Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Lecturers Take Ratings Data Complaints to ICO: News

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Lecturers Take Ratings Data Complaints to ICO: News

Article excerpt

The Information Commissioner's Office is looking into the handling of personal data by Rate Your Lecturer, a website that encourages students to publicly comment on the performance of their university teachers.

The ICO, the UK's independent authority for upholding information rights, has responded to at least two complaints about the site from lecturers. Rate Your Lecturer denies that it has broken any rules.

The site, launched by Sterling Ideas earlier this year, attempts to give a full list of academic staff at each UK higher education institution.

Bill Cooke, head of the department of organisation, work and technology at Lancaster University Management School, previously raised concerns that because the site was not registered as a data controller with the ICO - a requirement for firms that store personal data - it was in breach of data- protection rules.

Professor Cooke, along with at least one other lecturer, made a formal complaint to the ICO, alleging that the website refused to remove his personal details when requested to do so - something that he believes the site is obliged to do. The ICO has confirmed that it is investigating "several complaints" relating to Sterling Ideas under the Data Protection Act. …

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