Irish Kiddyprinting

ENN says that the Reg says that the Sunday Times says that… says that… what? Where? Who said what? I’ll try that again…

The upshot of this story is that the Irish Data Protection Commissioner has come out against the use of biometrics in Irish schools. TBH I have to wonder how Mark Ballard got that from the commentary on the Commissioner’s website – which could have been written by a Fianna Fail PR hack – but that’s not really what caught my eye anyway, it’s this bit:

“a vast majority of parents had no qualms about the scheme after schools assured them it would only be used to track pupil attendance and that data would not used in criminal investigations or otherwise shared.”

Sure they won’t, until it’s something important like a murder investigation, and sure since we’ve done it once now sure we can use it for this stabbing too, and sure and since it was used for the stabbing we should use it for when that fella gave yerman a dig too, and sure now we’re using it all of the time, sure and begorrah we might as well make it a national database.

Are people really that stupid that they can’t see the long term consequences of programmes like this? Can they not see past the next corner? Or is that a stupid question? Seriously folks, don’t expose your children to this. It’s a slippery slope, and Irish bureacrats and politicos have very bad shoes.

PS. The Reg deserves credit for the headline, not me; see their URL. Bizarre they didn’t use it instead of the shite they used in the end. Did it sound too much like kiddyfiddling or summat?)

2 responses

  1. It’s good that the Data Protection Office is getting involved BEFORE these systems are in widespread use and harder to reel in.

    Thing is that schools which want to implement biometric systems will emphasise the positives (safety, security etc) to parents. In the absence of a bigger picture, parents will presume that it’s in the best interest of their children.

    On the other hand (sorry!), the DP Office needs more teeth. For example, it “recommends that a documented privacy impact assessment is carried out”.

    What’s needed is changes in legislation to make a privacy impact assessment COMPULSORY before such systems are installed.

  2. I actually had to think about “on the other hand” Fergus. I think growing my hair might just be increasing the blond factor. :)

    I agree that it’s good that the DPC is getting involved early, and their commentary is pretty good, but it is just a tad comreg-like to me; i.e. “this is what I think, not that it matters a shite”.

    I also agree that the schools will push the postives and hide the negatives, and it’ll probably be more laziness than maliciousness involved, but I don’t buy the argument fully I’m afraid. Parents have a responsibility to their children, and web browsers and search engines and web forums.

    And yes, there should be changes to legislation and the DPC definitely needs more teeth, I’m just not sure this one will use them if given. Joe Meade made a lot more noise and was a lot more forceful, imho. Whether that actually had an effect is another question…