COVID-19 Update: Due to the current situation we are following guidance set out for the September opening of schools. Fingerprints will not be used to pay for school dinners or to top up their accounts and cash will no longer be accepted. This is for the safety of pupils and staff and to minimise risk of transmission After a review of reducing high contact areas we have taken the decision to remove the cash loaders. These are the machines located in the piazza. These machines required children to use their fingerprint to add cash to their dinner money account. Children will no longer be able to add money to their account in this way.
Dinner Money Cards
Each pupil will now be issued with a personal Dinner Money Card which they need to present at the till if they want to purchase any food or drink. If your child loses their card there will be a £1.00 replacement fee which will be charged to their dinner money account.
St Damian’s uses biometric data as an automated recognition system for our catering facilities and use of photocopiers. We use the company BioStore Identity Management for this function.
What is BioStore?
BioStore is an internal database located within a school, which stores the information which identifies pupils uniquely to each of the applications used at the school.
BioStore requires each pupil to register only once, usually by placing a finger on a fingerprint scanner, although other identification methods are available.
When a person registers their finger in BioStore, no image is saved. Instead approximately 40 to 60 minutia points are recorded – minutia points are the location and direction of where a ridge ends or splits in two. The rest of the information from the finger scan is discarded.
The information used is encrypted and called a template. The data is extremely secure in its encrypted form, but even if it were not encrypted it is impossible to recreate the original image of the finger from this data. The BioStore system only stores a short string of encrypted numbers – too few to provide enough detail for the original print to be reconstructed.
The BioStore database is encrypted using AES256 – an industry standard and highly secure technology. All communications between applications and the database are also encrypted using AES256. Each school has its own secret unique group of AES256 encryption keys, which means that the database and any backup of its contents can only be accessed on licensed hardware, and the encrypted data is only available to the registered licensee. Even if a school’s security were to be compromised and a backup of the database stolen, the encrypted data would still be unreadable, even by another school.
AES256 is the same encryption technology that is used in Microsoft’s BitLocker disk drive encryption and is certified by the National Security Agency of America to be used to protect Top Secret information.
It has been calculated that it would take all the computers in the world 3x10^51 years to decrypt a file that has been encrypted with AES256 using a brute force method.
Is it possible to recreate a fingerprint from the data stored by BioStore?
No, the BioStore system only stores a short string of encrypted numbers, too little data for the original print to be reconstructed.
Why use BioStore instead of other existing identification methods?
BioStore’s centralised system speeds up the registration process – each student need only register once, no matter how many applications requiring identification are in place at the school.
With a Biometric system, students cannot borrow or steal credentials from each other, reducing the opportunities for bullying. Queues are reduced, because the rate of identification of students is quickened. Students need no longer carry cards, remember PINs, or use cash to buy a meal.
Biometric systems save time and money for both school and pupils because the need to replace lost cards and forgotten passwords is eliminated.
How secure is the stored data? What would happen if somebody stole it?
The BioStore database is protected by a licence key, meaning that the database and any backup of its contents can only be accessed on licensed hardware. The hardware is stored in the school’s own secure facility, so that the encrypted data is only available to the registered licensee. Even if a school’s security were to be compromised and a backup of the database stolen, the encrypted data would still be unreadable, even by another school.
As a caring Catholic community, the support of each individual is our highest priority. St Damian’s RC Science College aims to create and maintain a safe learning environment where all children feel safe, secure and valued and know they will be listened to and taken seriously. Our school is committed to the principles of Every Child Matters Agenda and implements policies, practices and procedures which promote safeguarding and well-being we strive to ensure that all pupils are supported, feel valued, are happy and achieve their potential as individuals. Therefore, you can be reassured that all data is kept confidential and safe. Please see the Privacy Notice here Please contact school if you have any queries or questions 0161 330 5974
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