Higher Education data: social media monitoring

Jen Persson made this Freedom of Information request to Aberystwyth University as part of a batch sent to 124 authorities

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Aberystwyth University,

FOI request re: Student social media monitoring

Please provide the following information under the FOI Act 2000, regards processing of students' social media accounts, whether routinely or based on an individual need case -- for example but not exclusively, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, WhatsApp, Tumblr, Pinterest, Flickr and Medium-- by or on behalf of the University in a formal, systemic or other recognised process for investigations including for University PR or management of reputational risk purposes. (This excludes for example, one Academic looking at one student's posts for personal reasons.) Relevant time period: since January 2016.

1. Provide a copy of your University policy for your administrators or equivalent, on the monitoring or use of social media in investigations, for the purposes of the Prevent programme, including for reputational management. (please confirm if you do not have one, and which do apply)

2. Does your University either conduct overt (ie students are informed) and/or covert (students are not explicitly informed at the time of the surveillance) social media intelligence gathering?

a. If yes (2), please specify whether this includes profiling individuals, conducting investigations, monitoring individuals, monitoring groups, monitoring locations, gathering intelligence, for recruitment purposes, or purposes of reputational risk, or state what it is if other.

b. If your University does conduct social media intelligence/monitoring, please specify which social media may be in scope.

c. Does your University conduct social media monitoring exclusively for the purposes of the Prevent programme?

d. If yes, to c. if the University has conducted covert social media monitoring, for the purposes of the Prevent programme, please confirm the number of any warrants obtained in the last two years for this purpose, or police or Home Office requests to do so, if any or none.

3. If you conduct social media intelligence relating to social media platforms, please provide a copy of:

a. Relevant [sections of the] privacy policy;
b. the data protection impact assessment;
c. privacy impact assessment;
d. equality and human rights impact assessment
e. training materials for those conducting social media surveillance

Please state if you do not have any of the above.

4. Please confirm whether or not your University uses software and/or hardware to conduct social network / social media monitoring and/or in relation to sentiment analysis on social media.

a. If yes, please state the name of the company / provider.

b. If no, please state whether the University has developed internal methods to conduct automated analysis of social media / social network monitoring.

5. Please confirm, if not stated already in the above, the policy on deletion of data obtained from social networking sites.

6. If not already set out in the guidance documents above, please explain:

a. In what areas of the University’s work social media monitoring is used (ie finance department)
b. What criteria must be satisfied in order for social media monitoring to be carried out
c. Who must authorise the request to conduct social media monitoring
d. What is the process for conducting social media monitoring
e. How long is data collected and retained?
f. Is there any process for requesting deletion by the subject (person whose social media is surveilled)?

7. Please state how regularly social media monitoring is used, on what volume of individuals (ie targeted for individual situations or every students on the network) Please provide the figures as available, preferably in excel, and by month or on the available basis you have, since January 2016.

8. Please provide the organisational name of any third party or authority to whom such information gathered has been passed on, and which information types (e.g. name, report of X) in the time period since the University has undertaken such monitoring. (For example but not only: Since January 2016 -- X number of referals to Student disciplinary boards, X to internal student loans administration, X to external student loan administration (Student Loans Company or other), HESA, the OfS, Other universities, Police, the Home Office.) etc.

9. If the university does monitor students' social media, please cofirm if the same policy has continued and been applied since March 23, 2020 (lockdown) in the COVID-19 crisis?

Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,

Jen Persson

Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth Information Governance [infstaff], Aberystwyth University

Dear Jen Persson,   

 

Thank you for your request for information, received by Aberystwyth
University on 2^nd June 2020, in which you requested information regarding
Student Social Media Monitoring.

 

You will receive a response as soon as possible, and in any event not
later than in 20 working days (30^th June 2020). 

 

Yours sincerely,              

 

Julie Archer

 

 

 

 

[1]https://www.aber.ac.uk/img/email-signatu...
Julie Archer Julie Archer
Rheolwr Llywodraethu Information Governance
Gwybodaeth a Swyddog Diogelu Manager and Data Protection
Data Officer (DPO)

Llywodraethiant Governance
Prifysgol Aberystwyth, Aberystwyth University,
Llyfrgell Hugh Owen, Hugh Owen Library,
Penglais, SY23 3DZ Penglais, SY23 3DZ

Ffôn: +44 (0) 1970 628593 Phone: +44 (0) 1970 628593

Gwefan: [2]Llywodraethu Website: [3]Information
Gwybodaeth Governance
[4]https://www.aber.ac.uk/img/email-signatu...

 

 

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pantycelyn yn agor mis Medi 2020.
https://www.aber.ac.uk/cy/accommodation/...
Pantycelyn opening September 2020.
https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/accommodation/...
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Prifysgol Aberystwyth www.aber.ac.uk/cy/
Prifysgol y Flwyddyn yng Nghymru - The Times & The Sunday Times 2020.

Aberystwyth University www.aber.ac.uk/en/
Welsh University of the Year - The Times & The Sunday Times 2020.
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References

Visible links
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2. https://www.aber.ac.uk/cy/information-go...
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Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth Information Governance [infstaff], Aberystwyth University

2 Attachments

Dear Jen Persson,

I am writing in response to your recent request for information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’). Please find below the
University’s response.

Please provide the following information under the FOI Act 2000, regards
processing of students' social media accounts, whether routinely or based
on an individual need case -- for example but not exclusively, Facebook,
Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, WhatsApp, Tumblr, Pinterest, Flickr
and Medium--  by or  on behalf of the University in a formal, systemic or
other recognised process for investigations including for University PR or
management of reputational risk purposes. (This excludes for example, one
Academic looking at one student's posts for personal reasons.)  Relevant
time period: since January 2016.

1. Provide a copy of your University policy for your administrators or
equivalent,  on the monitoring or use of social media in investigations,
for the purposes of the Prevent programme, including for reputational
management. (please confirm if you do not have one, and which  do apply)

Under section 1(1)(a) of the Act we can confirm that we do not hold this
information as we do not currently have a policy on this.

2. Does your University either conduct overt (ie students are informed)
and/or covert (students are not explicitly informed at the time of the
surveillance) social media intelligence gathering?

No, the University does not conduct social media intelligence gathering on
students.

a. If yes (2), please specify whether this includes profiling individuals,
conducting investigations, monitoring individuals, monitoring groups,
monitoring locations, gathering intelligence, for recruitment purposes, or
purposes of reputational risk, or state what it is if other.
n/a
b. If your University does conduct social media intelligence/monitoring,
please specify which social media may be in scope.

n/a
c. Does your University conduct social media monitoring exclusively for
the purposes of the Prevent programme? 

n/a

d. If yes, to c. if the University has conducted covert social media
monitoring, for the purposes of the Prevent programme, please confirm the
number of any warrants obtained in the last two years for this purpose, or
police or Home Office requests to do so, if any or none.

n/a

3. If you conduct social media intelligence relating to social media
platforms, please provide a copy of:

a. Relevant [sections of the] privacy policy; n/a
b. the data protection impact assessment; n/a
c. privacy impact assessment; n/a
d. equality and human rights impact assessment; n/a
e. training materials for those conducting social media surveillance; n/a

Please state if you do not have any of the above. 

The University does not have any of the above.

4. Please confirm whether or not your University uses software and/or
hardware to conduct social network / social media monitoring and/or in
relation to sentiment analysis on social media.

The University does not use any software or hardware to conduct social
network and social media monitoring in relation to sentiment analysis on
social media.

a. If yes, please state the name of the company / provider. 

n/a

b. If no, please state whether the University has developed internal
methods to conduct automated analysis of social media / social network
monitoring.

n/a

5. Please confirm, if not stated already in the above, the policy on
deletion of data obtained from social networking sites.

Student complaints and Student disciplinary investigations which are
serviced by the Academic Registry do not include surveillance of students’
social media activities. Evidence of these activities may be submitted
during investigations but not at the instigation of the University. Such
evidence would form part of the investigation file and would be deleted in
line with retention schedules.

6. If not already set out in the guidance documents above, please explain:

a. In what areas of the University’s work social media monitoring is used
(i.e. finance department)? n/a
b. What criteria must be satisfied in order for social media monitoring to
be carried out? n/a
c. Who must authorise the request to conduct social media monitoring? n/a
d. What is the process for conducting social media monitoring? n/a
e. How long is data collected and retained? n/a
f. Is there any process for requesting deletion by the subject (person
whose social media is surveilled)? n/a

7. Please state how regularly social media monitoring is used, on what
volume of individuals (i.e. targeted for individual situations or every
students on the network) Please provide the figures as available,
preferably in excel, and by month or on the available basis you have,
since January 2016. 

n/a

8. Please provide the organisational name of any third party or authority
to whom such information gathered has been passed on, and which
information types (e.g. name, report of X) in the time period since the
University has undertaken such monitoring. (For example but not only:
Since January 2016 -- X number of referrals to Student disciplinary
boards, X to internal student loans administration, X to external student
loan administration (Student Loans Company or other), HESA, the OfS, Other
universities, Police, the  Home Office.) etc.

As stated above the University does not monitor or gather information from
students' social media activities and we are not aware of any instances
where such information was passed on to any third parties.

9. If the university does monitor students' social media, please confirm
if the same policy has continued and been applied since March 23, 2020
(lockdown) in the COVID-19 crisis?

n/a

 Yours sincerely

 

Catrin

 

  

  

[1]https://www.aber.ac.uk/img/email-signatu...
Catrin Griffiths 
Catrin Griffiths 
Information Governance
Swyddog Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth  Officer 

Llywodraethiant  Governance 
Prifysgol Aberystwyth, Llyfrgell Hugh   Aberystwyth University, Hugh
Owen, Penglais, SY23 3DZ  Owen Library, Penglais, SY23
3DZ 
Ffôn: +44 (0) 1970 628616 
Phone: +44 (0) 1970 628616 
Gwefan: [2]Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth 
Website: [3]Information
Governance 

 
[4]https://www.aber.ac.uk/img/email-signatu...

 

 

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pantycelyn yn agor mis Medi 2020.
https://www.aber.ac.uk/cy/accommodation/...
Pantycelyn opening September 2020.
https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/accommodation/...
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Prifysgol Aberystwyth www.aber.ac.uk/cy/
Prifysgol y Flwyddyn yng Nghymru - The Times & The Sunday Times 2020.

Aberystwyth University www.aber.ac.uk/en/
Welsh University of the Year - The Times & The Sunday Times 2020.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

References

Visible links
2. https://www.aber.ac.uk/cy/information-go...
3. https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/information-go...