KSU concerned with Legal Notice empowering Minister to request information on students

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A few minutes ago, right after a “very urgent” KE meeting held this afternoon, KSU issued a statement expressing its serious concern about “the potential infringement of student data protection within LN76 of 2014.” The Legal Notice 76 was issued on the 4th March 2014.

Article 4 (1) of the Legal Notice states that “The Minister may from time to time require any educational institution to furnish in such manner as may be requested and within a reasonable time such data as the Minister may require with respect to students attending such educational institutions.”

According to Article 4 (2) “This data shall include a legally valid identification document number due to the importance of secure identification of students.” The data requisite may include “data relating to age, sex, ability, educational attainments and other data of the persons to whom they relate as appear to the Minister to be necessary to be used for research purposes and to provide for adequate advice to be given on employment prospects and to prepare plans for their training pursuant to the provisions of the Act.”(Article 4 (3))

“Any person who fails to comply with any request made under this article shall be guilty of an offence against the Act,” states Article 4 (4).

Article 5 of LN76 states that “The Minister may from time to time require the Employment and Training Corporation to provide any data, including a legally valid identification document number, he may require in relation to persons listed on the Register of persons seeking employment as established by article 11 of the Act and any other information it may have about any other person.”

KSU claims “This legal notice gives wide, and potentially abusive power to the Minister, who will be able to access, control and process sensitive and personal information (including ID Numbers) on every student in Malta and Gozo.” This, KSU believes to be of detriment to the students’ rights as well as their relatives’ as the legal notice “does not create an opt-out clause through which individuals can choose not to divulge their personal information.”

The Student Council also expressed its concern with regards to “meaning and definition of the word “research” which is the sole reason, given for the provisions in question”. KSU stated that they feel that “these measures are potentially illegal and non-conformant with EU and Maltese Data Protection laws, and ask whether the Data Protection Commissioner was consulted on the issue in question.”

While asking for the reasons these powers were given to the Minster and not ETC or NCFHE , KSU inquires “who will be responsible for research in the fields of employment and education, and also questions what kind of measures are or will be taken, to ensure the anonymous and correct use of this sensate information.”

In its statement KSU demanded the deletion of this Legal Notice “to ensure that every student in Malta as well as their relatives, are empowered to decide on how information which they’ve already given or information which they will be giving, is used.”

Attached: Legal Notice 76

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