans show that the mass fingerprinting will start in 2010, with a batch of 295,000 youngsters who apply for passports. The Home Office expects 545,000 children aged 11 and over to have their prints taken in 2011, with the figure settling at an annual 495,000 from 2014. Their fingerprints will be held on a database also used by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate to store the fingerprints of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers.
2007-03-04 - BBC - Child fingerprint plan considered
Summary: Proposals to fingerprint children aged 11 to 15 as part of new passport and ID card plans are being considered. Immigration minister Liam Byrne told ITV1's The Sunday Edition the proposals were being "looked at".
2007-02-26 - East Anglia Daily Times - Alarm at fingerprinting of pupils
Author: Craig Robinson
Summary: Human rights campaigners have criticised education bosses after it emerged thousands of schoolchildren are being fingerprinted. Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show 83 schools in the county are using biometric data to identify pupils.
2007-02-15 - Security Park - Biometric system developers branded worse than thieves
Summary: Speaking to the Sunday Express on the recent installation at Snapdragons Nursery in Bath of a biometric ‘fingerprint recognition’ door access system, Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary Sarah Teather MP claimed biometric system developers were “Worse than thieves” since someone could close a bank account if their PIN was stolen, whereas biometric systems took a child’s identity for life.
2007-02-14 - Hornsey and Crouch End Journal - Pupils' fingerprint info 'destroyed'
Summary: A Crouch End primary school has confirmed that it no longer holds pupils' fingerprints on file, after finding itself at the centre of a civil liberties row. Concerns were raised that pupils at Coleridge Primary School had their thumbprints taken to create a new book borrowing system in the school library. Some parents were shocked that information about their children was kept on file in this way, but headteacher Shirley Boffey has now said that none of the fingerprints and their associated data exits anymore.
2007-02-09 - Computer Active - 'Tell parents' about pupil fingerprinting
Author: Andrea-Marie Vassou
Summary: Schools should inform parents before collecting children’s fingerprints under proposed best practice guidelines, according to an independent authority. The guidelines will be created by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and will urge schools to seek parental permission before recording children’s fingerprints.
2007-02-08 - Tottenham Journal - School row over pupils' fingerprints
Summary: Mr Menzies, whose sons used to attend Coleridge, added: "The problem with this is that no-one has thought through the implications. I was concerned primarily from the perspective of pupils being under surveillance. "Fingerprinting children struck me as a pretty sinister development, even if it was initially for rather benign or innocuous reasons. Where is this leading us? Once people accept that they can be finger-printed, it is only a short step away from constant surveillance." One current parent at the school, who didn't wish to be named, said: "I'm really amazed. Shocked. I have never had my fingerprints taken because I have never been arrested.
2007-02-08 - York Press - Fresh advice in school fingerprint row
Author: Haydn Lewis
Summary: Schools in York are to get renewed advice on fingerprinting pupils. Manor, has written to parents explaining the system and offering them the chance to withdraw their children. ... Head teacher Brian Crosby said only two out of 643 children had since been taken off the system. Privacy watchdog the Information Commissioner will, however, urge schools to seek parental consent.
2007-02-07 - This is London - 3,500 schools now use finger print scanners in 'Big Brother state by stealth'
Summary: As many as 3,500 schools are taking fingerprints from pupils, often without their parents' permission, a new poll revealed yesterday. Soaring numbers require pupils to undergo biometric identity checks before they can register in the mornings, buy canteen meals and use the library. But the trend has prompted furious complaints from parents who are concerned their children's data will be stored on insecure databases.
2007-02-07 - BBC - Schools warned on fingerprinting
Summary: Schools will be urged to seek parents' permission before taking children's fingerprints, under new guidelines. There will be no consultation with stakeholders, however. Guidelines will not appear on DfES website, and will not be sent to schools. And calls to outlaw the controversial practice altogether have been rejected by the government.
2007-02-02 - The Register - School fingerprinter repents
Author: Mark Ballard
Summary: 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.
2007-01-31 - The Register - Schools need consent to fingerprint kids?
Author: Mark Ballard
Summary: The Information Commissioner has declared that schools should ask for the consent of children and parents before they take pupil's fingerprints, despite there being no legal obligation for them to do so.
2007-01-30 - The Guardian - Schools advised to seek consent before fingerprinting pupils
Author: James Meikle
Summary: The privacy watchdog is to tell schools to seek consent from parents and pupils before fingerprinting children for activities like registering attendance or borrowing library books. Schools failing to do so are not necessarily breaking the law but the information commissioner, Richard Thomas, will say that they should follow best practice.
2007-01-29 - York Press - Schools face legal warning
Author: Gavin Aitchison
Summary: Schools in York may have been breaking the law by fingerprinting children without the knowledge of their parents, according to national education bosses. A spokesman for the Department for Education and Skills said the practice could breach the Data Protection Act.
2007-01-29 - The Register - urged to rethink education super-database
Author: Kieren McCarthy
Summary: UK plans to build an education super-database in which everyone from age 14 is given a single ID number should be put on hold, according to a collection of academics, businessmen and local government officials. In a letter sent the House of Lords Science and Technology committee, the 12 individuals, who come from, among others, Cambridge University, BT, Sunderland City Council and Virgin Mobile, have argued that the Department for Education and Skills should delay awarding the contract later this month because it is approaching the whole issue from the wrong direction.
2007-01-21 - Biometrics in schools - Information Commissioner has doubts
Author: Pippa King
Summary: On the subject of biometrics in schools the Information Commisioners Office (ICO) seems to have doubts. ... We all have jobs where at times it can be "very difficult" to admit advice given has been wrong but if it is your job, and you’re getting paid good money for it, you have to get one with it. Let's hope that the ICO don't cover their backs with flimsy guidelines that they are consulting the DfES on.
2007-01-20 - The Register - MPs investigate school fingerprinting
Author: Mark Ballard
Summary: Opposition MPs have begun investigating the use of biometric scanners in UK schools and the use of funds that might otherwise be spent buying books and learning materials to buy the systems. ... Sarah Teather, shadow education secretary and MP for Brent East, asked the government whether it had given schools permission to use e-Learning credits to buy biometric scanners that took children's fingerprints. ... Parents who have been campaigning against their children being fingerprinted at school without their consent met yesterday with Teather and Nick Gibb, the Conservative shadow minister for schools. A Conservative spokeswoman said Gibb was writing about his concerns over school fingerprinting to schools Minister Jim Knight.
2007-01-17 - The Register - Info Commissioner: Too late to stop school fingerprinting
Author: Mark Ballard
Summary: So many schools are taking the fingerprints of their pupils that it's too late to do anything about it, according to the Information Commissioner. ... "It is all very well, the DfES drawing up guidelines, but we parents want to have input," said David Clouter, of campaign group Leave Them Kids Alone.
2007-01-16 - Kable - DfES reviews fingerprint rules
Summary:The government is to update guidelines for schools on fingerprinting pupils. Schools minister Jim Knight has confirmed the move in a letter to Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland.
2007-01-12 - BBC - School fingerprinting guide due
Summary: New guidelines for schools on fingerprinting pupils are to be issued by the government, following MPs and parents' concerns surrounding privacy.
2007-01-12 - The Sun - Parents in fingerprint victory
Author: David Wooding
Summary: Parents won a major battle yesterday to stop children being fingerprinted at school. Almost a million kids — some as young as five — have had their dabs taken and stored without their families’ consent. ... In a major U-turn, Schools Minister Jim Knight agreed to draw up strict guidelines with watchdogs. He admitted: "I can fully understand these concerns."
2007-01-12 - The Register - UK to review school fingerprinting
Author: Mark Ballard
Summary: The Department for Education and Skills is to reconsider the fingerprinting of school children after a four year campaign by parents. Jim Knight, schools minister, told Greg Mulholland, campaigning LibDem MP for Leeds North West, in a letter sent on 12 December, that he would "update the guidance on the use of biometric technologies" by schools. ... .. Pippa King, a lead campaigner against school fingerprinting, and David Clouter, who runs the group Leave Them Kids Alone, have meetings scheduled next week with the Libdem MP Sarah Teather, Conservative MP Nick Gibb and Labour MP Tom Watson.
2007-01-12 - Liberal Democrats - Government u-turn on fingerprinting in school
Author: Greg Mulholland MP
Summary: The Government has performed a U-turn and will now issue guidance to schools on the legality of fingerprinting pupils, following pressure from the Liberal Democrats. Schools have been fingerprinting pupils as young as three, often without parental consent, storing their biometric data for use in electronic registration and library systems, despite concerns over whether it is legal. The Government previously refused to issue guidance on this contentious matter. But in a response to a letter from Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson, Greg Mulholland MP, Education minister Jim Knight confirmed that the Government will be issuing draft new guidance about fingerprinting in schools.
2007-01-12 - York Press - Another school in fingerprints row
Author: Gavin Aitchison
Summary: The controversy over fingerprinting in York schools has increased, after it emerged another city secondary was involved in the practice, without parents' knowledge.
2007-01-08 - York Press - Anger over York schools that fingerprint their five-year-olds
Author: Gavin Aitchison
Summary: Thousands of children in York are being fingerprinted by their schools, including at least one without parents' knowledge. Human rights campaigners have reacted angrily to the news, saying the fingerprinting was unnecessary and an invasion of privacy, and questioning its safety. They said children were being "conditioned" into thinking it were normal to have to divulge personal information. But Chris Bridge, head teacher at Huntington Secondary, said the system was preparing pupils for a world in which terrorism was rife, and their privacy would be further invaded.
Note: More comment on this by ARCH Because it’s good for you
2007-01-03 - - Stolen innocence: Child identity theft
Author: Brigitte Yuille
Summary: Identity thieves have moved beyond adults in their quests for more victims. Now they're targeting children. Law enforcement officials and consumer advocates say criminals are stealing the Social Security numbers of children and using them to usurp the children's identities. Since the crimes usually aren't uncovered until the victims try to establish credit, they can go undetected for years.


2006-12-** - Futurelab - Should we allow Big Brother in schools?
Summary: We are witnessing the increasing use of surveillance technology in schools. Does this mean that our children are safer and benefiting from more effective systems, or are they, as some argue, less free than they ought to be? ... a set of independent decisions now being made by schools could snowball and have a similar significant, yet unexpected effect. This is the increasing use of surveillance and biometric technologies such as CCTV, webcams and fingerprint and iris scans in school libraries, attendance systems, cafeterias and school playgrounds.
2006-12-15 - The Telegraph - Child index 'will be open to hackers'
Author: Graeme Paton
Summary: A proposed database of 12 million children will be open to abuse by hackers, it was claimed yesterday. The Independent Schools Council, which represents almost 1,300 private schools, said the so-called Children's Index would fail to meet international standards for data security and details might be sold on to paedophiles.
2006-12-15 - Hartlepool Today - Tasty school meals are just a fingertip away for children at a futuristic school
Summary: Pupils at Dyke House Secondary School, in Hartlepool, are enjoying a hi-tech way of paying for their school meals. Instead of paying with standard swipe cards or money, they are using a biometric reading machine...."We have been running a similar fingertip recognition system in our library to loan books. I’m almost certain we are the only school in the town to use such a machine."
2006-12-12 - The Guardian - Is sharing caring?
Author: Anna Bawden
Summary: A national database aiming to pool information on all children is being piloted. So far, results look positive.
2006-12-11 - The Sun - Murder cop: take babies' DNA
Author: Mike Sullivan
Summary: Britain's most senior murder investigator has called for DNA to be taken from babies. Commander Dave Johnston said it would build up a database to solve crimes and prevent others.
2006-12-08 - Biometrics in schools - Children's attitudes to fingerprinting in schools
Author: Pippa King
Summary: Trustguide research done, as part of a larger ICT project, on children's perceptions of biometrics in schools. Many adults are wary of the use of biometrics for themselves, as the report states. So why is it acceptable for our children in schools to use the technology when we, adults, are sceptical of it?
2006-12-05 - The Guardian - Jam mobile phones to combat exam cheating, report urges
Author: Alexandra Smith
Summary: Professor Jean Underwood at Nottingham Trent University has suggested that large universities should fingerprint students to stop friends taking exams for them.
2006-11-30 - Out-Law Radio - Interviews, news and views
Summary: A podcast interview with Ross Anderson about the government's approach to child surveillance and the powerful FIPR report for the Information Commissioner on same. 10MB, 11 minutes
2006-11-27 - Blogzilla - Children Act regulations workshop
Author: Ian Brown
Summary: The Department for Education and Skills is currently running a consultation on their draft Children Act regulations. These regulations will give DfES powers to start operating the Information Sharing Index, which will hold a range of data on the UK's young people.
2006-11-25 - The Daily Telegraph, letters - Databases to carry sensitive information on children
Author: FIPR
Summary: Beverley Hughes, the Minister for Children, does a disservice to families by an evasive response to the FIPR report to the Information Commissioner on the range of databases being set up to monitor children. Point by point response to her letter.
2006-11-24 - The Daily Telegraph, letters - Children at risk will be lost in the sea of a national database
Author: Beverley Hughes, Minister for Children
Summary: You do your readers a disservice in your news item "Child database will ruin family privacy" (November 22) by not challenging the findings of the authors of the report [Children's Databases: Safety and Privacy]. Their findings are based largely on personal views rather than firm evidence.
2006-11-23 - Telegraph - Child database 'will ruin family privacy'
Author: Sarah Womack
Summary: Parents will be devalued and family privacy shattered by the mass surveillance of all 12 million children in England and Wales, says a report today commissioned by Parliament's Information Commissioner.
2006-11-23 - Telegraph - Yes, they ARE watching you
Author: Iain Hollingshead
Summary: Even the Government's Information Tsar thinks things have gone too far – computer records on all children and fingerprint checks for motorists.
2006-11-22 - The Times - Warning over data on children
Author: Ian Evans
Summary: Public trust and confidence will be lost if information gathered on children is judged excessive, the Information Commissioner will warn today. The Commissioner’s office wants safeguards to protect data on children and how databases are designed and used in the future.
2006-11-22 - The Guardian - Databases could be danger to young, says study
Author: Lucy Ward
Summary: New government databases containing details on every child in England could increase dangers to children, divert scarce resources and create a "surveillance culture" in which parents are sidelined and family privacy shattered, according to a report published today by the information commissioner.
2006-11-22 - The Guardian, comment is free - The trials of files
Author: Dave Hill
Summary: The government is building a vast database to help keep 'at risk' children out of trouble and free from harm. Is anyone convinced?
2006-11-22 - Telegraph - Labour pays the price for its social engineering
Summary: The Government's decision to appoint an army of child psychologists to intervene in the nation's parenting crisis has a grim inevitability. Having undermined parental responsibility to the extent of creating an Orwellian national child surveillance system, which, as we report today, is likely to damage the status of families even further...
2006-11-22 - The Register - UK child protection database 'misguided', critics warn
Author: John Leyden
Summary: Think of the children. UK government policies designed to safeguard kids might backfire by diverting valuable resources while creating a "culture of surveillance" where the role of parents is sidelined, according to a report for the Information Commissioner published on Wednesday.
2006-11-22 - BBC - Database details 'harm children'
Summary: Serious dangers exist from the growth of government databases on children, a report has said. The study was carried out for the Information Commissioner's Office which said the details on databases need to be "looked at carefully".
2006-11-21 - Evening Standard - 4 million children at risk of being stigmatised by nationwide 'problem child' database
Summary: A new 'Nanny State' database designed by the government to identify 'bad' children from birth has been slammed in an official study.
2006-11-21 - Action on Rights for Children - IT systems designed to protect children will put them at risk instead
Summary: New government policies designed to safeguard children could put them at increased risk by diverting resources and creating a surveillance culture where parents are sidelined, according to a report by FIPR which is published today by the Information Commissioner.
2006-11-21 - Guardian - Hands off
Author: Janette Owen
Summary: Where do we stand on fingerprinting pupils? Often the fingerprints are taken from pupils without parental permission. Parents fear that, unlike a password that can be reset, if a child's fingerprints are copied, then that data can be used by other agencies for the rest of their life. They also claim that if youngsters casually supply biometric data such as prints and iris scans in school, then they are not being taught to safeguard and protect their identity in the future.
2006-11-21 - Daily Mail - 4 million children at risk of being stigmatised by nationwide 'problem child' database
Author: Sean Poulter
Summary: A new 'Nanny State' database designed by the government to identify 'bad' children from birth has been slammed in an official study. ... Up to 400,000 civil servants - including teachers, doctors, health visitors and social workers - will have access to the youngsters' records.
2006-11-20 - Temperama - The "Children's Index"
Author: Dave Hill
Summary: About the Information Sharing Index, or "Children's Index" as it often known. The government is presently piloting a new database: the Information Sharing Index, it is part of the Every Child Matters programme. As its name suggests, Every Child Matters is not directed only towards children who suffer abuse and neglect.
2006-11-17 - Blogzilla - Children Act regulations meeting
Author: Ian Brown
Summary: The Department for Education and Skills is running a consultation on their draft Children Act regulations. These regulations will give them the powers to start operating the Information Sharing Index, which will hold a range of data on the UK's young people. We are going to run a short workshop at UCL on the regulations so that interested organisations can discuss the details in order to help formulate their own consultation responses. Wednesday 5 December
2006-11-09 - The Register - Halt to school fingerprinting
Author: Mark Ballard
Summary: China strikes blow for privacy. The Hong Kong privacy commissioner has ordered a school to stop fingerprinting children before it becomes a runaway trend that is too late to stop. The school, in the Kowloon District, installed the system last year but, under the order of the Hong Kong Privacy Commission, has ripped it out and destroyed all the fingerprint data it had taken from children.
2006-11-03 - Oxford Mail - We're scan-gry
Author: Ruth Keeling
Summary: A new fingerprint scanning system used to register pupils at an Oxford school has been met with a furious response.
2006-11-01 - Tom Watson MP - More on biometric technology in schools
Author: Tom Watson MP
Summary: The commenters on the recent post about biometric technology in schools have spurred me on to investigate this more fully. I've tabled a number of questions to the DFES to ask them about what guidelines they give local education authorities on this stuff. I've also asked them to list the types of technology used. If you have any experiences in your area, I'd be interested to know.
2006-10-17 - The Register - MPs condemn school fingerprinting
Author: Mark Ballard
Summary: Shadow ministers for the Libdems and Conservatives have condemned schools that fingerprint children.
2006-10-13 - NO2ID - Preston NO2ID protest at fingerprint school
Summary: Last Thursday (7th September) Preston NO2ID held a demo at Brockholes CP school in Preston. Campaigners held placards saying 'Beware Big Brother' and handed out leaflets following an article in Preston Citizen by journalist Chris Gee on the fingerprinting of small children for library cards.
2006-10-12 - Evening Telegraph - Fingerprint assurance
Author: Jennifer Cosgrove
Summary: Dundee City Council gave an assurance today that controversial fingerprinting of children is no longer being carried out in schools.
2006-10-11 - Morecambe Today - Finger pointed at schools over pupils' prints
Author: Michael Hill
Summary: Children across the district are having their fingerprints taken so they can withdraw books from their school libraries. A county councillor this week called for a full debate on the issue and hit out at the way the biometric systems are being imposed without adequate consultation.
2006-10-09 - Engadget - Angered parents considering lawsuit over unconsented fingerprinting
Author: Darren Murph
Summary: When a school system starts swiping fingerprints from students without so much as prior notification to the guardians, thoughts of a lawsuit are imminent. Janine Fletcher, a "solicitor and concerned parent who instigated the legal response," found the actions of 70 schools in Cumbria County downright disturbing, and has apparently rounded up a group of sue-happy supporters to back the cause. Institutions in the area reportedly acquired the unsuspecting students' fingerprints without so much as asking the parents for their consent, and once the prints are on file, local police have a "huge database" of potential crime lords to sift through without the need to arrest them first.
2006-10-07 - Lancashire Evening Post - Anger over fingerprint book scheme
Summary: Lancashire's headteachers today hit back at claims new fingerprinting technology which allows pupils borrow library books is a breach of civil liberties. ... The scheme has caused controversy after Green Party County Coun Chris Coates branded the move a "crazy Big Brother solution".
2006-10-06 - The Register - Parents prepare to sue dabs grabbers
Author: Mark Ballard
Summary: Parents are preparing a legal challenge to schools that have fingerprinted their children without their consent.
2006-09-29 - The Herold - Greens fail to gain apology in fingerprint row
Author: Robbie Dinwoodie
Summary: Greens clashed with the First Minister yesterday over the use of fingerprinting by school libraries
2006-09-28 - BBC - School fingerprint plans reviewed
Summary: Plans to fingerprint pupils attending two Dumfries and Galloway school libraries are to be reviewed. Objections had been received to the schemes at Lockerbie and Dumfries academies on civil liberties grounds.
2006-09-21 - The Times - Fears raised over access to children's database
Author: Rosemary Bennett
Summary: Thousands of town hall officials, charity workers and even careers advisers will be given access to the new national children’s database, raising doubts about its confidentiality.
2006-09-14 - The Register - Teachers break silence on fingerprinting children
Author: Mark Ballard
Summary: The National Union of Teachers has said that schools should not fingerprint children without the consent of parents. But UK teaching unions are being slow to formulate firmer policies on the issue because, it appears, teachers have not complained to their unions about the fingerprinting schemes that, according to parents' campaign group, has already fingerprinted 700,000 primary school children in 3,500 schools without seeking parental consent.
2006-09-13 - The Guardian - Data also needs protection
Author: Liz Davies
Summary: Liz Davies argues that the new child index system will put more children at risk by keeping the very information abusers look for online. It must be possible to stop the child index in its tracks, take the £241 million being invested in the 12 pilot areas and divert it to the frontline services where it belongs.
2006-09-12 - The Herald - Civil rights row over school fingerprints
Author: Martyn Mclaughlin
Summary: Thousands of Scots children are being fingerprinted before they can check out library books as part of a controversial initiative. Around a dozen schools are already using new computer systems which require them to scan thumbprints against biometric readers before borrowing or returning books at school libraries.
2006-09-11 - The Register - Headmaster justifies fingerprinting pupils
Author: Mark Ballard
Summary: The headmaster of Porth County Comprehensive School in South Wales has defended fingerprinting all 1,400 of his pupils days after their parents were told about the scheme last Wednesday.
2006-09-08 - The Guardian - Children fear intrusion of national database, report finds
Author: David Batty
Summary: Children fear that the government's national database of every child in England will expose rather than protect them from harm, according to a report published today. Young people were suspicious of the motives behind the creation of the children's index, which will allow professionals to share information about 11 million children, a study by the children's commissioner for England said.
2006-09-07 - The Telegraph - Teenagers do not trust database to keep details confidential
Author: Sarah Womack
Summary: Teenagers say they might stop using contraception and abortion services because they do not trust the confidentiality of the new national children's database. Research by the Office of the Children's Commissioner says the Children's Information Sharing Index is causing anxiety and arousing suspicion.
2006-09-07 - The Register - Schools can fingerprint children without parental consent
Author: Mark Ballard
Summary: Parents cannot prevent schools from taking their children's fingerprints, according to the Department for Education and Skills and the Information Commissioner. But parents who have campaigned against school fingerprinting might still be able to bring individual complaints against schools under the Data Protection Act (DPA). DfES admitted to The Register that schools can fingerprint children without parents' permission.
2006-08-31 - The Guardian - Child database attacked over celebrity exclusions
Author: David Batty
Summary: Government plans to exclude details of celebrities' children from a new national child database were today seized on as evidence that the system may pose a safety risk to those it is supposed to protect.
2006-08-31 - The Times - Child database that shields celebrities runs foul of law
Author: Alexandra Frean
Summary: A plan to hold details of every child in England on an electronic database were under threat last night after concerns were raised about its legality and security. .... In a debate in the House of Lords in March, Lord Adonis, the Education Minister, said: "Children who have a reason for not being traced — for example, where there is a threat of domestic violence or where the child has a celebrity status — will be able to have their details concealed."
2006-08-29 - The Register - London school to fingerprint students
Summary: A London school is to embark on a trial to fingerprint children when they return to school. Holland Park School is believed to be one of the first schools in the UK to seek to fingerprint every pupil in an effort to monitor their attendance.
2006-08-27 - The Sunday Times - Fingerprinting plan for pupils angers parents
Author: Maurice Chittenden
Summary: A pioneering comprehensive known for progressive, liberal policies has upset parents by seeking to fingerprint every one of its 1,500 pupils when they return from their summer holidays next week. Holland Park school wants to build a database so that children turning up late can be identified and their time of arrival recorded in a live register by pressing a finger on an electronic pad.
2006-07-30 - The Observer - Millions of children to be fingerprinted
Author: Jamie Doward
Summary: British children, possibly as young as six, will be subjected to compulsory fingerprinting under European Union rules being drawn up in secret. The prints will be stored on a database which could be shared with countries around the world.
2006-07-28 - The Observer - Privacy pinned under the thumb
Author: John Naughton
Summary: How would you feel if your children's fingerprints were being taken at school, without your knowledge or consent, and stored on computer? You'd be outraged. It's the kind of thing that would only happen in the old Soviet Empire. Luckily we don't go in for that kind of thing over here. Oh yeah?
2006-07-21 - The Times Educational Supplement - Guantanamo firm enters schools
Author: Michael Shaw
Summary: A military company connected to the US interrogators at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay camp is behind a finger-printing system used in British schools. VeriCool, which runs fingerprint registration and cashless school lunch systems in 22 UK schools, is part of Anteon, an American company which provides training and technology for the US military.
2006-07-15 - The Guardian - School in data row over plan to fingerprint pupils
Author: Rebecca Smithers, education editor
Summary: Pupils at a Berkshire secondary school are to be fingerprinted and have their details kept on a database in a controversial scheme to be launched this autumn.
2006-07-03 - The Daily Mirror - Fingerprint scandal of 700,000 kids
Author: Bob Roberts, Deputy Political Editor
Summary: FURY erupted yesterday after it emerged an estimated 700,000 children are being fingerprinted at school. Systems in 3,500 primary school libraries allow pupils to take out books by scanning their thumb prints instead of using a card. But campaigners warn the technology is a massive invasion of privacy and a step towards a "database state".
2006-06-30 - The Guardian - Is school fingerprinting out of bounds?
Author: Wendy M. Grossman
Summary: Obtaining biometric data from pupils, often without parental knowledge, shows how far this technology has already infiltrated society. Last week, news emerged that Primrose Hill primary school in north London had been fingerprinting pupils without their parents' consent. It seemed shocking yet should not have come as such a surprise. Micro Librarian Systems' Junior Librarian has been marketed in the UK since 2002 and is estimated to have fingerprinted hundreds of thousands of British children. That so many schools have been happy to install such systems, often without thinking it necessary to consult parents, is a reflection of how this technology is infiltrating society. We can expect more of the same, for children and adults, should the ID card, debated once more this week in parliament, become reality.
2006-06-26 - Daily Mail - Big Brother database to record the lives of all children
Author: Jane Merrick
Summary: The home life of every child in the country is to be recorded on a national database in the ultimate intrusion of the nanny state, it has emerged. Computer records holding details of school performance, diet and even whether their parents provide a 'positive role model' for 12 million children will be held by the Government.
2006-06-26 - Telegraph - Family life faces State 'invasion'
Author: Sarah Womack
Summary: Contains an overview of criticisms of the Child Database from the London School of Economics, the Information Commissioner and Arch, the children's rights organisation.
2006-06-10 - The Sutton Guardian - Hands off our children's ID
Summary: A primary school has been accused of infringing children's human rights by trying to introduce fingerprint technology in its library. Worried parents have hit out at proposals for a new computer system that requires pupils to have their fingerprints scanned if they want to take out library books.
2006-01-11 - The Guardian - Nifty gadget or something more sinister?
Author: Kim Thomas
Summary: Fingerprint recognition is taking over from library cards in many schools. Is this really a good move or the first step in softening up children and parents for more invasions of privacy? Most people would get alarmed if they were told thousands of schoolchildren were having their fingerprints taken and stored on school computers. Yet that is exactly what is happening as primary schools across the nation adopt library software that requires pupils to give their fingerprint each time they take out a library book. Are parents who complain about the intrusion right to be worried, or are they simply over-reacting to a harmless use of the technology?


2005-11-22 - The Guardian - Thumbs down to child index
Author: Terri Dowty
Summary: A national electronic child database won't lead to better child protection. The government has confirmed its intention to press ahead with creating a national electronic child database. The announcement received little attention - which is a shame, because the plan has far-reaching implications for England's 11 million children, their families and childcare services.
2005-07-14 - BBC - Schoolchildren 'prefer junk food'
Summary: Researchers tracked what children were eating by analysing data from "smartcards", used to buy meals. This method meant the information was "99% accurate" but created "ethical problems" over pupils' privacy.
2005-02-10 - The Guardian - Hodge defends IT project
Author: Lucy Ward
Summary: The children's minister, Margaret Hodge, yesterday rejected claims that a planned computerised database of details on every child in England could become another costly government IT failure.
2005-01-24 - The Guardian - Database 'will undermine child protection'
Author: David Batty
Summary: The government's proposed national child database is misguided because it will undermine the protection of those at risk of abuse, the education and skills select committee heard today.
2002-08-23 - BBC - Schools in fingerprinting row
Summary: Tens of thousands of children are being fingerprinted in school - often without the consent of their parents, a human rights group has complained. Prints are taken for a library lending system which the makers say makes lending more efficient and less vulnerable to abuse. But the pressure group Privacy International says the practice is illegal and breaches the human right to privacy.
2002-07-23 - The Times - Little Brother's fingerprints all over the library
Author: David Rowan
Summary: In many cases, parents were not told that schools were storing their children's fingerprints. Parental outrage followed and, by last night, the school thumb-scanner being used by 1,000 British primary schools was being internationally condemned as a blatant breach of children's human rights.