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UK Students Protest Biometric Scanner Move 196

Presto Vivace writes that the UK's Newcastle University is instituting a finger-print based attendance system. From the linked article: "University students may have to scan their fingerprints in future — to prove they are not bunking off lectures. ... Newcastle Free Education Network has organised protests against the plans, claiming the scanners would 'turn universities into border checkpoints' and 'reduce university to the attendance of lectures alone.'" The system is supposed to bring the university "in line with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and clamp down on illegal immigrants."
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UK Students Protest Biometric Scanner Move

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 15, 2012 @04:37PM (#42303179)

    WHY do universities have to prove that overseas students are actually attending the university? Why is this so critical?

    Sure, I understand that you don't want the students getting jobs illegally. But what does that have to do with the university? Employers need to make sure that their workers have proper immigration status. It shouldn't be the university's responsibility. And beyond that, who cares?

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @04:43PM (#42303229)

    The UK is concerned that some of their international students are illegally working.

    If international student visa abuse is the problem . . . then why are they proposing to monitor the attendance of ALL students . . . ? Methinks they are planning to use this for something else in the future . . .

  • by Xugumad ( 39311 ) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @04:56PM (#42303299)

    That's fair, but I did want people to think about this.

    My suggestion was that we do wifi-pinging from student mobiles to cover most cases (as in you download an app and it checks you're in-range of our wifi), and use attendance at tutorials and 2-3 annual full checks (as in turn up with your passport so we can double check everything) to cover the requirement for more in-depth checks. Having tried ID card based lecture attendance, we've found mostly it's a huge pain; even when it works correctly it creates long queues at the start of lectures, and it's more hardware we have to manage. I don't imagine Newcastle will be doing fingerprint checks for long, personally...

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Saturday December 15, 2012 @05:09PM (#42303383) Homepage Journal

    Why don't you mind your own business? Unless the guy was part of your group and lagging behind in his share of the work, what he does during class is none of your fucking business, you little brown-nosed snitch.

    The least anyone who wants to watch TV on their laptop can do is sit in the back of the class. Motion is distracting. If it wasn't you'd have been hit by a bus already.

  • by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @05:14PM (#42303421) Journal
    The problem was not that he was watching TV, but rather watch such a high motion source that it was impossible to not be distracted by it. I told him and he complied, end of story. If you wanted to escalate it to physical violence i would have had you arrested by campus security. I have every right to speak to another human being about his behavior, you have no right to assault another human.
  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @05:21PM (#42303463)

    Although I abhor the practice of compulsory biometric tracking, in the case of employees I can at least see some small justification for it, because employees receive paycheques in exchange for adhering to their employers' rules.

    But when an institution to which I am paying money for a service wants my fingerprints so they can track me, they can just fuck right off. And the government too, for that matter. Brits ought to be calling loudly for the heads of the decision makers on this one.

    Although I believe it often goes too far, I'll admit the need for some kind of immigration monitoring and enforcement. But when that monitoring turns ordinary innocent citizens into the subjects of invasive surveillance, it's time to draw the line. This is 'death by a thousand cuts' stuff, and what's being cut and killed is our very freedom. This shit has to stop.

  • by 1s44c ( 552956 ) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @05:49PM (#42303619)

    Gotta have people coming over to do the jobs you don't want to at wages you won't work for. But we can't have them getting an education.

    This isn't to keep people out of education, it's to ensure those that signed on for a course as I requirement of getting a visa do turn up.

    Student visas are currently the easiest type of visa's to get for the UK. Once students (over)stay for 5 years they can apply for a permanent visa and in many cases claim benefits.

  • by xelah ( 176252 ) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @06:38PM (#42303873)
    You prove it by passing the exams at the end of your course. If you fail because you didn't go to the lectures you should have gone to....well, hard luck, and get saving for your next attempt. It's a university, not a school, and you shouldn't expect to get nannied like a child.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 15, 2012 @06:46PM (#42303927)

    "So we're forcing everyone to do this because of a few people who abuse the system?"

    Sadly, its not a "few" - its an organised traffic in illegal immigrants.

    Another way to remove the need for such draconian control systems would be to corral all would be overseas students in a reception centre and make them take entry exams at the appropriate level, in their own pedagogical language (ie the language used for teaching in their homeland), and a test in basic english. Fail either, and back they go at their own expense. I'd actually rate understanding English higher, after all the courses will be taught in English...

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