UK Information Commissioner John Edwards has criticized the Department for Education (DFE) for allowing betting firms to access the personal information and exam results of children.
Edwards said if the DFE was a private company, he would have fined it £10 million, but decided not to do so because the money would still go back to the government.
The data was accessed by Trustopia, a company that provides age verification service to betting companies. One of the companies that used Trustopia’s access was GB Group, which helped Betfair, 32Red, and other companies with age verification. Trustopia had access to the database between September 2018 and January 2020.
“No one needs persuading that a database of pupils’ learning records being used to help gambling companies is unacceptable. Our investigation found that the processes put in place by the DFE were woeful,” Edwards said.
“Data was being misused, and the DFE was unaware there was even a problem. We all have an absolute right to expect that our central government departments treat the data they hold on us with the utmost respect and security. Even more so when it comes to the information of 28 million children.”
By the time the Information Commissioner concluded the investigation, Trustopia was already dissolved, so no regulatory action could be taken.
Edwards said that the decision not to take action against the DFE “should not detract from how serious the errors we have highlighted were, nor how urgently they needed addressing by the DFE.”