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The Belfast Newsletter published a story highlighting the creation of a Department of Education master database containing records of all school children.


Ms Ruane’s Department of Education has developed the multi-million pound eSchools Data project which is currently being phased in across the Province.

It allows each school to view details of their own pupils, parents and staff — but some officials at the Department of Education will be able to access information about any entry.

The DENI said in a statement:

“Access to the data warehouse and its reports is strictly controlled. Users are obliged to obey acceptable use policies and sign up to a statement of responsibility.”

PACE members wonder if this is the same level of responsibility exercised by the Education Minister applied to post-primary arrangements and the numeracy and literacy failures of the primary schools?

In a statement Mr Allister said:-

“ESA and the Department under Ruane will, at the touch of a button, have not just educational data on every child, but highly sensitive personal data, including the religion of every child, the home and work address of every child’s contact, normally their parents. To this I object. At this time of increased terrorist threat and given the history in Northern Ireland of republican terrorists targeting security personnel, it is madness to collate information of this sensitivity and make it available within a Department where it only takes one mole to feed the IRA with security-compromising information and we will have murder on our hands.”

The entire statement is available here. http://www.tuv.org.uk/press-releases/view/354/allister-objects-to-�big-brother�-data-collection-by-ruane�s-department

While not a word of concern has been raised by Northern Ireland MPs or MLAs on this subject teachers in Kent have expressed fury over a census which asked them about what car they drive. Source: Mail on Sunday. Glen Owen Political Corespondent.


Examples of the data collection tool

Datawarehouse form MOS

George Orwell couldn’t have anticipated this unintended consequence when he wrote 1984. It took a Northern Ireland Education Minister linked to the IRA’s  Columbia Three to find a back door entry into intelligence gathering methods.