Children’s most personal details being stored without their parents knowledge

Without their parent’s knowledge, the personal information of approximately eight million children – information that includes their age, gender, behavioural and academic records and results – are being stored on a secret database.

The ‘One’ system, owned by Capita, have the capacity to share this confidential information with other parties, including youth offending teams, social services and other external agencies. Notably, charities, the police and even the NHS have access to the database.

Remarkably, schoolteachers are said to apparently filling the database with information up to six times daily, across 22,000 schools across the United Kingdom. The argument is that this provides a thread of information for all those interacting with children in their working environment.

The information is often accompanied by a picture of the respective child, taken by photographers hired by Capita, who are one of the country’s leading contractors, providing data to both local and central government. According to The Sunday Times, approximately 100 local authorities are putting the database to use.

Quite specific details about a child’s mental illnesses or special needs are available via the database, as are school are police behavioural records. This is alongside the other more basic information available such as a child’s school attendance record or their home address. Furthermore, there is no time frame on how long this information can be held on the database, and the majority of parents are not informed of this concerning fact.

Nick Pickles, the Director of Civil Liberties and Privacy at campaign group Big Brother Watch, spoke of how ‘shocked’ parents will be following the revelations about the database. He said that they have been ‘kept in the dark’ about how the information regarding their children is being gathered, as well as being told nothing about what said information is used for, and what purpose the database holds.

 

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