It is only a matter of time before schools become engulfed in scandals over breaches of their pupils’ data, a leading expert has warned. Tes reports
The claim comes amid a growing number of schools reporting data breaches to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at the University of Cambridge, outlined fears that the education system was at risk of the sort of high-profile failings that have hit the NHS in recent years.
“There are gazillions of companies using all sorts of computerised learning materials and schools are inhaling this without much pause for thought,” he told Tes.
“The first thing [schools] must do is understand and have a list of all the personal data they keep and for what purpose, and figure out in advance what the lawful justification for that is, and is it something for which you need consent.
“Exactly the same risk applies to systems in schools [as in the NHS] which set out to collect what amounts to health data. What is it doing sitting on a server in Taiwan?”
Unless the school retains ownership of the data, it can be sold on, with the school having no idea who is using it and why. Although GDPR has made schools more aware of privacy issues, Professor Anderson said there was still a long way to go.
“I suspect that if a rigorous GDPR audit was given to the average school in England and Wales they would fail by a mile,” he said. “They often have no clue what is being hoovered up, by whom and to what use it is being put.”
Read the full article Investigation: Schools heading for pupil data scandal
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or just someone who cares about education and has something to get off your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.
We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!