As a routine part of our work across The GORSE Academies Trust, we are reviewing certain systems and protocols, one of which is our use of biometric identification to support cashless catering and printing services. We wanted to remind our parents and carers of the technological facts and advantages around biometric identification and ensure that parents / carers understand the rights of their child with regard to consent.
Facts and Advantages of Biometric Identification
How does biometric identification work?
We use a system called BioStore Identity Management, which uses advanced readers to take a partial “finger image” and convert this into data which is stored against an individual’s account. The initial reading does not record a full finger image, and the partial reading which is captured is converted into data. This data cannot be reverse engineered, and even if it could, it would only create a partial finger image.
Why use biometric identification?
The use of biometrics is now prevalent throughout education in the UK, and the two main reasons for this are:
- Speed, efficiency, and student experience: using your finger image to authenticate your identity is incredibly quick and convenient and allows students to access services with very little hassle.
- Security: It is important that certain services – particularly cashless catering which is associated with real money – are kept very secure. It is not possible for one student to access another student’s money at a till location as they cannot duplicate their finger image.
What do we use biometric identification for?
We use biometric IDs to support our cashless catering.
- Cashless catering: Students can quickly identify themselves at a till by placing their designated finger on the reader.
What are the alternatives?
If you do not provide consent for the trust to use your child’s finger image to support these services, alternative means of authentication are available. Whilst we do our best to ensure that a child is not prejudiced in this situation, it is important to note that alternatives can sometimes be slower or more of a nuisance for your child. The alternatives we provide are:
- Cashless catering – no consent: Students would be required to provide the catering team with their name and year group each time they visited the till. The catering staff would then search the database to find your child, check that they match the picture on the system, and then process their catering request. The disadvantage here is that an identification would take approximately 30 seconds instead of 1-3 seconds required with biometric identification.
How is this biometric data secured and managed?
The biometric data that we store is saved securely on a trust server which is based on-site. The database in which this data is stored is encrypted with a unique key and so cannot be transferred to another system and viewed.
How long is this biometric data kept for?
We keep the biometric data of students for as long we have consent. If a child leaves the trust, their biometric data is securely destroyed.
We firmly believe that the use of biometrics genuinely improves the student experience, however, in order to use biometric data to support the effective running of our systems we must have appropriate consent from the parent/carer.
If you have not previously given consent but would like to, please complete and return the below slip.
If you have already given consent and would like to withdraw this, please note that you can do this at any time by contacting [email protected]. Once consent has been withdrawn your child would need to adopt the ‘no consent’ procedures detailed earlier in this letter.
Please return this to your child’s form tutor by Monday 25 March. A reply slip is needed for all students.
Mr C Stokes
Biometric Data Consent Slip – please download using the button below, complete and return to your child’s form tutor by Monday 25 March