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General Chat Thread, child protection teacher :: accessing content on phones. in General; ...
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    child protection teacher :: accessing content on phones.

    Hi. I have just been told by my 14 year old sister. That the child protection teacher.(just a normal teach, but with other responsibilities) has "a special cable" that can access content on students mobile phones if he believes its a child protection issue...

    Thing Iím asking is... this phone is actually owned by myself (my contract, my sister using it) so he therefore (I would of thought) needed to ask myself, before accessing any content!

    Obviously there are cables and software packages out there, that the police use to access content to use as evidence in a court of law... but this is quite a legal issue.... i would of though, the teacher would need a warrant to access any content....

    It just doesn't sound right. is this just a hollow threat. Or should I be looking into this further?

    Just to clear things up.. there has been photos put on facebook and myspace that the teachers have been made aware of, of a house party with alcohol available...(what brings another thing to mind... what is the law for drinking at home. under the supervision of a responsible adult(one of the Childs mums) )


    i thought id ask for advice, because this sound to me, like a gray area!

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    HMCTech's Avatar
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    Ask to see the schools Child Protection Code of Conduct that the teacher will have to adhere to. Also the schools policy on the subjects are available to you if you were to contact the school. Also your sister would/should of signed an Acceptable use policy when she joined the school it would be worth re reading that.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom-Kirby View Post
    Hi. I have just been told by my 14 year old sister. That the child protection teacher.(just a normal teach, but with other responsibilities) has "a special cable" that can access content on students mobile phones if he believes its a child protection issue...

    Thing Iím asking is... this phone is actually owned by myself (my contract, my sister using it) so he therefore (I would of thought) needed to ask myself, before accessing any content!

    Obviously there are cables and software packages out there, that the police use to access content to use as evidence in a court of law... but this is quite a legal issue.... i would of though, the teacher would need a warrant to access any content....

    It just doesn't sound right. is this just a hollow threat. Or should I be looking into this further?
    It sounds like it could be illegal for that teacher to look at the contents of that phone, because she is not a police officer/bailiff and is not executing a warrant.

    If there was a suspicion of a child protection issue, then it would have to be passed to whatever agency is in charge of that now (they change names so often) and they could then work with the police to get hold of such equipment.

    Just to clear things up.. there has been photos put on facebook and myspace that the teachers have been made aware of, of a house party with alcohol available...(what brings another thing to mind... what is the law for drinking at home. under the supervision of a responsible adult(one of the Childs mums) )
    It is perfectly legal to drink alcohol in the home with a responsible adult present.


    i thought id ask for advice, because this sound to me, like a gray area!
    I think it is something you should run by a solicitor really, as child protection is a complex area of law.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Could she be making it up to discourage them?

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    Is your sister allowed a mobile phone in school?

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    There is no legal right for any member of staff in a school to perform this action, not the Child Protection Officer, not the Network Manager, not the head.

    It is actually a breach of the DPA (data protection principle number 2 - Personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes.) The contents of the phone are personal data on a device that the member of staff has no rights to. It might even stray into the CMA too as it may have been done without the permission of the owner or operator.

    As already mentioned, check that school policies in particular Child Protection, the AUP (the school needs to have logged proof that the AUP has been seen by the student if there is anything remotely about free access to personal devices such as mobiles, mp3 players or other digital devices) and behaviour policy.

    If there is any thought that information on these phones may be of help to something the school is dealing with then parents should be notified, unless they are part of the issue, in which case there are set people who *have* to be involved for it to go any further including LA Children's Officers, Social Services and the Police.

    If it is a case of your sister has been asked and agreed then it is a problem between you and your sister, but it is unethical to have asked in the first place. If she has been *told* to do it (and the way things like this are worded are often phrased so that there is no other possible answer but to agree to it) then it is not legal and should be contested.

    If nothing else it will force the school to tighten up their policies and procedures so that when it comes to a case of child abuse or neglect the information the school helps to obtain will stand up in a court of law. There is nothing worse than an investigation being thrown out because of someone not gathering information and evidence by the book.

    Likewise, if this is allowed to go unchecked it could be abused by other members of staff in the school.

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    Ok. After talking to her more, it seems that the "special cable" is just "talk" between the students.

    but she has said that her phone gets taken from her for no reason what so ever, and that new messages are showing as "read"....

    im not happy about this, and Iím going to be tightening up security on her phone(a timeout of 5 mins, locking full use until a pin is put in, on the phone(not the sim, otherwise a change of sim will override this security..) )

    as for the "special Cable" that is capable of reading phones memory by passing the phones security, I know that there is software capable of doing it. And am not happy that it could possibly be used without anyone knowing...

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    contink's Avatar
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    One obvious question to ask before you go busting skulls at school...

    Are mobile phones permitted and if so under what terms... I know of a few schools where they're banned outright.

    More importantly though, it sounds like you're descending into the trap of righteous indignation with only one side of the story and not a whole lot of facts re: AUP, policies, etc... It might be worth finding that out from the school, apply it to what you're being told, question your daughter more closely regarding actual actions and suggest that a meeting with her there and the appropriate head of year, etc... was in line. If the story changes you may find out a bit more intel... All before going in guns blazing and potentially looking a teensy bit foolish.

    Of course there's every possibility that your daughter is telling the unvarnished truth and it's all a bit sinister but better to be sure and this is just a suggestion.

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    Just to clear things up.. there has been photos put on facebook and myspace that the teachers have been made aware of, of a house party with alcohol available...(what brings another thing to mind... what is the law for drinking at home. under the supervision of a responsible adult(one of the Childs mums) )
    There's no law against drinking at home, or for a parent or any other adult to offer a child alcohol. There's something I can't quite bring to mind regarding being asked by someone under the legal drinking age to go into a shop and buy some alcohol for them, which I think comes under being complicit in an illegal act, and just giving away a drink to a youngster, which may be morally wrong, especially if the child is not yours, but is not illegal, as then any parent in the scenario above would be guilty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by beeswax View Post
    There's no law against drinking at home, or for a parent or any other adult to offer a child alcohol. There's something I can't quite bring to mind regarding being asked by someone under the legal drinking age to go into a shop and buy some alcohol for them, which I think comes under being complicit in an illegal act, and just giving away a drink to a youngster, which may be morally wrong, especially if the child is not yours, but is not illegal, as then any parent in the scenario above would be guilty.
    Under the license granted to retailers for the sale of alcohol, it is against the law to sell alcohol to an adult if you know it is going to be passed onto a person underage.

    It is also an offence for anyone to buy or try to buy, or have alcohol supplied to him, on behalf of a child - in other words it's an offence for someone to buy alcohol intending to give it to a child, for example one waiting outside an off-licence or supermarket
    More information here - Youth Information UK Licensing Laws explained

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    There is no legal right for any member of staff in a school to perform this action, not the Child Protection Officer, not the Network Manager, not the head.

    It is actually a breach of the DPA (data protection principle number 2 - Personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes.) The contents of the phone are personal data on a device that the member of staff has no rights to. It might even stray into the CMA too as it may have been done without the permission of the owner or operator.
    The key point here is that the means of communication was privately owned. The DPA does not outlaw the use of Securus and similar products which may intercept private communications. So theoretically a student could use the phone to send a bullying text or transmit a happy slapping clip under the noses of school staff but a bullying forum post using a school computer could be intercepted.

    Teachers can still intercept paper notes between students in class (though privately owned) because they are not part of a well organised filing system.

    Do searches through bags, lockers, coat pockets have to take place in front of police and/or parents if the student has not consented?

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