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O’Brien calls for committee hearing on hoarding of children’s personal information by Department

3 February, 2015 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Speaking from Leinster House today, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson, Deputy Jonathan O’Brien called on the Minister for Education to move quickly to answer concerns that parents have on the collection of PPS numbers and other sensitive personal information by her Department.

The Cork North Central TD said;

“We understand that essential future planning requires some form of data collection, however parents are being expected to handover PPS numbers and all sorts of information about their children to the Department of Education via their primary schools, with no sufficient explanation of why this is necessary.

“The Data Protection Commissioner has even said that the Department’s explanation is not sufficient and today we hear that there is an element of what could be considered racial profiling seeing as the only category of Irish available on the form is ‘white.’

“That the Department made such a blunder is appalling not to mention the lack of clarity around this large scale data grab.

“I have requested that the Oireachtas Education Committee hold a debate on this matter and that the Minister, representatives from the Department of Education and a range of privacy and data experts be asked for their views on the matter.

“There are huge risks attached to the collection and storage of this data and while the Minister is distracted with other issues such as the ongoing industrial action by teachers and the news that we are facing a shortage in third level places, I would caution her not to drop the ball on this.”

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