KSU said that the new draft of the controversial Legal Notice 76 of 2014 includes some of their own proposals. KSU had criticized the original version of this legal notice as it would have allegedly given the Ministry for Education and Employment the power to obtain any information about all students, including their ID card numbers and their parents’ names.
While the Government had said that it would only have used this information for ‘research purposes’, KSU had criticized the vagueness of the term ‘research’.
KSU had suggested that the government use ‘pseudonymised data’ as an alternative. This would involve a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and educational institutions with the latter providing every student with an index number. Therefore, the Ministry would be able to use students’ academic data to conduct the same research they had originally planned to while at the same time respecting their privacy.
KSU said that the new draft of the legal notice ensures that the Government cannot identify students unless it is required “under a specific law or it is in the best interest of the student, or if explicit consent by the parent/legal guardian is obtained”. Even in these cases, the students’ information will now have to be ‘rendered anonymous, deleted or destroyed’ afterwards, unless the students or their parents suggest otherwise.
What will the ‘research’ be though?
KSU said that it that the Ministry for Education and Employment and Data Protection Commissioner Saviour Balzan told them that students’ data will “at the moment, be used in national employment initiatives such as the Jobs+ Scheme, the Youth Guarantee Scheme and the Youth Employability Index”.
“The revised legal notice says that students’ data will be destroyed or made anonymous if they choose not to participate in these initiatives,” KSU said.
“We have taken an active role in discussing the revision of this legal notice during these last few months, even though we weren’t allowed to form part of the working group,” KSU said. “We are pleased that the working group took KSU’s proposals into consideration.”
“We are adamant that students’ data should always be respected and only used if it is in their interest.”