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    Telegraph (UK): Europe tells Britain to justify itself over fingerprinting children in schools

    The Telegraph reports on news concerning collection of biometric data of British schoolchildren:

    The European Commission has demanded Britain justifies the widespread and routine fingerprinting of children in schools because of “significant concerns” that the policy breaks EU privacy laws. The commissioner is also concerned that parents are not allowed legal redress after one man was told he could not challenge the compulsory fingerprinting, without his permission, of his daughter for a “unique pupil number”.

    In many schools, when using the canteen or library, children, as young as four, place their thumbs on a scanner and lunch money is deducted from their account or they are registered as borrowing a book. […]

    EU data protection rules, Brussels legislation that overrides British law, requires that the gathering of information such as biometric fingerprints, must be “proportionate” and must allow judicial challenges. […]

    Schools are not currently under a legal duty to consult parents before collecting biometric data, although the government advises them to do so.

    The commission is acting on concerns by the “Article 29 Working Party”, a group of EU data protection watchdogs, including the British Information Commissioner. […]

    In May, the incoming Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition promise to “outlaw the fingerprinting of children at school without parental permission”. A government spokesman was not available yesterday to comment on the commission’s letter.

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