A reminder that on 1 September the biometric data provisions of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 came into effect, introducing requirements for parental notification and consent.

The provisions apply to schools, 16-19 Academies and further education institutions that are processing or intending to process biometric information of anyone aged under 18.  These new requirements are in addition to the existing obligations in relation to personal data under the Data Protection Act 1998 (the latter applying to all data controllers, including higher education institutions).

“Biometric information” means information about a person's physical or behavioural characteristics or features which—

  • is capable of being used in order to establish or verify the identity of the person, and
  • is obtained or recorded with the intention that it be used for the purposes of a biometric recognition system.

Biometric information may, in particular, include—

  • information about the skin pattern and other physical characteristics or features of a person's fingers or palms,
  • information about the features of an iris or any other part of the eye, and
  • information about a person's voice or handwriting.

The Department for Education has produced guidance for schools and academies here and BIS guidance for FE institutions has been posted on the Association of Colleges website here.