Parents of school children in the U.K. might understandably feel that their children’s privacy is increasingly under attack these past few weeks.
First, there was Waltham Forest Council administering questionnaires to students in schools with large Muslim enrollment asking how much the students trust the police and people from another race or religion.
And now Schools Week reveals that the Ministry of Defense sought private information on students:
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been blocked from obtaining highly sensitive personal data about school and college students, which had ostensibly been sought in order to help “target its messaging” around military careers.
A request to access the National Pupil Database (NPD) – which includes children’s addresses, absence figures and parental occupation – was made on behalf of the MoD last year. A spokesman for the government department told Schools Week this was an “error” made by an individual and not in line with its policy.
But ForcesWatch, a campaign group scrutinising army recruitment policies, said the fact the request was denied showed “how inappropriate the MoD’s intended use of the data was”.
Read more on Schools Week. The type of data the government would have had access to – if the request had been approved – includes students’ full name, address, date of birth, ethnicity, detailed descriptions of a child’s special educational needs, if their parents are in the services, personalised exclusion and absence figures, as well as whether they receive free school meals and details of their academic progress.
Being a parent has always been the toughest job in the world. Remaining vigilant to protect your child’s – and your family’s – privacy in this day and age is becoming increasingly time- and labor-intensive. But it’s worth it.