GPS Tracking of School Children

P. John made this Freedom of Information request to Denbighshire County Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Sir or Madam,

concering reports in todays press concerning the use of GPS tracking devices to monitor childrens school attendance, please could you disclose for me

- Any instructions, notification, or guidance that is sent to parents

- Any method of obtaining (or refusing) consent that is made available to parent

- The technical specification of the tracking device used (for example, manufacturer, method of tracking GPS/RFID, data stored such as name/address/age/biometrics)

- Any compulsory requirement for children to present such cards when using local authority funded transport to attend school, and/or penalty measures which apply to children or parents who decline

- Any Privacy Impact Assessment that was conducted before rolling out this system

- Any assessment made of compatibility of this system with the ECHR and Human Rights Act 1998, particularly ECHR Article 5 (right to liberty), ECHR Article 7 (No punishment without law), ECHR Article 8 (right to privacy), ECHR Article 9 (freedom of conscience), ECHR Article 11 (freedom of association)

- Any assessment made of compatibility with ECHR Protocol 1, Article 2 (right not to be denied an education) 'No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical
convictions'.

- Any assessment made of compatibility with ECHR Protocol 4 (civil imprisonment, free movement) 'Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement'

- Any assessment made of the proportionality of these measures, particularly given Peter Daniels was quoted as saying "I have to say that in North-East Wales we don’t really see trouble and misbehaviour"

Yours faithfully,

P. John

P. John left an annotation ()

Links to news stories;

'Children tracked by sat nav to stop bad behaviour'
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtec...

'Satellite tracking for school bus'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/8009624...

'Pupils on school buses can now be tracked by parents thanks to GPS tickets'
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-...

Denbighshire County Council

Dear Mr/Mrs John,

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Request for Information

Thank you for your recent request for information held by Denbighshire County Council received 23 April 2009 regarding GPS Tracking Devices.

As set out by the Freedom of Information Act 2000 it will be our aim to respond to your request by 22 May 2009. In some cases, however, we may be unable to achieve this deadline. If this occurs we will advise you of the likely timescale within which the response will be provided.

Under the Freedom of Information Act the Council may charge for disbursement costs (e.g. photocopies, postage). However should there be any such costs, you will be notified of this prior to the commencement of any work.

Please do not hesitate to contact me for further advice or guidance relating to the above.

Yours sincerely,
Nicola Samuel

Nicola Samuel
Rheolwr Cofnodion/Archifydd
Records Manager/Archivist
Cyngor Sir Ddinbych/Denbighshire County Council

Ffôn/Telephone: 01824 707023/708245
Ffôn symudol/[mobile number]
E-bost: [email address]
E-mail: [email address]
Ffacs/Fax: 01824 708258
Gwefan: http://www.sirddinbych.gov.uk
Website: http://www.denbighshire.gov.uk

Mae'r wybodaeth a gynhwysir yn yr e-bost hwn ac unrhyw ffeiliau a drosglwyddir gydag o wedi eu bwriadu yn unig ar gyfer pwy bynnag y cyfeirir ef ato neu atynt. Os ydych wedi derbyn yr e-bost hwn drwy gamgymeriad, hysbyswch yr anfonwr ar unwaith os gwelwch yn dda.

Mae cynnwys yr e-bost yn cynrychioli barn yr unigolyn(ion) a enwir uchod ac nid yw o angenrheidrwydd yn cynrychioli barn Cyngor Sir Ddinbych. Serch hynny, fel Corff Cyhoeddus, efallai y bydd angen i Gyngor Sir Ddinbych ddatgelu'r e-bost hwn [neu unrhyw ymateb iddo] dan ddarpariaethau deddfwriaethol.

The information contained in this e-mail message and any files transmitted with it is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this e-mail in error please notify the sender immediately.

The contents of this e-mail represents the views of the individual(s) named above and do not necessarily represent the views of Denbighshire County Council. However, as a Public Body, Denbighshire County Council may be required to disclose this e-mail [or any response to it] under legislative provisions.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I'm disappointed to note that the 20 days allowed for a response to my Freedom of Information request have now passed.

Full details are here;
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/gp...

Please will you expedite a response to this request?

Yours sincerely,

P. John

Denbighshire County Council

Dear Mr. John,

Thank you for your request for information received 23 April 2009 regarding GPS Tracking Devices.

I apologise for the delay in responding to your request but the process of searching for the information you required is now complete and I can advise you as follows:

Q1. Any instructions, notification, or guidance that is sent to parents.

A1. Communication will be channelled through the selected schools to parents prior to the system going live, this information is not yet available as STAR has not been installed and the 'Zoom' project is not set to start for a number of months.

Q2. Any method of obtaining (or refusing) consent that is made available to parent.

A2. Parents will have the option to opt out of the trial if they wish. Opting out will not make any difference to that child's transport needs. Please note we are only testing the STAR product, parental response to the product will also be measured and added to the report.

Q3. The technical specification of the tracking device used (for example, manufacturer, method of tracking GPS/RFID, data stored such as name/address/age/biometrics).

A3. The technologies used include AVL based on GPS tracking, RFID smart cards to replace paper or cardboard photo IDs. GPRS data communication, GIS enabled service delivery Portal.

Q4. Any compulsory requirement for children to present such cards when using local authority funded transport to attend school, and/or penalty measures which apply to children or parents who decline.

A4. All the rules governing the use of the service prior to implementation of the project will be carried forward. i.e. No rule changes to previous card system.

Q5. Any Privacy Impact Assessment that was conducted before rolling out this system.

A5. A PIA has not, as yet, been conducted but it is intended that one will be carried out to help allay any privacy concerns.

Q6. Any assessment made of compatibility of this system with the ECHR and Human Rights Act 1998, particularly ECHR Article 5 (right to liberty), ECHR Article 7 (No punishment without law), ECHR Article 8 (right to privacy), ECHR Article 9 (freedom of conscience), ECHR Article 11 (freedom of association).

A6. No assessment of these ECHR Articles has been made but obviously consideration will be given to all legislation regarding privacy in a PIA.

Q7. Any assessment made of compatibility with ECHR Protocol 1, Article 2 (right not to be denied an education) 'No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions'.

A7. No.

Q8. Any assessment made of compatibility with ECHR Protocol 4 (civil imprisonment, free movement) 'Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement'.

A8. No.

Q9. Any assessment made of the proportionality of these measures, particularly given Peter Daniels was quoted as saying "I have to say that in North-East Wales we don’t really see trouble and misbehaviour"

A9. Councils are obliged to find the best tool to prevent any bullying, misdemeanours, misbehaviour and other potential safety issues whilst optimising service efficiency and transparency with a view to facilitate an improved learning environment for the children.

If I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

If you have any concerns about the manner in which the Council has dealt with your request for information please do not hesitate to contact me. Alternatively you can contact the Access to Information Feedback Officer, Records Management, 46 Clwyd Street, Ruthin, LL15 1HP. As I am sure you are aware the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is regulated by the Information Commissioner whose address is Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely,

Nicola Samuel
Rheolwr Cofnodion/Archifydd
Records Manager/Archivist
Cyngor Sir Ddinbych/Denbighshire County Council

Ffôn/Telephone: 01824 707023/708245
Ffôn symudol/[mobile number]
E-bost: [email address]
E-mail: [email address]
Ffacs/Fax: 01824 708258
Gwefan: http://www.sirddinbych.gov.uk
Website: http://www.denbighshire.gov.uk

Mae'r wybodaeth a gynhwysir yn yr e-bost hwn ac unrhyw ffeiliau a drosglwyddir gydag o wedi eu bwriadu yn unig ar gyfer pwy bynnag y cyfeirir ef ato neu atynt. Os ydych wedi derbyn yr e-bost hwn drwy gamgymeriad, hysbyswch yr anfonwr ar unwaith os gwelwch yn dda.

Mae cynnwys yr e-bost yn cynrychioli barn yr unigolyn(ion) a enwir uchod ac nid yw o angenrheidrwydd yn cynrychioli barn Cyngor Sir Ddinbych. Serch hynny, fel Corff Cyhoeddus, efallai y bydd angen i Gyngor Sir Ddinbych ddatgelu'r e-bost hwn [neu unrhyw ymateb iddo] dan ddarpariaethau deddfwriaethol.

The information contained in this e-mail message and any files transmitted with it is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this e-mail in error please notify the sender immediately.

The contents of this e-mail represents the views of the individual(s) named above and do not necessarily represent the views of Denbighshire County Council. However, as a Public Body, Denbighshire County Council may be required to disclose this e-mail [or any response to it] under legislative provisions.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Denbighshire Council's handling of my FOI request 'GPS Tracking of School Children'.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/gp...

In particular, the response received did not include the following items of information I require.

Q2/Q4 Obtaining consent, compulsory requirement, and penalties.

The answers given refer only to a trial.

Please could you elaborate; do you envisage that once operational, transport services will be denied to all parents who decline to participate in GPS/RFID tracking of their children?

Q3 The technical specification of the device used (for
example, manufacturer, method of tracking GPS/RFID, data stored such as name/address/age/biometrics)

I would expect this to be formally documented, and details of the method of operation, and data held on the card to be defined in a design specification provided to the local authority.

Please could you provide those technical specification/design specification documents verbatim, as requested.

I am keen to see in detail how this card would compare with the proposed National Identity card (and other similar schemes).

Q5 Concering a PIA

A PIA is intended to capture requirements, and identify risk factors prior to design and development of a project.

ICO state "A PIA should be conducted at an early stage of a project".

Consequently, I would expect to see a PIA created before a project (or even a trial) commences. Please could you reconsider whether such a document exists, or if it doesn't exist, reconsider the stage at which you propose to conduct a privacy impact assessment?

It think it likely a PIA would reveal significant privacy risks associated with this scheme that have not been sufficiently addressed (and risks that would call into question the proportionality of the measures you propose).

Yours sincerely,

P. John

Denbighshire County Council

Dear Mr. John,

I acknowledge receipt of your letter received 27 May 2009 requesting that we review our response to your request for information concerning GPS Tracking Devices.

A review will be conducted and in accordance with the Act we aim to respond to you by 24 June 2009. However, if we are unable to complete the review by this date we will advise you accordingly.

If we can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Nicola Samuel
Rheolwr Cofnodion/Archifydd
Records Manager/Archivist
Cyngor Sir Ddinbych/Denbighshire County Council

Ffôn/Telephone: 01824 707023/708245
Ffôn symudol/[mobile number]
E-bost: [email address]
E-mail: [email address]
Ffacs/Fax: 01824 708258
Gwefan: http://www.sirddinbych.gov.uk
Website: http://www.denbighshire.gov.uk

Mae'r wybodaeth a gynhwysir yn yr e-bost hwn ac unrhyw ffeiliau a drosglwyddir gydag o wedi eu bwriadu yn unig ar gyfer pwy bynnag y cyfeirir ef ato neu atynt. Os ydych wedi derbyn yr e-bost hwn drwy gamgymeriad, hysbyswch yr anfonwr ar unwaith os gwelwch yn dda.

Mae cynnwys yr e-bost yn cynrychioli barn yr unigolyn(ion) a enwir uchod ac nid yw o angenrheidrwydd yn cynrychioli barn Cyngor Sir Ddinbych. Serch hynny, fel Corff Cyhoeddus, efallai y bydd angen i Gyngor Sir Ddinbych ddatgelu'r e-bost hwn [neu unrhyw ymateb iddo] dan ddarpariaethau deddfwriaethol.

The information contained in this e-mail message and any files transmitted with it is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this e-mail in error please notify the sender immediately.

The contents of this e-mail represents the views of the individual(s) named above and do not necessarily represent the views of Denbighshire County Council. However, as a Public Body, Denbighshire County Council may be required to disclose this e-mail [or any response to it] under legislative provisions.

Denbighshire County Council

Dear Mr John,

Following your request for us to review our previous response in connection with your request for information received 23 April 2009 concerning GPS Tracking Devices I can advise you that we have now completed the review.

Q2/Q4. Obtaining consent, compulsory requirement, and penalties. The answers given refer only to a trial. Please could you elaborate; do you envisage that once operational, transport services will be denied to all parents who decline to participate in GPS/RFID tracking of their children?

A2/A4. Parents will have the option to opt out of the trial if they wish. Opting out will not make any difference to that child's transport needs, they will receive the same card as those taking part in the trial but their details will not register on the system. This is only a one year trial and obviously no decision has yet been made regarding the adoption of this system or any rule changes. I can confirm under section 1(1a) (General right of access to information held by public authorities) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 we do not hold this information. Can I also reiterate that it is the buses that are actually tracked not the children, the children are only logged on and off the bus.

Q3 The technical specification of the device used (for example, manufacturer, method of tracking GPS/RFID, data stored such as name/address/age/biometrics) I would expect this to be formally documented, and details of the method of operation, and data held on the card to be defined in a design specification provided to the local authority. Please could you provide those technical specification/design specification documents verbatim, as requested. I am keen to see in detail how this card would compare with the proposed National Identity card (and other similar schemes).

A3. The manufacturer of the system is Gep Tec Ltd. The system uses a combination of technologies, including AVL (Automatic vehicle location) based on GPS tracking, RFID smart cards to replace paper or cardboard photo IDs., GPRS data communication, and a GIS enabled service delivery Portal. The information stored (on a secure council server) about each participating child is the same as currently stored for the existing system, that is, name, address, gender, DOB, photo, school, pick up and drop off point.

Q5 Concerning a PIA A PIA is intended to capture requirements, and identify risk factors prior to design and development of a project. ICO state "A PIA should be conducted at an early stage of a project". Consequently, I would expect to see a PIA created before a project (or even a trial) commences. Please could you reconsider whether such a document exists, or if it doesn't exist, reconsider the stage at which you propose to conduct a privacy impact assessment? It think it likely a PIA would reveal significant privacy risks associated with this scheme that have not been sufficiently addressed (and risks that would call into question the proportionality of the measures you propose).

A5. As stated in my previous response, a PIA has not yet been conducted but one is planned for the very near future. I can confirm under section 1(1a) (General right of access to information held by public authorities) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 we do not hold this information.

If you remain dissatisfied with our response or have any concerns about the manner in which the Council has dealt with your request, you have the right to refer this to the Information Commissioner whose address is Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF who will consider your complaint.

If I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,
Nicola Samuel

Nicola Samuel
Rheolwr Cofnodion/Archifydd
Records Manager/Archivist
Cyngor Sir Ddinbych/Denbighshire County Council

Ffôn/Telephone: 01824 707023/708245
Ffôn symudol/[mobile number]
E-bost: [email address]
E-mail: [email address]
Ffacs/Fax: 01824 708258
Gwefan: http://www.sirddinbych.gov.uk
Website: http://www.denbighshire.gov.uk

Mae'r wybodaeth a gynhwysir yn yr e-bost hwn ac unrhyw ffeiliau a drosglwyddir gydag o wedi eu bwriadu yn unig ar gyfer pwy bynnag y cyfeirir ef ato neu atynt. Os ydych wedi derbyn yr e-bost hwn drwy gamgymeriad, hysbyswch yr anfonwr ar unwaith os gwelwch yn dda.

Mae cynnwys yr e-bost yn cynrychioli barn yr unigolyn(ion) a enwir uchod ac nid yw o angenrheidrwydd yn cynrychioli barn Cyngor Sir Ddinbych. Serch hynny, fel Corff Cyhoeddus, efallai y bydd angen i Gyngor Sir Ddinbych ddatgelu'r e-bost hwn [neu unrhyw ymateb iddo] dan ddarpariaethau deddfwriaethol.

The information contained in this e-mail message and any files transmitted with it is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this e-mail in error please notify the sender immediately.

The contents of this e-mail represents the views of the individual(s) named above and do not necessarily represent the views of Denbighshire County Council. However, as a Public Body, Denbighshire County Council may be required to disclose this e-mail [or any response to it] under legislative provisions.