Can my school share information about me without my permission?


Just like adults, children and young people have the right to have their information protected and their privacy respected. They also have the right to access information that organisations hold about them and to have it corrected when it isn’t accurate.

Your rights

Article 16 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is about the child’s right to privacy. It says that every child should:

  • know that information is held about them,
  • know why information about them is being held,
  • know who controls any information about them,
  • know who has access to the records of information about them, and
  • be able to have inaccurate information about them deleted or corrected.

In the UK your information rights are also safeguarded by the Data Protection Act 2018. This Act says that you have the right to find out what information the government and other organisations store about you. These include the right to:

  • be informed about how your data is being used,
  • access personal data,
  • have incorrect data updated,
  • have data erased,
  • stop or restrict the processing of your data,
  • object to how your data is processed in certain circumstances, and
  • data portability (allowing you to get and reuse your data for different services).

In the UK your information rights are also safeguarded by the Data Protection Act 2018. The Act says that you have the right to find out what information the government and other organisations store about you. These include the right to:

You also have rights when an organisation is using your personal data for:

  • automated decision-making processes, which happen without human involvement, or
  • profiling, so they can do something like predicting your behaviour or interests.

What you can do

If you think your school may have shared information about you when they shouldn’t have, you can ask the school to tell you what information they have shared, who they shared it with and why they shared it.

You could then ask the Information Commissioner’s Office in Scotland whether your personal information may have been shared incorrectly. If it has been, you can make a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner’s advice line number is 0303 123 1113.

A:

Your personal information is any information that can be identified as being about you.

For example, imagine we sent out a form that asked you to tell us your name, which school you went to and your opinion about something.

There probably isn’t anyone else at your school who has the same name as you, so we’d be able to work out that you personally had given us that opinion.

That would make your name and the school you went to personal information, because we could use it to identify you. It also means the opinion you put down on the form is your personal information. 

Some personal information is called special category data, which has extra protections because it’s more sensitive than other personal information.

A:

Special category data is particularly sensitive personal information. Because it’s more open to misuse than other personal information, there are extra protections around it.

It includes information about someone’s:

  • Race or ethnic origin
  • Political opinions
  • Religious or philosophical beliefs
  • Trade union membership
  • Genetic data
  • Biometric data (when used to identify someone)
  • Health
  • Sex life
  • Sexual orientation

Sometimes we will need special category data to help us resolve issues that affect the rights of individual or groups of children and young people in Scotland.

We also ask people to share some of this information with us to help us meet our equalities duties.

A:

If you are a child or a young person and would like advice and information from the Commissioner’s office – or to tell us something you’re worried about – you can contact Linda, Nick or Maria by:

  • using the form at the bottom of our website
  • emailing us at inbox@cypcs.org.uk
  • texting 0770 233 5720 (Texts will be charged at your standard network rate)
  • calling our children and young people’s freephone on 0800 019 1179.

We can also give advice and information about children’s rights issues to adults—please contact us on inbox@cypcs.org.uk or through using our contact form.

top