back to article 'Bullying' Aussie high school stops fingerprinting kids

An Australian high school has stopped fingerprinting its children, on receiving a caning from the country’s press. Ku-ring-gai High, in Sydney’s prosperous North Shore, is accused of bullying its charges into scanning their fingerprints for an attendance monitoring system it is trialing. Under New South Wales rules, parents …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Pete

    Good on the girl...

    who refused to cooperate, even when bullied to do so, because she had "read 1984". The spirit of the conscientious objector is not yet dead, although it is only a small small minority of people who are standing up against the way the system is currently going. Identity cards, biometric screening, CCTV, interception of communications... How much further can they push us?


  2. heystoopid

    Oh no , what a bunch of truly stupid wowsers !

    Oh no , the wankers , wowsers and control freaks disease from Police State UK and the edge of paranoia Union of the Soviet States Amerika have now migrated down under to the happy go lucky country of Oz !

    We were truly warned about this form of stupidity and incompetence in high places back in 1969 , mind you if I was a parent of a child at that school I would be demanding , not asking for the petty incompetent idiot responsible be terminated forthwith , as they are obviously well outside the limits of their one track a time single brain functional cell !

    For there comes a time we have to let our children go and determine their own future and wrapping them up in bales of cotton wool and treating them like common garden variety of criminals in the local lock up control freak style is ultimately a pointless exercise in futility !

    Besides at some future date these are the very same people that choose your nursing home too !

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Erm ...........

    I thought it was usual to fingerprint criminals? Surely the world largest and most deadly open prison should not be exempt and particularly the max security wings where they house their worst although i amused they call them "Schools" but then Political Correctness always amuses me.

    Maybe if they did fingerprint them properly and didn't back down we would see and end to all those Australians, who have clearly escaped justice, selling drugs in London . I mean have you tried to buy a pint in London these days, all bloody Ozzies pushing their addictive amber nectars (as they call them) on us. I was a successful rehab graduate until they got their claws into me and i am in full relapse!

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Not what it used to be

    The country's gone to the dogs. You'd think with OZ's past we'd accept finger-printing as a sort of cultural hazard. A tribal memory of times past, handed down by our convict ancestors.

  5. Nick Stallman

    Parents overreacting?

    A parent is claiming that their kids were bullied in to giving their fingerprints.

    What does that mean exactly?

    I'm guessing the parent said no but the kids did it anyway.

    Not that the school knowingly made them do it.

    I'm generally supportive of this kind of use of fingerprints.

    Other schools use it instead of a library card and its just plain convenient.

  6. Peter

    Some schools in Sydney have been doing this for some time

    The aptly-named "Rooty Hill" high school in Sydney has been doing this for some time:


  7. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Let me for one moment take off my blinkered, cynical world-view glasses and ask: in this incident and in the UK, just why are the schools involved so utterly determined to get their kid's fingerprints at any cost, without telling the parents? Is there any actual reason, other than softening your kids up or knowing the parents would object, they'd be taking that route?

    Paris... she's putting her thinking glasses on.

  8. John

    That's my old school!!

    Always thought they were a haven for escaped Nazis.

  9. The Wanderer
    Paris Hilton

    Kids have it easy today

    Fingerprints? Fingerprints?? These kids are complaining about having to give their FINGERPRINTS???

    Hah. Back in my day, when I was attending Yakuza High, we had to give them the entire FINGER!!

    ...which, on a more symbolic and less graphically literal note, is not a bad idea to present to overzealous power tripping invasion of privacy types.

    ...Paris, 'cos when they start doing the strip searches next... err, well, anyway. Yes. Ahem. Indeed.

  10. kain preacher

    @Nick Stallman

    SO you think be told you cant leave the until you give us your finger prints by a person that has a certain degree of authority over you is not bulling ?

    What would you call that??

    The parents said no the school said screw your parents. Do what we say or you cant leave.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "scanning their fingerprints for an attendance monitoring system it is trialing"

    It's been said before...

    What the hells wrong with a pad, a pencil & roll call?!?!?!

  12. system

    RE: Parents overreacting?

    "I'm generally supportive of this kind of use of fingerprints.

    Other schools use it instead of a library card and its just plain convenient."

    Guess you haven't been keeping up then.

    Fingerprints are absolutely useless as a form of ID unless you can verify that the print and the finger belong to the person using them. They offer nothing over regular swipe cards. So why should we have our kids subjected to fingerprinting for no benefit?

    If scanning your finger is so much more convenient than swiping a card that it justifies all the extra costs and the mass fingerprinting of children (with all the potential misuses), you need to get more exercise.

  13. Tim Bates

    media overreation no doubt

    While I don't really see the point to fingerprinting in schools, I really think the media might have beat this one up just a touch. Sounds like the perfect thing to sell papers.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I go to this school, not worth the hype.

    OK, I go to KCAHS and frankly, it's nothing but a bunch of whiners who want some attention. The school hardly forced anything. They warned us a week before they took the scans and they told us if we didn't want it they could be removed. They also informed us that no fingerprint is actually recorded. They said that they take a scan, and with that scan they form a number. We were told our fingerprint could not be formed from the number, so our identities were safe. This girl is just an attention seeking whinger who knew there was no problem with it but just wanted to be a nuisance.

    The DAM system (as it is properly called) is supposed to be a more efficient method of monitoring attendance. Monitoring 800 people with pen and paper is not so easy. Also, if you don't attend, an SMS is sent to your parents to notify them that you are absent.

  15. Name

    HOLY.....HOW did this sneak in????

    How did a school sneak this in??

    And why has it not been shut down pending an investigation??


  16. Anonymous Coward

    I'm just thinking.....

    How fun it would be to send 500 copies of my own fingerprints (or the German guy who's fingerprints were recently published) to the miscreats and chess club at that school. Between the two groups, I bet a lot of fun could be had..... The miscreats could use them directly to all register with the same fingerprint and the chess club would quickly come up with the idea to reproduce them with teacher's prints (lifted off of desks, etc) or all assume the identity of the principal, or trade prints to screw up the system and generally cause havoc. Never underestimate the power of disgruntled (most are) junior high and high school students with way more time on their hands than the people watching over them.

  17. Mark Wood
    Thumb Up

    RE: fingerprint verses Swipe Card

    I think the reason why many schools prefer fingerprint readers is because children tent to lose / break / have stolen the things in their possession. It is very difficult to break / lose / have stolen your finger print.

    Also, it is easier to get your mate to swipe your card in registration while you potter off to the park for a smoke and a packet of walkers. You can't lend your finger to your mate quite as easily, and I doubt children on the whole will be up to the kind of forensics necessary to create a fingerprint copy to dupe the scanner.

    I think as long as schools write a very clear policy about how fingerprints are stored, what they are used for, and how that information will be secured, then most parents will feel easier. It is all about trust on the parent's part, but also schools have to take security seriously and put proper measures in place.

    Thumbprints here please!

  18. Sooty

    am i alone in thinking

    that taking attendce in schools is meant to be more than just ensuring every child is there, its meant to, on some level, allow the teacher to connect with each and every child.

    Having each child identify themselves to the teachers, allows the teachers to actually learn who they all are. they can directly assiciate a face and voice with a name. Just having the kids scan their fingerprints at the door, means that it could be possible for a quiet child to sit in a corner and never actually be known.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC who goes to this school

    If they were honestly going to delete records people didn't want kept they wouldn't threaten people into giving those records in the first place, especially to the point of imprisonment.

    The only logical conslusion is that they lied to you and aren't deleting them. One wonders what else they lied about.

  20. Dr Patrick J R Harkin
    Paris Hilton

    But if we can't fingerprint the kids to check attendance...

    ...we'll only be able to hire teachers who can read and write. Think of the expense!

    Paris, cos identification by public recognition of a body part is a recurring theme of hers.

    I mean she has a famous face, what did you think I meant?

  21. TrishaD

    Perfectly Reasonable

    You must all realise that these measures, painful though they are, are necessary to protect Western Cullture from the evils of terrorism.

    Even now I have excellent intelligence to suggest that Bi Laden and his hordes are training teams of midget, cross dressing suicide bombers ready to infiltrate the education system of this great country by pretending to be 12 yr old girls called Kylie .....

    Alternatively of course, the school authorities are complete morons who need to understand some basic principles about how to behave in a free society. What the hell are they teaching the kids?

  22. Matt

    Monitoring 800 people with pen and paper is not so easy

    I think you need to spend a little longer in school if you believe that! Schools have been successfully using pen and paper to record attendance for years without problems.

    If you want to do ti by computer then fine, call the role and the teacher can use a PDA to pass the data back to a central server, or just have a PC in the class room. There is no excuse for fingerprinting, even in Australia.

  23. Paul


    My School was twice that size and got along fine with pen and paper.

  24. system

    RE: I go to this school

    Maybe I'm missing something here, but if you fancy a day off can you not just hit the scanner then walk away?

    Ticking a box for every pupil may be "hard", but the teacher gets verification that the pupil is at least in school during the whole registration period. It's also more likely they will be grassed up by another pupil if they are there at registration and not at lessons. When nobody knows that they are supposedly in school when they clearly aren't, nobody can report it.

    With regards to removing the scans after the fact though, that's just the wrong way to run the thing. If they really are willing to allow people to not have their dabs on record, then they have no need to take the things in the first place. Phorm also uses this forced opt in style, where their data will be erased after it has been collected, and look where it got them. Never assume that because you see no problem with giving up a piece of your privacy that all others should follow you.

  25. Anon Koward

    Nanny State

    Tbh some of the responses I feel are a good indication of why the UK has ended up with the crisis it faces at the moment which is its teenage population.

    Don't get me wrong I am sure there is a bit of sensationalism in the press about the yob's in Britain but there is still very much an element of truth.

    If these types of measures can make a difference in forcing teenagers to start attending schools and not bunking off to get drunk in the park or whatnot then I say "full steam ahead".

    As a parent I am far less concerned with the country becoming an Orwell 1984 institution than I am of seeing "happy slapping" and Ambulances, Fire trucks and coppers being bricked on by 14-18 year old youths...

  26. Spleen

    Sir Humphreys in corked hats

    "Other schools use it instead of a library card and its just plain convenient."

    This must be the two dozenth security v. privacy thread I've read and yet this is still the most idiotic comment I've heard. Shelling out for a bunch of equipment to record fingerprints and another bunch of equipment to scan them back (with attendant failure rate) is more convenient than plonking down your library card on the pile of books you're borrowing. Sh'yeah. Or whatever the Aussie slang equivalent is. Probably "Bongo bongo strychnine g'dansk mateodiodiodeeo" or something.

    A few years of big government and we all start accepting the Civil Service mantra that the more complicated process is always easier and the more expensive equipment is cheaper. If Labour get re-re-re-elected I'm going to take a shortcut and lobotomise myself.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What IS the problem ?

    When I went to school the teachers managed perfectly fine with paper registers (which incidentally don't suffer from 'network problem' or 'crashes' !) - and there were thousands of us at that school. Teaching children that it's OK to do this sets a very bad example - it teaches then that their identity and security doesn't matter and that state surveilance is OK.

    It's also highly worrying that school administrators/management don't see the value in teacher-student interaction !

    At work (and this is why I'm posting as AC) we have a customer that runs some special needs schools - and they handle children that in some cases haven't been to school for two years before they get them. They can manage what must be the most undisciplined children in the education system without such measures !

    I suggest that those schools that claim this is a good idea are simply run by incompetent management that should not be allowed to have anything to do with educating our children.

  28. Ruana
    Paris Hilton

    I'm a bit sceptical

    OK, so the only information actually stored is a string of numbers. But the system must have some way of knowing that a particular fingerprint relates to that particular string. Is it really warranted for the pushers to so confidently insist that it's impossible to re-create the prints from the numbers?

    Paris, in case I've just made a bimbo of myself...

  29. Mad Mike

    Fingerprint or Number

    The fact that the fingerprint is processed and then stored as a number and therefore is 'safe' is actually a stupid argument. The number produced could actually relate to multiple fingerprints and is simply a way of allowing for a margin of error and to reduce the storage requirements. The number can be reverse engineered to produce a fingerprint. Now, this fingerprint might not be your fingerprint, but that is irrelevant. The fact is that this created fingerprint will process to the number recorded against you and therefore WILL identify itself as you. Whether it actually is your fingerprint or not is totally missing the point.

    Therefore, given the numbers, it is possible to create a fingerprint for each person and the only way of knowing if it is really the persons fingerprint or simply one reverse engineered, is to re-fingerprint everyone and compare the two optically.

    Ergo. Automatic fingerprinting systems are useless for security and can be simply bypassed using a small amount of knowledge and reverse engineering of the number.

    Additionally, in order to make a system practical, the level of accuracy that can be achieved is pretty low. Therefore, getting two people with fingerprints that process to the same number is quite possible, especially when dealing with a large sample e.g. national etc.

  30. Ben
    Dead Vulture

    Hook, line and sinker

    "It is very difficult to break / lose / have stolen your finger print."


  31. John Savard

    Unlawful Confinement

    Never mind guidelines. A girl was told she could not leave a room until she provided her fingerprints, by people who did not have the lawful authority to make such a request.

    Why aren't criminal charges being laid?

  32. StopthePropaganda

    what's wrong with Aussies today?

    wasn't that long ago, had someone in authority asked, they'd get "the finger" all right!

    Same finger, every time, too!

    "Can you count in binary?"

    "I send you a 4"

  33. Anonymous Coward

    AUSSIE NAZIES are alive and well.,

    "Every step you make, every breath you take, and every thought you create - we'll be watching you".

    I like these little naziland shits.... the typical modus operandi is a real rub too.

    "What you don't consent? WHY don't you consent?"

    (quick call security - and have them interrogated and profiled for surveilence )

    I hope the kids come back and burn the school down

  34. B


    "The number can be reverse engineered to produce a fingerprint."

    The method used to record the fingerprint makes it absolutly impossible to obtain a fingerprint. It may be possible to obtain some similarities, but not to make a replica.

    Also, they took ONE fingerprint from ONE finger of our choosing, not our whole hands. It was not a big deal nor was it expensive. We were not bullied, our civil rights weren't violated and it is much more convenient this way. It actually saves money and will improve attendance rates. So please everyone STOP GOD DAMN COMPLAINING ABOUT SOMETHING YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT!

This topic is closed for new posts.