Children to be fingerprinted as part of library loan process
Students in Manchester are having their thumbprints digitally transformed into electronic codes, which can then be recognised by a computer program.
Under the scheme, pupils swipe a bar code inside the book they want borrow then press their thumb on to a scanner to authorise the loan. Books are returned in the same way.
But critics said they were “appalled” at the system, developed by Microsoft which is also being trialled in other parts of the country.
“This is quite clearly appalling,” said Phil Booth, national coordinator of NO2ID, a privacy campaign group.
“For such a trivial issue as taking out of library books the taking of fingerprints is way over the top and wrong.
He added: “The money for such a system could be spent on actual school resources. How about some more books for the library instead?
Things aren’t that simple, of course. If resources are being directed at monitoring loaned books . Potentially, this system could allow for the school library loan processes to be automated to a far greater extent than they are currently.
Overall, I’d say this one isn’t quite as ludicrous as it initially appears. The idea of substituting a library card for a finger print is convenient – particularly for kids.
"We have researched this scheme thoroughly. It is a biometric recognition system and no image of a fingerprint is ever stored. It is a voluntary system,” she said.
"The thumbprint creates a mathematical template. All parents have been written to and we have told them what the system is all about. From the responses we have had there has been overwhelming support."
If I were a parent, I don’t think I’d have an issue with this. Moreover, children in schools all around the country are already fingerprinted as part of the payment system for school dinners. I think NO2ID should focus on frying bigger fish quite frankly.