Student finance body’s use of spy software infringes privacy rules

DUO, the body in charge of student finance, has confirmed it infringed the privacy rules by placing tracking software in their communications to students, broadcaster NOS reports, following an earlier inquiry by the Volkskrant.

The software shows whether or not a person has opened an email, something that could be used as proof, for instance, if a dispute ends up in court and a student denies having read an email from the organisation.

Collecting data which can be linked to an individual is not allowed, however, and the organisation has now suspended the practice after privacy watchdog AP said it ‘very likely’ contravened privacy rules.

‘We always assumed that what we were doing was within the boundaries of the law,’ a DUO spokesperson told the broadcaster. ‘We don’t want to give the impression we are operating in a grey area so we are putting it [the tracking] on halt for now. We are not using any of the data at the moment.’

DUO will be starting talks with AP to see how the data can be used legally after the summer.

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