I made a complaint regarding the treatment of Junior Infants data by the Department of Education in their latest effort to make their Primary Online Database legal. I received no substantial response, and so I forwarded the complaint to the Data Protection Commissioner. After that, I received the reply below.
Complaint regarding the legality of the current Primary Online Database scheme as it applies to Junior Infants
Dear Sirs, I am writing to you to object to operation of the Primary Online Database scheme as it applies to Junior Infant students.
Ever since the introduction of the Primary Online Database of schoolchildren by the Department of Education, the Department and its Minister have been eager to point out that any parent who refused to allow a child’s data to be transferred would see that child’s education defunded. Well, for all children other than this week’s crop of new Junior Infants, that threat has now collapsed.
The misbegotten Primary Online Database project is on its third piece of legislation designed to try to make it legal. On the 21st July, The Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton signed a Ministerial Order seeking to try to provide a legislative basis for the transfer of children’s data from schools to the Department of Education. You can take a look at SI 317 of 2015 here.
Department of Education refuses FOI regarding database of children because it would reveal their position
Rather missing the point of an FOI Act, the Department of Education has refused to release documents relating to the Primary Online Database- which the Data Protection Commissioner’s Office has confirmed is operating without proper legal basis.
The Data Protection Commissioner's Office today confirmed that, having investigated the Primary Online Database, they found that parental concerns raised were valid and that, even following changes to the scheme in April, the POD would require further legislation to be lawful.
Tweeter @johnhamill151 FOI'd his children's data from POD and yesterday published what he got back. To his surprise, he discovered the Department was storing data in POD on his kids which was completely unrelated to their primary school education and data of a sort he had never been aware would be collected or stored.
Dept of Education abandon March deadline for POD, confirm both new Circular and revised data use statement needed first
The text of the latest statement from the Department of Education to Primary Schools:Dear Principal,Thank you for your continued participation and engagement in the POD project. As you know both schools and the Department have received a number of comments and queries on certain aspects of the operation of POD.
Text of today's message:Dear Principal,Thank you all for your continued participation and engagement in the POD project. Please note that the Department is committed to taking on board feedback from schools and parents about POD. In light of this please be aware of the following changes that will be released on POD on 4th March 2015 at 10.