East Para Primary School pupils to have fingerprints scanned: does it really work?

biometrics in schools.jpg

Does biometric ID in schools work? No. There is no evidence to suggest that biometrics introduces better recording keeping systems which are more accurate. In the case of East Para Primary, a private school in South Australia, we learn that a dual automatic and manual system will be run in parallel to allow children who don't wish to be fingerprinted to opt-out. Of course, student can opt out for any number of reasons, including philosophical, cultural, health and religious reasons. Consultation has not been made widely enough, this much is obvious. Students risks have not been considered. Paradoxical in this interview was that the school counsellor, a well-meaning person, cannot see the potential for psychological harm through the use of biometric IDs. What are we teaching our young people? To accept enslavement? To accept forced enrolment? This is very surprising to say the least. I know as a school helper to my kids' school, that I can often forget to sign in. The school is supportive to point this out, and ask parents to return to the front desk if they have forgotten to "sign in". Whether I had a biometric to sign in or not, would not remind me to go to the front desk. So ID does not work for its intended purpose in this instance. Biometric ID systems have been in wide use since the 1970s. Most schools who have adopted and then abandoned the system soon after because the system doesn't work, acknowledge that it does nothing for better records. Good record management is a cultural issue which technology will not solve. People also often point to emergencies as why they need to institute pervasive technology. Unfortunately this does not work either because having someone's ID does not mean that they are definitely ON or OFF the premises. Lastly, the most disturbing issue? That we are teaching our kids to accept new technologies because we think they are good for us. We are also teaching them to give away their privacy and not be concerned about it. This is the most grievous issue I have with the whole East Para case study.

Citation: Sonya Feldhoff, Bob Greaves and Katina Michael. "East Para Primary School pupils to have fingerprints scanned: does it really work?" Afternoons 891 ABC Adelaide (2015), Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kmichael/525/