A privacy watchdog has called for a parliamentary enquiry into the "unofficial endorsement" of the digital finger printing of UK school children by the Information Commissioner.
Privacy International today warned that tens of thousands of UK school children are having their prints digitally recorded without the knowledge or consent of their parents.
According to the watchdog, electronic finger printing may have already been carried out on as many as 200,000 primary school kids as part of a cost cutting automation of school libraries.
But Privacy International has condemned the procedure as "dangerous, illegal and unnecessary".
Simon Davies, director of the organisation, said that the practice "dehumanises our children and degrades their human rights". He added that the system would desensitise citizens to a more comprehensive privacy invasion in later life.
"Such a process has the effect of softening children up for such initiatives as ID cards and DNA testing," he claimed. "It's clearly a case of 'get them while they're young'. They are seen as a soft target for this technology."
The electronic fingerprinting and resulting identification database have been likened to ID systems currently in use in the US prison system and the German armed forces.
The practice came to light after the parent of a child attending the Sacred Heart School in Ruislip, London complained that a child had been fingerprinted without the parent's knowledge or consent.
Privacy International attacked the Information Commissioner for giving support to finger printing, despite the fact that it is theoretically possible to use the prints for law enforcement purposes.
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