Betting businesses used education data of 28m UK children: Report

News by SC Staff

Betting companies have accessed a large, detailed database of the personal details of 28 million UK children, held by the Learning Records Service

Betting companies have accessed a large, detailed database of the educational and personal details of 28 million children in the UK, reported The Times.

The database held by the Learning Records Service (LRS), operated by the Skills Funding Agency, contains names, ages and addresses of children aged 14 and above in state schools, private schools and colleges in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

An investigation by The Times found that UK-based data company GB group was given access to the LRS database. GB gained access because of the age and identity verification services it provides to its clients, which include UK-based betting and gambling businesses such as 32Red and Betfair.

According to the report, companies have used the information to increase the number of young people who gamble online, while privacy rules clearly states that the database should only be used for educational reasons.

"All organisations that have control of personal data about you and that we store in the LRS are required to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office and to handle your information in accordance with the latest data protection legislation," said the LRS privacy notice

"The LRS is accessible by organisations under agreement with the DfE (England). Your personal information is only accessed through the LRS by organisations specifically linked to your education and training, including those organisations specified in Regulations made under section 537A of the Education Act."

LRS stores the personal learning records for 66 years. "We may need to keep your other personal information where held indefinitely for research and statistical purposes," the privacy notice said.

According to the website, the subjects have the right to restrict the processing of their personal data and using it for "direct marketing (including profiling) and processing for the purposes of scientific/historical research and statistics".

"This is a massive breach of privacy made even worse by the fact that it fountains information about minors," observed Peter Draper, technical director EMEA at Gurucul.

"This demographic is a huge target for gaming companies to be able to get them hooked to their revenue generating machines at a time when they are going to be moving from school to work and be able have some disposable income. It is shocking that this is not more tightly controlled." 

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