Letter: Why the fuss over biometrics in school?

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Regarding the article by Lesley Riddoch (Perspective, 3 January), biometrics is here to stay, like it or not, so let us make the best use of the systems to improve our way of life.

It is important it is secure, it is important it is freely signed up to and it is important it is used for the purpose it is registered for. Yes, Angus Council has used biometrics for more than a decade in education and it has been successful.

I have so many PIN numbers, passwords, account details, etc, and would I personally like to have my fingerprints scanned and my iris logged? Yes. Am I bothered if the police have my DNA recorded (which they don't, by the way)? No.

I am ex-RAF where, for 23 years, I had an ID card, a service number and, from security checks for the jobs I did, they possibly know more about me than I do myself. Has it changed my life? No.

When I fly to America, they scan my passport, my eyes are photographed and my iris logged on entry and exit - no problem. My blood is taken, catalogued and used as a donor. You have a national insurance number issued to you the day you are born, you have a health service number the day you are born, you are recorded with a Scottish Candidate number when you enter secondary education and possibly primary in the future, you have a driving licence number, and so on.

There is so much data out there in the hands of government departments, I cannot see what is fearsome about making life simpler with biometrics.

We can see in Angus improvements associated with biometrics use. Some parents have opted for their children not to use the system - that is their choice. No-one has complained to me or Angus Council about its use in education because they have the right to opt out. However, they should know the information is not reversible - for instance, the police could not bring in a set of fingerprints and ask us to scan them. It purely allows access to services applicable to that person.

Personally, I would like to see the system extended to all services, and even linked to a PIN for credit/debit card sales.


Convener of education

Angus Council