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
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!