Video – Student loans firm accused of ‘KGB tactics’ for assessing eligibility

Student Loans Company applicants should expect to have their Facebook posts and social media activity vetted as part of the approval process, despite a senior MP condemning such surveillance as “sinister, KGB knock-on-the-door” tactics. The Guardian reports.

Christian Brodie, the SLC’s chair, told a committee of MPs that the company gathered evidence from social media to determine eligibility for student loans because it regarded personal Facebook accounts as a public source of information.

“If people have public sources of information about themselves then they must expect that will be looked at,” Brodie told parliament’s education select committee.

Brodie defended the SLC’s practice under robust questioning from the committee’s chair, the Conservative MP Robert Halfon.

“Social media tends to be public. We have a duty to make sure that the taxpayers’ funds are being properly disbursed, and if there are public sources of information the terms and conditions on which people apply allow us to look at public sources of information,” he said.

Halfon repeatedly pressed Brodie to say whether he personally approved of the SLC’s use of social media to uncover sensitive information.

“Surely that is an abuse. You’re creating a surveillance society. How can it be right to trawl people’s social media accounts?” Halfon said. “I find this really sinister, to be honest, because people don’t always use privacy settings and they might have deeply emotional issues or family trauma, rightly or wrongly.”

Read the full article and watch the video of the Student Loans Company chair repeatedly ignoring the question on social media surveillance Video – Student loans firm accused of ‘KGB tactics’ for assessing eligibility

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