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How do you do....it? Thread, Email monitoring and DPA/child protection question in Technical; Hi guys, I was just reading through last weeks staff meeting minutes and saw that the deputy head (also child ...
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    Email monitoring and DPA/child protection question

    Hi guys,

    I was just reading through last weeks staff meeting minutes and saw that the deputy head (also child protection nominated thingy) took it upon herself to remind all memebers of staff that "...there are ongoing email checks on staff work email account in relation to Child Protection...".

    Speaking to staff that were there she implied that we/me/she just dips in at random and looks through peoples work email for the above reasons. I was under the impression that I could have a filter in place that checks email annonymously and flags any keywords etc. for further investigation. I can't just say right, today I will check through Mr English teachers mail. Surely I have to have a reason to go looking into somebodies email account before I do?!?

    Can anybody please enlighten me to the DPA and child protection issues concerning this?

    Thanks in advance

    Ben

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    As long as there is a statement in your AUP which states that users should not consider email wholely private you are covered to do random checks. Obviously, none of us do unless there is an area of concern, but it does sometimes happen.

    Sounds like the deputy head may have concerns you are not aware of at the moment, as email filters,etc do not deal with potential inappropriate contact with kids or over the top coursework assistance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by f21970 View Post
    As long as there is a statement in your AUP which states that users should not consider email wholely private you are covered to do random checks. Obviously, none of us do unless there is an area of concern, but it does sometimes happen.

    Sounds like the deputy head may have concerns you are not aware of at the moment, as email filters,etc do not deal with potential inappropriate contact with kids or over the top coursework assistance.
    I agree with this - it appears that they may have heard things on the grapevine and are pre-warning staff before it gets out of hand.

    I must admit, it is mentioned in our staff AUP here, but we would only check if really necessary. Its not something we do as part of a regular task etc.

    If you are checking staff mail accounts, I would make sure you were not doing this on your own and ensure that another member of staff is with you as a witness to what you may find.

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    As others have said, if the AUP says the school can snoop in on the email then that's that as far as i would be concerned.
    The schools email system is owned and operated by the school, the email sent are usually in school time, on school equipment and has the schools name plastered all over them.
    Thow in a 'potential' child protection issue and I think the school is on very safe ground.

    Having said this, it might be a good idea to get it in writing if you have been nominated as the person to do the checking. Teachers are a funny bunch and they might not like the idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by f21970 View Post
    As long as there is a statement in your AUP which states that users should not consider email wholely private you are covered to do random checks.
    I'm sorry, but I believe that you are incorrect. It is never acceptable to do random checks on staff. Just because you have a statement in a document does not affect other statutory rights that staff have. I have legal qualifications and from what I recall the privacy laws as they exist, and what takes affect from EU case law is very murky. I would seek legal advice before even considering such a thing.
    From what I recall you are covered where you believe there is improper use being carried out, but not for random fishing trips.

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    DPrince (1st February 2011)

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